The AI-augmented Educational Support Professional

ai assistant

Working with AI on instructional design isn't at this point. Yet.

You can find numerous articles online about how artificial intelligence (AI) tools and activities can create the "AI-augmented professor." I have seen fewer opinions on how non-teaching staff members who support the learning process at most universities will be affected.

Certainly, AI augmentation will also affect those who support faculty and students, such as instructional designers, researchers, administrators, and other nonteaching professionals.

I read a piece on about this group and keyed in on instructional designers since that was my area. The article uses an awkward term - BYOAI Bring Your Own AI - for his group because of the hybrid nature of home and office work for this group. Of  course, many faculty are also hybrid now, teaching in a campus classroom as well as from their home or office online.

Instructional designers are already using generative AI tools to create graphics, images and audio segments for classes. New tools, such as OpenAI’s Sora can generate full-motion videos from prompts. Chatbots can write or revise content. It can produce a rough draft syllabus for a new course.

This is also something that should concern those people coming into higher ed (and secondary education too, though perhaps to a lesser degree currently). Citing a survey by Microsoft and LinkedIn, ZDNet reported that “AI skills are so much of a priority that the report suggests 66 percent of business leaders wouldn’t hire someone without AI skills, and 71 percent of leaders would prefer to hire a less experienced candidate with AI skills than a more experienced candidate without them.”

Keeping Updated With Chat AI Free and Premium

If you ask a question in the ChatGPT free version 3.5 about a film or event that happened in the past year, you may not get a very good answer, or perhaps no answer at all. Version 3.5 was last updated with data in January 2022. To get version 4, you need to pay for the Plus level at $20 per month ($25 for the Team version).

* NOTE There has been an upgrade for free ChatGPT users: OpenAI is opening up many of the features previously reserved for paying customers. This includes access to image and document analysis, data analytics and custom GPT chatbots.

Recently, I asked 3.5  "What films released in 2024 are possible Academy Award nominees?" The answer was generic:
"Predicting specific Academy Award nominees for a year as far out as 2024 is quite speculative since it depends on numerous factors such as the quality of the films, critical reception, box office success, and industry trends at the time of release. However, some potential contenders could include films from established directors or those with strong track records in awards season, as well as films that tackle socially relevant themes or feature standout performances. It's also worth considering that films released towards the end of the year tend to be fresher in the minds of voters during awards season. Without specific knowledge of films released in 2024, it's challenging to pinpoint exact nominees, but historical trends and industry buzz could provide some hints closer to the time."

What about Microsoft Copilot? This chatbot was developed by Microsoft and launched in February 2023. It is Microsoft's primary replacement for the discontinued Cortana. At first, it was called Bing Chat, as a built-in feature for Microsoft Bing and Microsoft Edge. However, they began to unify the Copilot branding across its various chatbot products. They planned to integrate Copilot into Windows so that you could use it directly through the taskbar.

Here is a sample prompt and response from Bing Chat last year (via Wikipedia)


I asked CoPilot today, "What was Carl Jung's concept of shadow self?" The answer was extensive (excerpted below)

"Certainly! Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist and founder of analytical psychology, introduced the concept of the “shadow self.” Let’s delve into what this intriguing idea entails:

    Definition of the Shadow Self:
        The shadow refers to those aspects of ourselves that we reject or deny. These are the darker, less socially acceptable pieces of our personality that don’t align with the persona we present to the world.
        It encompasses traits, emotions, and characteristics that are often viewed as negative, such as anger, jealousy, and greed1.

    Origin and Nature:
        Jung believed that the shadow is an integral part of our psyche, residing in our unconscious mind...

    Encountering the Shadow:

        When encountering the shadow, we experience a range of emotions: fear, disgust, remorse, guilt, compassion, grief, and humility.
        The shadow has the power to possess and overwhelm us, even altering our behavior (“He is not himself today”)3.

In summary, the shadow self represents the hidden, often rejected parts of our personality. Embracing and integrating these aspects is essential for personal growth and individuation."


Higher Ed Enrollment Is Up

upward graphI saw some new enrollment data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, and it is good news for colleges.  It shows a reversal from the trend of enrollment decline.  The reversal began in fall 2023, and the improvement is better for this spring. Most colleges survive from the income of tuition, room and board, and fees and any shrinking enrollment is a problem.

The data that interested me is that two-year schools showed the most growth. Dual enrollment by high school students is up 10%. High school students at community colleges accounted for nearly one-third of the total post-secondary enrollment rise.  Vocational/technical programs also figure into the increase.