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MU sees emerging AI technologies as both challenge and opportunity

Artificial intelligence tools are now becoming widely available. MU proactively monitors and adopts the latest trends in teaching.

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in teaching should be transparent, ethical and safe. The Statement on the Application of Artificial Intelligence in Teaching at Masaryk University formulates the guidelines for using AI tools.

“Working with AI tools raises fundamental questions concerning the ethics of academic work and its standards, as well as academic integrity in the broadest sense of the word,” notes the position paper prepared last week by the Working Group on AI in Teaching at Masaryk University. The group was established at the beginning of February this year.

“The Working Group for AI in Teaching was established to leverage the knowledge and experience brought by experts from various MU departments that deal with the issue to prepare a common position – however limited their experience has necessarily been so far. The first thing we had to do was to agree on the basic approach to AI in our teaching, as this ground-breaking technology has a significant impact on the current methods of teaching and assessing student performance used in most fields,” explained Michal Bulant, MU Vice-Rector for Studies and Quality, to whom the group reports.

The Statement includes recommendations for students and academic staff, as well as specific tips on how to use AI tools responsibly and safely. The main task of the working group is to provide support to students, lecturers and other university staff to facilitate the active use of these technologies. The group sees the dynamically evolving AI technologies primarily as a challenge and opportunity to develop students’ skills, but also as a means to improve the quality and effectiveness of instruction. In particular, it emphasises the need for transparency in the use of AI by students, for example in writing term papers and theses, and for caution in the use of AI tools.

“Based on these general recommendations, specific suggestions will be made on how to employ AI tools in practical teaching. We will then organise workshops for lecturers and, given the widespread interest in this topic among staff, I expect that we will expand the MUNI CORE courses to include a course dealing with AI issues” added Vice-Rector Michal Bulant.

Although many MU students have yet to experience the use of AI in their studies, it is not an unfamiliar concept at MU. For example, the Faculty of Arts students have experience with AI-assisted machine translation, students of the Faculty of Social Studies have discussed AI in the context of online journalism, and students of the Faculty of Sports Studies have used AI to prepare literature reviews in their topics as part of the Methodology programme. Students and staff at the Faculty of Education have developed an experimental AI application called DigiHavel, which is capable of chatting with advanced primary school children and secondary school students through a digital window in civic education classes. The Faculty of Science offers a degree programme in artificial intelligence in protein engineering, while the Faculty of Informatics has a follow-up Master’s degree programme in artificial intelligence and data processing.

“Masaryk University ranks among modern and progressive educational institutions. It actively follows and implements the latest trends in teaching, including AI tools. The use of AI tools in teaching is in line with the University’s commitment to continuously develop and adapt to new, more effective teaching methods, the latest trends and modern technologies,” the Statement concludes.