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In the era of online education, educators are continuously looking for new ways to integrate AI technology to build and support a sustainable future in higher education. In recent years, many universities have adopted chatbots—serving as virtual teaching assistants—to help students with navigating through online courses and answering fundamental questions regarding deadlines or lesson plans. While this new technology is exciting and opens up potential benefits to the learning process, the quality of human interaction among students and educators continues to be the driving factor behind a meaningful college experience. In a recent compilation of 70,000 interviews conducted with college graduates, the Gallup-Purdue-Index found that human relationships are an underlying component of the “Big Six” collegiate experiences that likely lead to long-term wellbeing post-graduation. (Pacansky-Brock).
In brief, the value of human interaction remains to be a core element of a meaningful learning experience. With this in mind, the most crucial component of traditional education requires the trust between students and educators, although having AI bots imitate that interaction blurs the line. That said, there are plenty of opportunities for AI to play a potential role reshaping the interface of current learning management systems. For example, as an online tool, AI can provide students with accessible information such as study tips, deadlines, and reference materials. Ultimately, regardless of the real or perceived benefits, its application in the classroom should always focus on applying technology to extend the values traditional learning.
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