Education 3.0: Connecting the Learning Experience Round Table [Learner Engagement Summit]
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 0:09
Welcome to the education 3.0 connected learning experience. I'm Shawn Lacroix. I'm the founder and CEO of Yellowdig. I'm excited to host this panels with a group of people who know a thing or two about education. I mean, we have a very powerful panel today, I'm going to quickly go around alphabetically who we have in this panel. And then I will have each of them to kind of take, you know, 30 seconds or so to kind of introduce themselves. And then we are going to get into the content of this presentation, which is all about education 3.0. So what's coming in the future? So we have Dr. Wallace E. Boston, President Emeritus of American public university system. We have Kathy Dr. Cathy Casserly, former CEO and President of Creative Commons, Aspen Institute fellow vice president of the Carnegie Foundation, Dr. Edward Watson, Associate Vice President for curriculum and pedagogical innovation with the American Association for Colleges and Universities. We have Dr. Pardis Mahdavi, who is the Provost and Executive Vice President of the University of Montana. We have Dr. Peter Smith, Professor of innovation and advisor to the president of the University of Maryland, Global Campus, he just retired. And Dr. Stephen Kosslyn, president of active learning sciences, so a very powerful panel, excited to kind of dig into the future. But before I do that, maybe I'll just kind of go in the same order, if you can take like 30 seconds to introduce yourself. So starting with Kathy, over to you.
Dr. Cathy Casserly 1:49
I welcome everyone and good to see you, Shaunak and fellow panelists. My name is Cathy Casserly. You mentioned a few of my roles that I've had, I'm an innovator in the EdTech space, I have kind of crossed worked crossing boundaries between tech companies, academia fill philanthropy and nonprofits. A lot of my work has been in the field of open educational resources, bringing access and availability to all across the world. And I sit on a number of boards now in the startup and nonprofit space. So that's my quick introduction.
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 2:24
Excited to be here. Edward Watson.
Edward Watson 2:28
Hi, everyone, good to see you. So I'm Eddie Watson. I'm with the American Association of Colleges and Universities I shouldn't have said I spent 20 years on campuses. I was the head researcher. My last position on campus was at the University of Georgia, I guess I should say, national champions this at this moment, but I was director of the Center for Teaching and Learning there. It's one of the largest teaching learning centers in the US, Kathy actually launched the Open Educational Resources initiative out of there and published several studies and had grants to do that work at AAC and you I recently launched the Institute on open educational resources. I also do a lot of work around general education, basically, teaching learning and assessment work, writ large, but definitely doing stuff around the digital initiatives as well.
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 3:19
Awesome, thanks, Edie. Moving on to Doctor Pardis Mahdavi.
Pardis Mahdavi - Provost & Executive Vice President, University of Montana 3:25
Hello, everyone, my name is Pardis Mahdavi, I'm the provost and executive vice president here at the University of Montana. This is a relatively new role for me, I joined here less than a year ago, previously, I was Dean of Social Sciences at Arizona State University, where I did a lot, I guess, got to a lot of work with Yellowdig. And Shawn, I am really been thinking for at least the past few decades has been not only a faculty member, but as a leader and administration a lot about epistemology and kind of what are the right, you know, knowledge architectures, what are the right epistemological architectures? In terms of you know, we had any speak to this question of Gen Ed, you know, what's, what should be at the core? What are the scaffoldings? And then how do we think about connected learning, engage learning and experiential learning, and thinking a lot about questions around Research and Methodology as they shape and frame knowledge production? So excited to be here. Thanks. Yeah,
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 4:22
excited to be here as well with your parties. And moving on to Stephen Kosslyn.
Stephen Kosslyn, President of Active Learning Sciences 4:28
Hi, thanks for including me in this sounds like it's gonna be really interesting. I'm an academic. I spent three decades on the Harvard faculty where I was chair of the department of psychology and then Dean of Social Sciences there was also co director of the mind and market lab at Harvard Business School, and I was also in the neurology department of Mass General Hospital's brain scanning stuff, left there to go back to Stanford where I've been a grad student to run the Center for Advanced Study in behavioral sciences. Wasn't a great fit. Was you Easy for Ben Nelson. After a couple years to recruit me to Minerva, where I was the first faculty member. I was founding dean and Jean academic officer there, put together that with a team, of course, academic program. Then I started founded College, which is sort of the unmetered. Minerva is very elite, founder college for working adults. The idea was to teach them skills and knowledge that would not be easily implemented. That's going fine. And I've spun that off to this act of learning sciences, which is now kind of wholesale, as it were, focusing on how to do active learning, both online, in person and hybrid. And that's lately, we've been getting very excited about AI, spending a lot of time with chat, GPT, and so forth, and kind of figure out what it's good for what is scary about it, and what to do about that and how to think about what education is gonna look like this. dawning New Age?
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 6:00
Yeah, no. Good to have you, Stephen. And Stephen and I, we did a webinar a few days back, and we kind of dug into some of these topics. We want to check it out, go to our LinkedIn page, you will see that video there. Back to Wally. Are you able to?
Wally Boston - President Emeritus, APUS <br> 6:16
I hope so. Can you hear me? Yep. Great. Wally, Boston, President Emeritus of American public university system, two decades in online education, focused particularly on student engagement, student retention, student persistence, active as a board member of the LOA Learning Outcomes Assessment, currently also a, an appointee to the psyche, for accreditation. And still, I'm a lifelong learner, I'm still learning, fascinated with AI, as some of the other panelists are here. And looking forward to participate in this conversation.
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 6:55
Thank you to be here, today. So I mean, let me kind of get going with our panel. So the theme of this panel is education 3.0. And the way we came up with this idea is, you know, as we work with various institutions, we are seeing that there is so much of innovation happening in terms of designing the future models for learning, as well as building the infrastructure that is necessary to support it. But we also know that education is not an easy space to make changes happen, a variety of regulatory constraints and change management and practices and things that have been adopted for hundreds of years. And it's not easy to change. So this panel, you know, I'm excited to have all of you and kind of get your feedback around practical strategies are things that are going to happen, from your point of view, what we could do, or would do in the next five years, maybe 10 years. So that's the team that we want to latch on to. So with that, I have a question, I can open it up. And if each of you can take like 30 minutes, 30 seconds to a minute to kind of answer from your point of view. So the question is around the theme of this conference, which is learner engagement. Could you talk about what does learner engagement mean? From your point of view? What is the future? Where is it today, and where you think we should go to really make a big impact in the world of education. So who wants to go first, anybody can go on, I can just, you can raise your hand.
Pardis Mahdavi - Provost & Executive Vice President, University of Montana 8:25
I'll go. I know what it's like to be, as all of us do in the classroom sort of waiting for somebody to jump in. You know, I think one of the things that really resonated from the blog that you sent us around a that Peter had written is this idea that reflection is the process of learning from lived experience. And I do think that that's a big component of that engagement that learner engagement is really about inviting reflexivity and positionality from a social science perspective, but in general, inviting that reflection, I think, that is one very large aspect of it. The second is thinking about the new ways in which learners are engaging in a more connected world. And so one of the projects that I was most excited to work on that brought, you know, ASU into contact with people around the world was something called dreamscape learn, where we engage virtual reality, VR and xr and actually bringing students into into biology one on one, for example, and started designing other cases, having them learn through virtual reality, having them learn through doing and, and meet in a place of virtual reality with other students from around the world. That to me is both engaged and connected learning. And now I think the next step also, or probably the concurrent step is to invite folks to reflect on on this process, as we think about, you know, seeing how much learners are retaining what what we're seeing early, early data is showing that students are retaining, you know, up to, you know, up to 20% more of the material in this VR XR space. So that's a that's a that's a new area that I'm very interested in.
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 10:03
Awesome. So learner centered, human centered learning, essentially human centered engagement. Who wants to go next? Wally?
Wally Boston - President Emeritus, APUS <br> 10:14
Sure, you know, I, I think it's a great question. And I think it's actually going to vary by age. And so rather than comment on K 12, which is not my area of expertise, I think I'll comment on working adult students, where, you know, I, you know, most of online education for years now decades, has been a synchronous, and it's because it fits with the schedule of working adults. You know, putting them fitting them into a time and a place is just not something that works for them. And, you know, so asking them to agenda as classroom class at a specific time, leads to slower completion rates, as well as dropouts, I think that we're going to see the integration of technology and and ways to enhance engagement inside those asynchronous learning platforms. But it'll be very personalized. And what I mean by you'll have applications that may be designated for a particular learning, ticket or class, but the adaptability will will will work with the student eventually. So
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 11:30
yeah, no, it's it's a very important area, which is technology can actually bridge that gap between synchronous and asynchronous engagement.
Dr. Cathy Casserly 11:40
Kathy? Yeah, so I'd like to jump in on this. So I think that's exactly right. And I think what I see for the future is this adaptability actually follows a student, right, so the focus is on the student. Rather than as we get distracted by everything else around learning, we have to get re centered on the student. And the student, you know, needs to learn their agency and build on their curiosity. And it has to start from the very earliest days of their learning engagement, and it does in the home, and it does in the community, and it doesn't, and soccer leagues, or whatever the music, whatever theater, whatever the student might be interested in. And I do think this passion driven learning is going to be really important. And I think adaptability will be really important in technology support of that. So to this day, we've used technology to replicate what happens in the classroom. Right. So we've kind of taken theater.
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 12:41
The I think we lost her. Kathy, are you there? Alright, so as we wait for her, who wants to go next? Edie?
Edward Watson 12:55
Yeah, can jump in. I agree with much of what our colleagues have said. And I'm triggered by some of the things that they said as well. I guess I think about the future and thinking about engaged learning and thinking about what should really kind of, I guess, drive this are pointing in specific directions. And I guess, I think about the educational research that's been produced in the last 15 to 20 years. I mean, we've made incredible strides and what we know about human learning and cognition. I mean, we've known the answer to the question about active learning since the 80s, there were some seminal lit reviews that were produced in mid 80s. The key is one that jumps to mind that reviewed the previous 15 years of literature and, and we found that, not surprisingly, that when we engage our students, when we require them to do problem sets, or rights, or or defend a thesis or you know, act out something in class or participate in an experiment, they're more likely to learn and retain information, but we're becoming we're getting more nuanced understanding of how learning works. And I think that that, I guess I should say, My aspiration for the future is that we would see broadly across higher education that the what we know from the research would then thus inform the practice that would then emerge around engaged learning.
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 14:14
Yeah, no. So that's, that's a really good point. So Kathy, seems you are back. So if you want to finish your point, we lost you in the middle, and then we'll move to Stepehn kosslyn.
Dr. Cathy Casserly 14:23
I think I think it was really just about following the passion of the students. So the ability is so it the ability of using technology to follow the student and their curiosity to build the core knowledge and skills will engage them in a very deep air and connected way and there's always a community of learners around different passion areas. So we're in how we can bet that I think we see some of that but I think the capabilities for that will continue to grow and I just want to thumbs up on Eddie's comment about using the research to inform the build of technology that does not happen enough and learning we spend so much money on research, it's valuable, it tells us an important story. And yet we continue to kind of chase something that's in our mind as opposed to data confirmed. And I think we need to look at the data. And this is the possibility as well, thank you, Shawn.
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 15:17
Awesome. Steven, what do
Stephen Kosslyn, President of Active Learning Sciences 15:19
you add, he basically took the words right out of my forebrain. Very well, who had, I think I was listening what everybody said, about AR VR, and the massive improvements really impressive. And, of course, importance and Passion Driven learning, and so forth. What I was listening for was what the underlying active ingredients would be, why Passion Driven learning is important, and why the AR and VR have resulted in such big gains. And I think Eddie put it well, that basically those are tapping into fundamental principles about how learning works. And to the extent that we understand those principles better, which I think we are, we're in a position to actually refine those techniques. So they take advantage of those principles even more effectively. So I think there's been massive movement forward. And it's really gratifying to see a lot of what previously was just stuck in labs, journals now actually being used.
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 16:20
He did I see have joined you.
Unknown Speaker 16:24
Well, I need to go back to school to learn how to get to get on a, on a session like this, I guess. Yeah, I was very, and I've missed what some of the other folks have said, obviously. So I may be redundant in some ways. But I was really taken with what Mark was talking about, and frankly, building off something that you said earlier Schoeneck, in your earlier remarks about the 7020 10. And the notion that the research is obviously critical. But when you then think about how you're going to design multiple environments that are flexible, to respond to multiple different needs of learners, and understand that the classroom is one part of a much larger life experience. And, and open resources are another source of information. But to me, the, the kind of thing that Yellowdig does is, is create a 360 degree, if you will, or move towards creating a 360 degree environment, which is inclusive of all the different parts, the cultural background of a learner, the professional background of a learner, their life experience, et cetera, et cetera, and beginning to look at it. If we did it, right, in terms of multiple dimensions of assessment, socio emotional content, cognitive, you name it, cross cutting into lateral. So to me, it's the open door that we're talking about is to think about, all overstate the case, but everything that happens in a person's life as being contributing to their overall knowledge and learning and how can we orchestrate that in a way that is disciplined and effective, but useful to them, given the purposes that they have? For wanting a guided or a supported path? towards learning?
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 18:35
Yeah, no, so great comments, you know, one area that comes to my mind, and I'll kind of speak to from my experience, you know, our experience building Yellowdig is, you know, as a technology provider, a tech create creator, a lot of the work that we do is to experiment. So we let's say, I'll give you an example, we build a feature, the feature could drive a certain set of behavior and the learners, right, and they use that feature, sometimes we expect what we expect is true, sometimes what we expect is wrong, right? Maybe the behavior pattern is something different. And the important part is that the impact of technology is not always obvious, right? It's always because there are layers of behavior that plays into how students end up using technology and what kind of behavior emerges out of that. So it's a multi dimensional problem by itself, which merges technology with, you know, cognitive science with, you know, psychology and other fields. What has made us successful, where we have seen successes that where we are deeply partnered with our institutions where we build technology, we come up with a hypothesis, we build some functionality around it, we put it into test, and we get the results out of it, and they are willing to share the result back with us so that we can learn from those results and make changes into our application or how we didn't really know deployed. That's critical without that, I see that If the chain is going to fail, and whatever we do is going to be suboptimal in some ways, either the wrong functionality or on usage or wrong outcomes, we won't be able to measure it. If that's the reality, so how do we create environments like the future of education needs to be a lot of partnerships, where builders, users, which is students, faculty, administration, and people who are probably deciding or prioritizing what projects get built, and scale has to kind of work together, which any of you have been in higher education is always a challenge. You know, and I'm just going to put it out there, which is, we see a lot of people coming to us who are joining this conference. They are the innovators, they're coming in and doing it, but they also have to go and fight the battles with their organizations to make a case, why this needs to happen. So can you talk to your point of view, like, what is happening today? And what needs to change? Or how innovators who are working with us can make that change happen in the next week, whatever, I'm going to be as Wally,
Wally Boston - President Emeritus, APUS <br> 21:04
Shawn, I think is a great question. And maybe people will disagree with me or great. I think it's very difficult when you ask us to build a model that lets you collaborate and scale with individuals, faculty members. And the reason is just the way that higher education is operated for years, faculty members in charge of preparing their course, and, you know, has the freedom to teach it and do it on the fly, for example, you know, the lesson plan for today could get hijacked because of current events, or, you know, depending on the class and so forth. And so, when you're talking about a technology company, partnering with the university, I think is I think it's easier to do it, when you're installing functionality that facilitates a platform, like, you know, you know, conversations and discussion panels, for example, or other things, but but the actual teaching action itself, I think, I mean, just trying to round up enough people to sit in on a training session for how to use the platform might be challenging. So I think this is something that's going to take a long time. And almost like we talked about, with the end of it, you know, individualizing things for learners, probably going to have to design it in a way that individualize it for faculty members, because everybody's a little different. Everybody has their own style. And, you know, I don't I don't think there's anybody that wants to think that there teach just like everybody else, I think they want to think that their teaching is inspiring, and, you know, etc, and individual. So this is what I think is going to be a challenge.
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 22:59
Anybody has any response?
Pardis Mahdavi - Provost & Executive Vice President, University of Montana 23:02
I guess I can play off of that. I think, you know, in response to, to your question, in that question around like individual is teaching, a couple of thoughts come to come to my channel. First is, you know, this idea of connected learning and those partnerships, you know, it really links up to you know, Michael Crow talks about the fifth wave, right, the fifth wave of higher education is not all institutions, trying to be good at all things, but institutions honing in on certain things, being good at those and then partnering with each other. Right? So, you know, here at the University of Montana, we don't have an engineering school, but we can partner with Arizona state's engineering school. What we do have here, the University of Montana, which plays on my second point, which is, is this is this issue of place? How do you connect with the place that you do have, what we have here, what our strengths are our forestry, sustainability, we have something called the loop rec, Experimental Forest, no matter if you're Harvard, or wherever, no matter how much money you have, you can't buy this forest, we have flathead, biological Lake Field Station, we are campuses on a mountain. So there are types of research that we can do that no one no one else in the world can do. And so rather than us also trying to be good at engineering, and health, etc, etc. How do we lean into what we do well, and then use place. So one example of that is we are working on with with, with and through tech companies to build digital twins of our experimental forest and digital twins of our mountain and our Flathead Lake biological field station, so that we can really double down on the strengths that we have with with and within place, and how that kind of, you know, translates to the types of knowledge production. And then we can bring that strength just as an example, in partnership. So So where did the tech companies come in helping us leverage and build on those strengths at Same is the first. And then the second is, you know, Kathy talked about about passion. I think the other P that we haven't talked about is politics. And so I think another way that tech can help us is, is navigating politics. And, you know, this is something I think, a great deal about, we think about engaged learning, global learning, partnered learning, I come from Iran, I come from a country where you've got the highest, you know, among the highest number of university graduates in the world, women are amongst the highest, but they can't get certain graduate degrees. How are we going to engage those learners? Well, and let's say they want to study forestry, got it, you know, somebody from Iran, who wants to study forestry, but if it's a female, can't access certain graduate colleges, having a digital twin starts to address that. So just a bunch of thoughts out there to share,
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 25:46
ya know, so thanks for those comments. I mean, one thing that I can relate to what, you know, what Wally and, you know, what he's you mentioned is that, I think it's an alignment of capabilities to all extent, right, so universities have certain capabilities and technology companies have certain different kinds of capabilities. So if there are trusted relationships that can be formed, anything can be possible, like the example that you gave, which is fantastic, or the forest, which is so unique, and I've never heard those kinds of learning. So I can imagine how exciting it could be for the students to learn in that environment. Anybody else?
Unknown Speaker 26:22
Well, I would say that one of the things that one of the obstacles, I was thinking of another follow up for politics example, which is that, you know, our educational model that we would all like to see change and improve, is, in fact, an economic model. And it is supported by billions of dollars of state and federal money, that are going to be friendlier to some kinds of changes and unfriendly or other kinds of changes. And so, it strikes me that as we are looking at thinking about partnerships, one of the things that is going to happen, and I'm seeing it happen is that there will be partnerships, that or that may only tangentially or initially not include a university or a college, but maybe between an employer and a third party, nonprofit, or for profit company, with the employer, having decided that it's worth their time and money to, to invest in, in training and education that's multi dimensional. And we've seen more and more of that begin to happen. So as we think about, I'd say this as a recovering politician of little note. But the fact of the matter is, we have to think about the kind of the space that is away from universities and what we can what can be learned there that can then be adopted by universities, or, or transitioned into universities and colleges. Because we are, we are so used to being the center of the universe. And you talk about post secondary or learning, learning, learning after the age of 2020, or 21. And I think the universe is changing. And public policy can either retired that change, or, or excited, or, you know, some combination of the two, but we can't just go forward thinking that it's all about us.
Dr. Cathy Casserly 28:29
The only the only thing I might chime in is that I think where we've seen success in the past and new innovations, at least in the open spaces sometimes is a bit of a skunkworks. That's part of a higher ed institution, I completely agree with Wally like it is so hard to change an institution and practices and you don't want to be training every faculty because only if it's going to be useful to all those faculties. So, you know, we've seen great practices with is a small group of innovators who are faculty who are helping to test who are learning who can then speak to the product, if it is useful if they find it useful for their students for their learning, and then other faculty can engage or not, but it's a way to, I think create a win for higher education institutions to keep up on the latest technologies, and for technologists to have a way to brainstorm with a group of educators who are on the ground about what might work well, best. And then to Peter's comment, it's the innovations on the edge edges, right, whoever those innovators are, or who is new and creating the space organizations like Stephens created are part of that. Right. So those are part of the innovators who then higher education would begin to a percent of them might follow if they find it useful.
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 29:43
Steven already any comments?
Edward Watson 29:46
Well, I have a couple of thoughts. I guess, when I think about the notion of partnerships, just the number of challenges like I agree with the notion that these partnerships are needed to be able to make the progress move forward. I think, you know, while we mentioned some notions around academic freedom present challenges for us. I think there's also the notion of intellectual property. So a faculty member partners up with an institution with a with a vendor private company. So who has ownership over the IP that's produced? Is it shared with the faculty member? Is it part partly about the institution is that so those are some of the challenges. I think there's also just generally some kind of trust issues between higher ed and maybe the Educational Technology sphere. I think many that have managed technology in higher education are always concerned that, you know, hey, there's a great new startup with a great concept, a great idea, that product looks great. And so you'd like to buy in and train all your faculty and move in that direction. But then often, the goal of the vendor is to sell off, you know, and become the instant millionaire and put it in the rearview mirror. And then we've certainly seen larger companies buy up smaller companies just a bit, they don't have the competition and the product actually evaporates. And so so this trust, sort of with sort of how the industry, in some cases works. And I think there's also maybe some, maybe what higher ed would perceive as sort of bad agents out on the landscape within the learning technology world right now. I mean, there are companies that frame themselves for the higher ed market to faculty as being tools that assist students in studying yet students are marketed with a different way, as you know, you can get answers to test questions in the next five minutes by just posted them into the tool. So there's there's some suspicion, there's some logistical challenges that make the partnerships that need to happen, I think difficult to accomplish.
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 31:41
Yeah, I mean, you know, those are great. By the way points, I completely agree with everything. I mean, it always like, you know, when I mean, I'll give you a little story of when I started the company about, you know, seven years back, I came from outside of higher education. So I didn't quite understand what it takes to build those partnerships. And then over time, we realized the importance of those partnerships and those trusted partnerships, it takes a while to form what we have seen is that high education has a long memory. So you know, it takes a lot a while to fall, which is a good test for companies to kind of build businesses in this space. And and can really prove not only just say that prove that they are truly interested, there's an alignment of interest in a double bottom line, and companies with that motivation is so important. I completely agree. Stephen, your thoughts? You're also in that kind of private public area as well over the years? What are your thoughts?
Stephen Kosslyn, President of Active Learning Sciences 32:34
Yeah, I have a slightly different take on I agree with everything that I've heard. But when I take a step back, I think about the distinction between need to have a nice to have. And that if you want to motivate faculty or administrators, you got to make a case that it's really something they need to have. And that in turn, requires a kind of orientation, where they think about learning objectives, that they start off with the idea of what it is they want the students to come away with at the end. This is not the same as a learning outcome orientation, which is what the creditors have forced many institutions to take, you have to have on your syllabi, so forth. Learning Objective is what drives the content you're going to provide and the kind of active learning you do. And it's that, I think, that in turn, can lead people to think about what's nice to have versus need to have in terms of accomplishing those ads. So it's a front end, it's not focusing on after the fact what what you're gonna get it also, by the way, having a learning objective orientation really does focus you on what to measure, okay, makes you be specific and concrete in a way that just thinking about general learning outcomes may not. So from, from my perspective, a lot of the problem is that they're not clear learning objectives in a lot of higher education. You look at individual courses, they do often have learning outcomes, but they're generally vague, not so easy to measure. And that when people are approaching everything is not in terms of what it is they're trying to accomplish and how best to accomplish it.
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 34:17
Thank you so much. And by the way, I'm looking at the chat segment of the conference. There's a lot of good comments coming in, please get that flow. If you have any questions, definitely post here. I'm going to relay those questions as much as I can. You know, moving into another topic, which is I want to kind of talk about innovation happening, which is outside of Academy like Chad GPD. We talked about AI and it's going to impact education in many ways. So the comment that I want to make is that the technology train has already left the station. And if institutions kind of not get onto the train in whichever capacity we're or they might be left behind to an extent. And some of the students may not get the experiences that others might be able to offer. But, but it's a tricky choice, right? Not everything is good, there are good and bad and kind of filtering through is important. So can you talk about, you know, specifically, if you have any thoughts on the impact of AI? Especially, what's the buzz versus what's the reality? Anybody wants to take that question?
Wally Boston - President Emeritus, APUS <br> 35:27
Glad to start off, shining, you know, so like, many, probably probably all of us on this panel, I investigated Chet GPT, as soon as he came out, and played around with it, even wrote an article with it, using it, and then publish that on my blog. And it's a fairly good writer. But there's, it's, it's prone to a lot of errors. And it's, it's also, it does not provide citations, I could see using it in a course. And simply say, I don't care if you write want to write your short essay, using using this tool, but you're going to have to cite everything that it comes up with, which would be quite a bit of work. You know, I've asked it to produce literature reviews and, and a number of other things. Some of the citations are inaccurate, they have the wrong author's names. But at the same time, the syntax and the flow of the writing, by digesting just, you know, millions and maybe billions of pieces of content is pretty good. I like the idea of taking these tools, if you have a bent towards technology, trying them out yourself, and then seeing if there's a way to deploy them to learn because to me, the biggest part of that content, you know, there's so much content that's available for free today, thanks to the internet. But people in order to differentiate themselves between people who, you know, are able to learn can learn and have learned you have to differentiate between the content. That's the right content, the good content and the content. That's just, quite frankly, you know, Bs?
Stephen Kosslyn, President of Active Learning Sciences 37:18
Can I follow up on that? Sure. I completely agree with everything you just said. You said a couple of things that triggered me. I've heard some discussion about whether we should consider these AIs. So when we're talking about AI is we're talking about artificial general intelligence AGI guys, this is this is the big distinction between artificial specialized intelligence is of the sort that scheduled airline routes and so forth. I mean, they've been a lot of those around or face recognition, and so on. The general intelligence is what's so interesting now. So people have talked about whether they're best regarded as tools, as I just heard that term used, or partners. And I think both of those are not the most useful way to look at it. There's another way of looking at this whole thing, which is, in terms of PCCs. So here's an analogy if you were missing a limb, man, but you'd want the steel and plastic and modern equivalent of wooden limb to make up for it, right, so you could walk. So we use a lot of cognitive prostheses, like some something as simple as a piece of paper and pencil to help our memories, which are not perfect. calculators, and so forth, and so on, I think of the Ag eyes, is kind of the next wave of cognitive prostheses. And in order to use them effectively, to think of them as extensions of yourself making up relaxing you've got, you've got to think about your goals, you got to be clear on what it is you want out of them. And that's probably gonna be a multiple levels of scale, from quite distal, which may be just directional to very proximal, which may be very tactical. And then you got to think about a cycle, you got to think about interacting a cycle or you ask, you get a response, and you evaluate it. And then you refine what you ask. So you can ask questions mixed with requests for to do certain kinds of things. But it's going to be iterative, it's gonna be like wet clay that you're shaping in terms of what your goals are. At the end, you may update your goals, by the way, but the tactical ones in the broader ones 100 yet, but what's interesting to me about this way of looking at it transit, ask, evaluate, refine that cycle, ask, evaluate, refine, over and over again, is it draws on four types of skills that we need to teach, and we need to teach them a new way. Creative thinking, obviously, to think about what your goals are and how to couch frame problems and so on. Critical thinking. Critical thing is going to be crucial for With respect to the sort of stuff we just heard, while I mentioned, the way these things work is they've got vast amounts of data, they cut and paste and then interpolate. And they BS, they confabulate. Lots and lots of errors laced in there with lots of good stuff, we got to figure out how to tell one from the other. So if you think about in philosophy, there are two big approaches to determine whether something is true or not. The so called correspondence approach. You know, someone says it's raining outside, when you go look. Okay, see if it is raining outside that that's equivalent to fact checking. Okay, the other is the coherence approach. Where does everything fit together in the right kind of way, where you need to look at it from multiple different perspectives and see if it still coheres. We need to teach people how to do this in a kind of clear cut way. So they can evaluate and be able to refine what how they're interacting with these things. And then, of course, they need to be able to figure out how to formulate questions and requests well, and they also need to know how to adapt. People need to know how to learn as they become part of the system. So this idea of looking at it as a cognitive prosthesis, it's it's a dynamic one, it goes back and forth, it becomes almost an extension of you, we have to learn how to live with these things, and how to interact with other people who are living with these things. Yeah,
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 41:21
I mean, I love that analogy. By the way, it's a smarter calculator, in some sense, right? We already had calculators, it has become smarter over the years,
Stephen Kosslyn, President of Active Learning Sciences 41:27
David cost, Nick and I are writing a piece on this. And that was his point that he said, When calculators first came out, people thought they were equivalent cheating. And that you know, and then people realize, well, understanding the concept of the square root or derivative or something, it's actually more important than knowing how to calculate it, because then you can use it in your thinking. So notice one thing, you still need order of magnitude sets. When you're using a calculator, you need to be able to do sanity checks to see if this thing's gone off the rails. Similarly, for Chapter GPT, or something in the humanities, you need the equivalent, you need some sense of what argumentation looks like, how evidence should be used that for citations are so important, by the way, that it's equivalent to an order of magnitude estimation that you use in math, but you apply it in a more qualitative realm. So again, this is the kind of thing we need to be teaching people as part of critical thinking, and how to interact with these guys in the new emerging new world here.
Pardis Mahdavi - Provost & Executive Vice President, University of Montana 42:28
Can I can I actually build on that, and I, I love I love those comments. Because, you know, one of things that occurs to me, and obviously, I'm very much inside the academy, as you know, somebody who's a faculty member, and a dean and a provost now for more than a decade, one of things that occurs to me in terms of, you know, bringing these in and to and to suture, this part of the conversation to where we started is, you know, faculty in higher ed in general, we have a tendency to bifurcate or falsely dichotomize and put things against each other, right? It's like faculty versus administration, academic freedom versus diversity. And in this instance, we're seeing a little bit of like tech versus Ed, so you've got that, that sort of suspicion that's race, how do you start to break that down? I mean, all of the ideas that Steven just introduced, actually, the way to start to break through that is to actually invite academics to be a part of these solutions. And to think about, like, you know, Steven mentioned philosophers like, let's think about the ethics of AI, right? Let's think about the ethics of okay, is this another calculator? Or what? What, what are the ethics of us? You know, leaning on them? How do we create a new epistemology based on the introduction of this AND and OR have, you know, our computer scientists, do some research on it, have our education folks do some research on it, and then back to kind of Eddie's points earlier, use that research to better inform new and improved curricula? That to me has always been the way to start to break down those artificial silos, that there's such a tendency to, to build and to, to really reify in higher ed.
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 44:11
Yeah, I mean, I just want to make a very quick comment, because I just absolutely love these comments. And, you know, it kind of resonates so much with what we have experienced over the last six, seven years. The potential for technology, which is, you know, is pervasive right now and Academy faculty research to come together. To build a future is enormous. I think that is almost an unexplored area. And technology companies by themselves can't do it. admix by themselves can do it, but it's just a partnership, but more focused on research and actual questions. is so important. So anybody else? Well,
Unknown Speaker 44:50
you know, it's interesting, I agree with the entire flow of this conversation. But not but there's another whole dimension Sitting here, I've been much more disk given, you know, where I sit and what I'm looking at. Looking at AI as a, as a, as a pathfinder, it's still a sort of a prosthesis, I really love them the metaphor. But in a world that is burgeoning with all sorts of content is burgeoning with all sorts of advice and, and data about careers about, about the vet how you that put a value on. There's another whole use of artificial intelligence, which is to help to create mapping, mapping devices, if you will, where learn individual people can, in fact, organize resources that have been validated one way or another, in order to clarify what it is they're looking for, and another journey in their life, where the resources they can get, where's the valuation they can get? What are the consequences of path A versus path B, versus path c? So yes, we think about it in terms of what we would do in the classroom or within a university. But then at the same time, if we're thinking about lifelong learning and multi dimensional learning, there's a whole value to AI, which is letting people it becomes a mapping and planning. prosthesis for for individual learners that can be harnessed by employers, institutions, and learners themselves. I think there's just another whole side of the coin.
Wally Boston - President Emeritus, APUS <br> 46:39
So, Peter, I'd like I'd like to add to that conversation, you use the word validated several times. And what I've found in my quantitative analysis, where I've used neural networks, which isn't, you know, real AI, but it's getting closer to it is that many people don't appreciate the work that has to be done to, you know, clean the data lake. And so you can't just dump tons and tons of data, just like you can ingest, you know, every all the content on the web and to a data lake to have aI work, because it's going to distort the results. It's so sensitive to permutations, that, that not having clean data. And so I think your validation point is something that tech companies, particularly utilizing AI should educate, you know, whichever, department staff faculty that want to utilize AI about felt the importance that we just can't ingest all content. This has to be something that, you know, we understand as a partnership, and building the data lake that we use to operate the AI through grade point
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 47:53
scraped by Louis, another really good comment in our comment section. So if somebody just I just want to mention that mentioned something very interesting. You know, he says that it's a good feature if you want to generate fiction, but not if it's you want to go to the nonfiction mode. So I think we might find that AI is very good in terms of writing points, maybe writing scripts. But if you really want to be nonfiction, and analyze the wall the way it is, I think it's a long way to go.
Stephen Kosslyn, President of Active Learning Sciences 48:22
Well, just keep in mind that GPT fours probably coming out in two or three months. And it's, it's sort of that. So what we're looking at now is a little bit beyond GPT. Three, the chat in this is not the end, it's just going to keep getting better and better. Yep.
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 48:44
Yeah, no, fascinating. So anybody else wanted to comment on AI before we move on?
Edward Watson 48:49
Yeah, I think probably not in exactly the way that you would expect that I would comment on it. But I mean, ultimately, things like Chegg, or things like aI chat GPT serve to be disruptors, within the broadly within the higher education landscape. And I think, you know, there's a lot of people on the screen here that have been in a variety of different roles in higher education. And you've you've experienced how difficult it is to move and a large number of faculty to consider change to their practice. I mean, it's often well, if it's not broke, yeah, this is an innovation of the but what I'm doing is not broke. So why should I make a change? Why should I try to fix it? And I think things like Chegg and AI, give a broad number of faculty the perception that maybe their standard practice is now broken because there is something new that competes or disrupts their standard teaching practice. So I see this as a real opportunity for institutions that are seeking to change faculty practice either to adopt AI practices or just to bring about different changes in what might be in more traditional teaching practice, such as authoring outcomes, stating goals, sharing those with students backward design, those kinds of things. I See, this is maybe one of the greatest opportunities presented by AI outside about the technology itself authors.
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 50:09
Ya know, great comments, Eddie, you know, one thing that we sometimes explain ourselves as an education company, because what we find to your point that if we are seen as technology, there is always a clash. But if he are seen as something which is going to improve education based on, you know, creating objectives and outcomes, we can receive any mention, I mean, I think there is an alignment that needs to be done with faculty otherwise, it's, it's, it's a, you know, it can be very confrontational. Because technology and education may not go hand in hand, these are two different things with different objectives. Great, so, thank you for all the great feedback, and we only have about eight minutes left in the panel. So what I want to do is probably give each of you about a minute. And if you can, kind of, from your point of view, kind of share any final thoughts in terms of to our audience in terms of like, what do you think people who are innovators who are coming together and solving the problems in student engagement and driving more better learning outcomes, what they can do any thoughts, any ideas that you can share from, from your point of view, so I'm going to go on my screen, one by one. So on the top right, Wally, I'll come to you first. You're muted volley.
Wally Boston - President Emeritus, APUS <br> 51:32
Thank you, I'll just go back to as a parent, with two daughters who recently graduated from college, I would occasionally be able to particularly thanks to COVID. See, what they were receiving in terms of course, content and delivery, went on all their classes switched to online, and they had to move home. And, you know, in some case, says, I was impressed with developments, not from the faculty member, but from the teaching assistant. And so you've got a lot of grad students out there who are teaching assistants, who are quite facile with technology. And in some ways, you know, if I was a long tenured faculty member who wanted to try to bring some technology and innovation, I might talk to my grad students, and, you know, perhaps work with them. Before I even thought about bringing in an outside company. So what one on one approach? Kathy,
Dr. Cathy Casserly 52:43
my thought is everyone was speaking was this can be a generational change. You know, digital natives are using AI VI, they're using, you know, the world in a very different way that consuming content human centered in a very different way. So part of it's generational, certainly, we can all change practices, but you have to be willing, so the coalition and the willing have to gather. And when I think about the partnerships between universities and tech companies, I think there's a missing link. It's a wheel and hub approach. And I think there needs to be a consortium because I think groups can come together and share knowledge from many academic institutions, along with many technology companies, and then take that knowledge back to their home. And what we're doing is we're forcing a single partnership and a lot of work and energy with each tech company with each academic institution. And there could be a better way, if someone were to think about how to pick it up. And this could be NSF role or someone else, but how to facilitate these kinds of conversations that then can help the whole ecosystem move in a positive way. So I leave my comment there. Thank you.
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 53:46
Thank you. Edie. Um,
Edward Watson 53:53
I guess where I would leave it for those that are that are, that are in leadership roles, who see themselves as change agents or see themselves as advocates for change, to keep in mind that the diffusion of innovations literature in the change management management literature really highlights that change is a process. It's not an event. And then it takes place over time, and that different people within a social system are at sort of different stages in that adoption process. Therefore, customizing your messaging for someone who's new to something, maybe not do the sales pitch, really a hard sales pitch for someone who's brand new to a concept or an innovation or technology. And then those that maybe have moved a little bit further along. That's whenever you try to push them across the goal line. And then a lot of these processes highlight that there are stages beyond the actual act of trying something for the first time or using in your classroom. How do you ensure that they confirm that usage and feel good about it and want to use it next semester and, and beyond? So I guess I guess my one piece of parting advice is changes a process and think about how to manage that process as you help people move From the beginning stages to confirmation and continued usage of something new.
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 55:06
Great comment. Thank you, Edie. Over to you parties.
Pardis Mahdavi - Provost & Executive Vice President, University of Montana 55:13
Thanks so much. Um, I guess I would just, you know, just to build on what Eddie was just saying change is, is a process and change is hard. But change is also here. And we're just as we're not going to go back to a world without a calculator or back to a world without, you know, prenatal postnatal care, epidurals, we're not going to go back to a world without tech and AI, we're just not. And so, you know, I think I see our role as leaders, you know, for me, like as a provost, how do I create the infrastructure? How do I create the orchestra architecture and infrastructure that will support faculty in moving in forward around? And through this change? For instance? How do we have to adapt our teaching and learning center because faculty know that pedagogy is something they have to think about? They're constantly adaptive? So what do I do as an administrator? You know, how do I invest our office, you know, for learning and development, our teaching and learning center, our faculty development office, how do we vest them with the resources, and to create the infrastructure that will help to make this change, to smooth it a bit, but but also to just underscore that it's here, and that it's that it's necessary, in a way, I mean, our world is different. We're living in a moment of triple pandemic, right, we've got the viral pandemic, we've got, you know, social and economic pandemics. And then we've got the climate emergency that we're all very aware of the world is just different. And just as the world is different, it's going to require us to think differently and trained differently. So change is hard, but it's here,
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 56:47
changes here. And that's, that's a wonderful comment. So I see breeze here. So over to you, Peter, and then to Steve.
Unknown Speaker 56:56
Very, very quickly, I just saw a comment come up, referring back to Mark Miller. And I had two things that I think correspond with much of what's been said, one be a possible list, learn as you go understand, you're not going to get it right the first time. And the the the the other side of that coin is, we know that culture will eat change all day long. And that's true in higher education. So at the same time, you need to protect the dominant culture of the university, the the business model, if you will, from the change because the change may be bumpy and may not work the way you may, you may end up in a different place, and you thought you were going to, but you also have to protect the change from the dominant culture. So understanding it really goes to something that I think you were just saying, it's how do you step into this and through it, learn as you go. And be clear that you as you as you go, you want to protect the rest of the institution from the change until you've, you know what it means and how well it works. Same time you want to protect the change from being compromised by the institutional culture. There are a lot of there's not a lot of ways to do that. But that I think is critical when you're looking at new new ways of going.
Shaunak Roy - CEO, Yellowdig 58:16
Thank you, Peter. Steven,
Stephen Kosslyn, President of Active Learning Sciences 58:19
directly quickly, underscore theme that I've heard cutting through a lot of the previous comments, which is changes upon us, we're not able to avoid it. But we should realize we're not just going to throw out everything that we've done before we need to build on it, and perhaps reframe it and perhaps use it in different ways. But just as party's said about philosophy, there are many, many aspects of liberal arts that are actually very useful and important to preserve and we should not lose sight of our larger mission in the in the face of all this change.