Auburn University leading SEC consortium to advance innovation in AI teaching, learning

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A new Auburn University-designed course to assist faculty in implementing artificial intelligence (AI) into the classroom has been adopted by the Southeastern Conference (SEC) for use at its 14 institutions.

A member of the SEC Artificial Intelligence Consortium since 2022, Auburn’s contributions to the conference’s effort include expanding the availability of its course “Teaching with AI @ Auburn” to faculty at its member institutions. As the first athletic conference to pledge a collective response to the growing role of AI in higher education, Auburn is among several universities delivering pragmatic solutions to critical questions on how faculty can effectively integrate AI in their instruction and scholarship. 

“Auburn’s use of and experimentation with AI through normative and novel pedagogical approaches add to the wealth of knowledge that the SEC academic consortium continues to generate,” said Vini Nathan, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs. “While each institution plays a crucial role in developing and using such technologies, I am proud that Auburn is able to strategically lead this effort through our faculty’s expertise, curiosity and institutional infrastructure.”

With the recent surge in AI technologies such as ChatGPT, faculty, students and universities are grappling with the potential impact on academic assignments, scholarly work and empirical research both now and in the future. Faculty and researchers at Auburn continue to address these and other considerations through the university’s AI@AU initiative and programs offered by the Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, or Biggio Center. In leveraging these efforts, the center developed the immersive course to support Auburn faculty looking to strategically incorporate generative AI into course assignments and activities.

Now open to all SEC institutions, “Teaching with AI in the SEC” blends research advancements with constructive input from faculty and students. Covering key topics that include everything from AI basics to complex constructs and tools, the course’s eight virtual, in-depth modules support pedagogical practices and offer faculty hands-on experiences in creating assignments, understanding data applications and fostering critical conversations with students.

Participants can earn an AUAI Explorer digital badge as part of the course’s learning outcomes. Since its launch this spring, nearly 500 Auburn faculty have enrolled in the course, developed under the leadership of Asim Ali, executive director of the Biggio Center.

“Through our conversations with faculty and students, we learned how important it is to take an inquiry-based approach to developing this content,” said Ali. “From the course, participants will expand their understanding of teaching with AI and experience high-quality course design that is the direct result of collaborations across Auburn’s instruction design and faculty development teams.”

A passionate advocate for the ethical use of AI in education, Ali focuses his research and development of higher education faculty and professionals on the implications and possibilities that come with AI tools. Understanding the immediate need for content across the Auburn campus community and beyond, Ali spearheaded the online course geared toward educators. 

Auburn joined the SEC consortium in 2022 as part of the university’s strategic commitment to increasing educational resources, promoting collaborations and developing industry partnerships to advance AI knowledge and best practices. Last year, the Provost’s Office and the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering pledged a $2 million investment in AI@AU to create a university-wide, multidisciplinary team focused on AI research and education. As a consortium member, Auburn continues to work with scholars across the SEC to expand the breadth and applications of AI across all SEC institutions while sharing Auburn research and innovations.  

For more information on Auburn’s research and application of AI, visit the AU@AI website. Information on the online course Teaching with AI @ Auburn can be found at the Biggio Center website.

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Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.