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The Many Applications of Generative AI, Beyond Student Learning and Teaching

Generative AI, including ChatGPT, is a technology that can potentially transform higher education across all areas of campus operations. Using the Higher Education Reference Model, which outlines the core capabilities of learning and teaching, research, and enabling capabilities, this document, Higher Education Reference Model (HERM) Capability Model & Generative Artificial Intelligence provides ideas on how Generative AI can be applied in higher education.

While generative AI has already proven its potential to revolutionize/disrupt the student learning experience, it can streamline admissions, automate administrative tasks, and support facilities management and IT support. Additionally, AI can help researchers make sense of large amounts of data, identifying patterns and trends and generating new hypotheses.

However, ensuring that AI is used ethically and transparently is vital. As professionals in higher education, we must continue to explore the various applications of generative AI and its potential to transform higher education beyond the classroom.


The Future of Education: Expert Panel Weighs in on the Metaverse, AI, and Blockchain in Higher Learning

Through the power of ChatGPT, we summon our facilitator, Percy, once again to moderate a round-table conversation amongst thought leaders in the field of higher education and technology. Previously, Percy moderated the topic around The Future of Higher Education: A Roundtable of Higher Education Leaders: Discussing the Future of Higher Education – ChatGPT Style.

The topic for today is “imagine a future where a higher education institutions operate in a time and space in the metaverse, artificial intelligence, and blockchain.” The first question is “How imminent will this happen and what are the implications to higher education?” The second question is “what is the worst case scenario?” and the last question is “what’s the best case scenario?”

Percy: Thank you all for joining this round table discussion. Today, we’ll be exploring a future where higher education institutions operate in the metaverse, leveraging artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies. Our first question is, “How imminent will this happen and what are the implications for higher education?” Let’s hear from Ray Kurzweil first.

Ray Kurzweil: In my view, the integration of these technologies into higher education is not only imminent, but it’s already happening. Within the next decade, we’ll see a significant shift towards virtual, AI-assisted learning environments. The implications include increased accessibility, personalization, and collaboration in education, but also the risk of exacerbating existing inequalities.

Percy: Thank you, Ray. Don Tapscott, would you like to weigh in on this question?

Don Tapscott: I agree with Ray on the timeline. However, I’d like to emphasize the potential of blockchain technology in this context. It can revolutionize higher education by providing secure, decentralized systems for credentials and academic records. This will create more trust and transparency in the sector, ultimately benefiting students and institutions alike.

Percy: Cathy N. Davidson, your perspective would be invaluable here.

Cathy N. Davidson: Building on Ray’s and Don’s points, I see this transformation as an opportunity to rethink our traditional educational models. By embracing the metaverse and AI, we can break free from the constraints of time, space, and bureaucracy. This has the potential to create more inclusive, engaging, and learner-centric experiences, but it also demands a shift in how we prepare educators for this new reality.

Percy: Now, let’s hear from Joi Ito on this topic.

Joi Ito: I agree that this future is imminent, and I’d like to highlight the implications for creativity and innovation. AI and the metaverse will enable new forms of collaboration, fostering a global community of learners and researchers. However, we must be cautious not to let technology dictate the educational experience, but rather use it as a tool to support and enhance human connection and discovery.

Percy: Finally, Cathy O’Neil, what are your thoughts?

Cathy O’Neil: I think my colleagues have covered the potential benefits well, but I’d like to emphasize the potential risks. As AI and blockchain become more prevalent, we need to ensure that privacy, security, and ethical considerations are addressed. Furthermore, we must work to prevent a digital divide in education, where access to these technologies becomes a new source of inequality.

Percy: Let’s dive into the second question: “What is the worst-case scenario for a future where higher education institutions operate in a time and space in the metaverse, artificial intelligence, and blockchain?” I’d like to invite Don Tapscott to share his thoughts first. Don, as a leading expert on the intersection of technology and education, what concerns do you have about this future?

Don Tapscott: The worst-case scenario in my view would involve the exacerbation of existing inequalities in higher education. Institutions that can afford cutting-edge technologies will gain a massive advantage, while others will be left behind. Additionally, there’s a risk of personal data being mishandled on these platforms, putting student privacy at stake.

Percy: Cathy N. Davidson, as a scholar who has focused on the future of learning and digital literacy, how do you see the potential pitfalls in this scenario?

Cathy N. Davidson: I share Don’s concerns about inequality. We need to ensure that access to quality education in the metaverse is not restricted to a privileged few. Moreover, the overemphasis on technology may lead to a devaluation of human interaction, which is essential for critical thinking and creativity.

Percy: Joi Ito, as an entrepreneur and technologist who has been involved with the development of the internet and its impact on society, do you have any thoughts on this worst-case scenario?

Joi Ito: I think there’s a danger of monopolistic behavior by large corporations that could stifle innovation and limit access to these new educational opportunities. Also, we must be cautious of surveillance capitalism, where student data is used to manipulate and control, instead of empowering learners.

Percy: Cathy O’Neil, as a mathematician and author who has written about the dark side of algorithms, what do you think could go wrong in this future?

Cathy O’Neil: The use of AI in higher education could lead to biased decision-making and further marginalize underrepresented groups. We need to make sure algorithms are transparent and accountable to prevent this.

Percy: Ray Kurzweil, as a futurist and inventor who has extensively written about AI and its future impact, what are your thoughts on the potential negative consequences?

Ray Kurzweil: While I’m generally optimistic about technology, I recognize the potential for AI to become an oppressive force if misused. In the worst-case scenario, AI could be used to control students’ thoughts and actions, leading to a dystopian educational environment.

Percy: Thank you all for your insights. It seems that the main concerns in the worst-case scenario involve inequality, surveillance, loss of human interaction, and the misuse of AI. Let’s continue the conversation and explore potential solutions and best-case scenarios.

Percy: That’s a compelling vision, Don. Cathy N. Davidson, you have long advocated for the importance of rethinking traditional education structures. What do you think about the best-case scenario?

Cathy N. Davidson: Building on Don’s ideas, I believe the best-case scenario would also involve a shift from the traditional one-size-fits-all approach to a more diverse and flexible education system. The metaverse and AI can help create an environment where students can explore their passions, and collaborate with people from different backgrounds and disciplines. Blockchain could facilitate a more modular and customizable credentialing system, allowing students to build their own unique learning paths. It’s a future where education becomes a lifelong, adaptable journey.

Percy: Thank you, Cathy. Joi Ito, as someone with a background in both technology and education, what are your thoughts on the best-case scenario for higher education in this new era?

Joi Ito: I agree with Don and Cathy, but I’d like to emphasize the importance of maintaining a strong human component in this new educational landscape. While AI and the metaverse can empower students and educators, we must ensure that these technologies are designed ethically and with empathy. In the best-case scenario, we strike a balance between harnessing technology and fostering human connections. It’s crucial that we create spaces within the metaverse where diverse perspectives can come together, fostering creativity and innovation.

Percy: That’s an important point, Joi. Cathy O’Neil, you have been critical of the potential pitfalls of AI and big data. In your view, what would be the best-case scenario for higher education institutions utilizing these technologies?

Cathy O’Neil: I believe the best-case scenario would be one where AI and blockchain are used responsibly and transparently. Education institutions should ensure that the algorithms they use are fair, unbiased, and do not perpetuate existing inequalities. In addition, they must be transparent about the data collected and used to make decisions about students’ learning experiences. By being accountable and transparent, we can harness these technologies to create an equitable and just educational system for all.

Percy: Thank you all for sharing your perspectives on the best-case scenario for higher education institutions in the age of the metaverse, AI, and blockchain. It’s clear that while there are many potential benefits, it’s crucial to ensure that these technologies are used ethically and responsibly to create a more inclusive, accessible, and innovative education system.

Bing-AI Aided NCAA Men’s Basketball Bracket Picks

I would like to know how predictions aided by Bing AI would perform the winners of the 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. I have not typically participated in completing my predictions, so this is an unscientific exercise from a novice who is curious about how a Bing AI-aided picks would fare. Here are the picks. The Final Four teams include Alabama, Tennessee, Penn State, and Gonzaga. Alabama an Gonzaga play for the championship with Alabama as the national champion.

The Heart of Legacy: Creating a Lasting Impact Through People-Centric Leadership

A few weeks ago, during our stay interview at work, I was asked, “What legacy would you like to leave at UCSB?” This question resonated with me and prompted me to think about what I want my impact to be. I invite you to reflect on this question: What legacy do you envision leaving behind in your organization?

At the same time, I’m working with a team to implement a mentorship program for our IT professionals. One goal is to provide opportunities for future leaders. The question above and this mentorship program got me thinking about the most significant impact we can have in our organizations – the opportunities and interactions we share with the folks we work with and serve. How we treat them and set them up for success can affect their lives, even generations to come, and all the people they will interact with. As a wise colleague recently told me, at the end of the day, our work begins and ends with people. People will forget the systems we build and the projects we work on, but our impact on others lasts much longer. Sometimes, amid our busy work lives, we focus on what’s right before us and only think about the future within our time in our organizations. A wise student once told me, “As leaders, we are hard on ourselves, thinking our efforts don’t yield any meaningful results, but we are planting seeds today which will bloom beyond our time.” What seeds are you planting today that will contribute to the legacy you want to leave behind?

When asked about the legacy I’d like to leave, my immediate response was “Acts 13:36,” which I’ve come to translate as “he served God’s purpose in his generation.” This verse and my wife’s and I’s shared mission statement: “To make positive impacts globally through acts of compassion, inspiration, and education. In pursuit of this goal, practice an attitude of gratitude and an abundance mindset,” provides direction for our purpose in life. How do your values and beliefs shape the legacy you want to create?

As leaders and colleagues, we have a moral and ethical responsibility to ensure that those we work with and those we serve are treated with dignity and respect and given equal opportunities to succeed – not despite their differences but because of their uniqueness to our organization.

Through my experiences growing up, feeling marginalized in school and even at work when I didn’t fit the norms, I’ve come to value equal access to opportunities, inclusion, and appreciation for diversity. What values do you believe can contribute to a positive legacy? How can you invest in the people around you to help them reach their full potential?

With this in mind, our mentorship program aims to empower IT professionals and future leaders by focusing on their growth and development. By investing in people and fostering a sense of community, we can create a lasting legacy that carries on through those we’ve mentored and the people they’ll go on to mentor themselves.

Let us remember that our work and the legacy we leave in our organizations begin and end with people. People will forget the systems we build and our contributions to projects. However, our impact on others can resonate for generations to come. By focusing on developing meaningful relationships, mentoring future leaders, and living out our purpose with an attitude of gratitude and an abundance mindset, we can make an impactful difference in those around us and leave a legacy that will long outlive the systems we create. So, what legacy do you envision leaving behind?

ChatGPT 101: An Introduction to the Revolutionary AI Technology for Higher Education IT Professionals

The content of this training is generated by ChatGPT in response to a prompt provided by Joe Sabado.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this 55-minute training, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the concept of ChatGPT and its relevance to higher education IT professionals.
  • Identify potential use cases for ChatGPT in their respective areas of IT operations and management.
  • Explain the benefits of using ChatGPT for internal and external communication, knowledge management, automation, and leadership/management.
  • Evaluate the potential risks and challenges associated with ChatGPT in cybersecurity and HR.
  • Develop strategies for responding to cybersecurity, HR, and other IT-related concerns involving ChatGPT.


I. Introduction (5 minutes)

  • Welcome and introductions
  • Overview of the training objectives and agenda
  • Explanation of ChatGPT and its relevance to higher education IT professionals

II. Understanding ChatGPT (10 minutes)

  • Explanation of the concept of ChatGPT
  • Overview of how ChatGPT works
  • Potential use cases for ChatGPT in higher education IT operations and management

III. Benefits of ChatGPT (15 minutes)

  • Improved internal and external communication
  • Streamlined knowledge management
  • Increased automation
  • Enhanced leadership and management

IV. Risks and Challenges of ChatGPT (10 minutes)

  • Potential cybersecurity risks
  • HR concerns
  • Other IT-related challenges

V. Case Study Activities (10 minutes)

  • Small group discussions on potential use cases for ChatGPT
  • Group presentations and feedback

VI. Responding to Concerns (5 minutes)

  • Strategies for addressing cybersecurity risks
  • Approaches to HR concerns
  • Other IT-related responses

VII. Q&A and Next Steps (5 minutes)

  • Recap of key takeaways
  • Questions and answers
  • Next steps for implementing ChatGPT in higher education IT operations and management

Case Study Activities:

Case Study 1: ChatGPT for Internal Communication (3 minutes)

  • Small group discussion on how ChatGPT can improve internal communication in a higher education IT department (5 minutes)
  • Group presentation and feedback (2 minutes)

Case Study 2: ChatGPT for External Communication (3 minutes)

  • Small group discussion on how ChatGPT can improve external communication with students, faculty, and other stakeholders in higher education (5 minutes)
  • Group presentation and feedback (2 minutes)

Case Study 3: ChatGPT for Knowledge Management (3 minutes)

  • Small group discussion on how ChatGPT can be used to manage institutional knowledge in higher education (5 minutes)
  • Group presentation and feedback (2 minutes)

Responding to Concerns:

  • Cybersecurity risks: Ensure proper authentication and access control measures, regularly monitor ChatGPT for suspicious activity, and implement regular security audits. (1 minute)
  • HR concerns: Develop guidelines for appropriate use of ChatGPT, including the avoidance of sensitive or discriminatory language, and provide training on best practices for ChatGPT usage. (2 minutes)
  • Other IT-related concerns: Develop a comprehensive risk management plan that addresses potential challenges and risks associated with ChatGPT, including data privacy and ethical considerations. (2 minutes)

Time Allocation:

  • Introduction – 5 minutes
  • Understanding ChatGPT – 10 minutes
  • Benefits of ChatGPT – 15 minutes
  • Risks and Challenges of ChatGPT – 10 minutes
  • Case Study Activities – 10 minutes
  • Responding to Concerns – 5 minutes

Q&A and Next Steps – 5 minutes


Email me at for a facilitator’s guide for this training which includes scenarios for the case study section and details for each section.

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