Education Innovation & Technology Investing

Why I am never teaching without an Artificial Intelligence Teaching Assistant again3 min read

November 10, 2023 2 min read


Why I am never teaching without an Artificial Intelligence Teaching Assistant again3 min read

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The article is authored by Alex Dolinskiy and Ilya Breyman.

In my extensive academic journey, I’ve had the privilege of studying, teaching, and conducting research at over ten top-tier universities worldwide. As the founder of Coursalytics, I’ve been at the helm of numerous educational design and evaluation projects. Having seen almost everything the academic world has to offer, it indeed takes a lot to impress me. Yet, there’s one recent addition to my teaching arsenal that has genuinely caught my attention.

The core of any educational endeavor is ensuring genuine, transformative learning. Traditional methods like student surveys, teaching assistants, and office hours are our attempts to bridge the gap between instructors and students. Whilelite institutions often boast an abundance of support staff, not every institution has that luxury. And here’s where the game changes entirely.

During one of my recent business courses, I was presented with a unique challenge.. The age spectrum ranged from 15 to 30, with varied educational backgrounds and experiences, as well as varying command of the English language. While this could have been daunting, I had a secret weapon that interviewed each student, gathering invaluable insights. The results? A tailored teaching plan, but that wasn’t the most surprising part.

The AI’s response to a seemingly simple “dinner guest” question (who would want to have dinner with, alive or dead?) left me astounded. Some students choose their late relatives, and the AI’s response was filled with unexpected empathy and understanding. This made me wonder: could this AI persona offer something even human assistants might miss? Or why else would all of the students immediately prefer AI-powered learning experiences to traditional assignments when they were presented with a choice?

The things we now take for granted in other areas of our lives – 24/7 accessibility, immediate feedback, and streamlined onboarding – are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the advantages of an AI Teaching Assistant. With such capabilities, one might think that the traditional classroom setup is on the brink of obsolescence. And while that might be a stretch, there’s one thing I’m certain of.

The introduction of an AI Teaching Assistant has not just enhanced my teaching; it’s revolutionized it. Learning, in its truest essence, is evolving, and the future of education is clearly on the horizon. Are we ready for the transformative journey ahead?

As we reflect on the role of AI in education, pertinent questions arise: Does AI seek to replace the instructor? The unequivocal answer is no, at least not in the present or foreseeable future. Instead, it’s best to envision AI as a tool, not dissimilar to a machine that doesn’t replace the farmer but amplifies their capabilities, enabling them to achieve more in less time and with greater joy. What about academic dishonesty, a concern many associate with AI? AI doesn’t provide a complete solution to this age-old challenge, but then, traditional assignments have their own vulnerabilities. If anything, dialogue-based, AI-powered hyper-personalized learning experiences present a more formidable challenge to cheating than conventional methods. In embracing AI, we’re not just adopting technology; we’re championing a future of enriched, personalized, and authentic learning experiences.