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Archive for April, 2023

Embracing Technology in Higher Education: Lessons from the Past

As an IT leader and an educator with a long history in higher education, I’ve seen how technology has changed various aspects of academia. New technologies often face skepticism or concerns about how they might affect the values we hold dear. By learning from our experiences, we can better understand and address these concerns. ChatGPT, an AI language model, has recently sparked discussions about academic integrity, reminding me of a similar situation.

A few weeks ago, I read an article saying we shouldn’t automate what we care about. This idea reminded me of the resistance we encountered in 2005 when we introduced electronic medical records (EMRs) to counseling psychologists on our campus. They worried that using technology would make their profession less human and personal.

But what if we think about technology differently? Instead of seeing it as a replacement for what we care about, we can use it to make routine and supporting tasks more efficient. This way, we have more time to focus on what truly matters, like giving our students the attention they need.

The adoption of EMRs is a great example. At first, counseling psychologists were skeptical, but over time, they found that the technology made their work more efficient, giving them more time to spend with their clients. They realized that using technology didn’t take away the human element; it allowed them to focus more on what they cared about.

We can apply this same perspective to ChatGPT and academic integrity concerns. By having open conversations with educators and students, we can address their concerns and show them the potential benefits of using technology like ChatGPT to improve efficiency in education. By tackling the challenges directly and refining the technology, we can ensure it fits the core values of teaching and learning.

It’s important to remember that ChatGPT, or any technology, isn’t inherently good or bad. How we use, regulate, and adapt it to our specific needs determines its impact on academic integrity. By changing how we think about technology and learning from our past experiences, we can better prepare ourselves to face the challenges and opportunities of new technologies like ChatGPT, ultimately making education better for everyone involved.

A Call to Action: Why Campus-wide Collaboration is Critical to Addressing ChatGPT in Higher Education

I do not have the perfect formula for how higher education can best respond to ChatGPT. What I do know is that if universities are to have an effective and sustainable response, it will require the participation of the different campus stakeholders, including administration, faculty, staff, and students.

Let me offer you some plausible and likely scenarios:

  • A student is accused of academic misconduct because they used ChatGPT to write his paper. Their defense was “My English professor said we can use ChatGPT, so I assumed we can use it in this class as well.”
  • A professor decides to move their exams to the university learning management system and now requires students to take exams on paper and campus. The professor realized on the exam day they had not coordinated their plan with the Disabled Students Program to provide proctoring accommodation.
  • A professor, an advocate of the use of ChatGPT for their class, finds out suddenly in the middle of the quarter, right before they start their course, that ChatGPT had been blocked on the classroom computer by an IT network administrator who personally believes the use of ChatGPT in the classroom is wrong. Hence, they unilaterally decided to blocked it.
  • A staff, curious about how ChatGPT works, copied and pasted a confidential memo on ChatGPT to see how well it summarizes documents. They then suddenly panicked at the prospect of confidential information being uploaded to an outside service that may have violated a university policy.
  • Several professors purchased AI-detector software independently without consulting with the procurement office for security requirements. When they needed support from IT, they were informed that the software they bought are in litigation with the university and the purchase may have violated university policy.
  • A professor, lacking training, falsely accuse their class of using chatGPT and withhold their grades.

The situations above could result from many factors, including a need for a well-understood institutional strategy for using ChatGPT and the lack of coordination amongst the different campus community members. If universities are to have effective and sustainable responses to ChatGPT, it will require a diverse and inclusive effort to define an effective strategy that can be implemented and supported.

In my observations from the articles I have tracked related to higher education and ChatGPT, one set of important voices needs to be included – students. Webinars and panel discussions around academic integrity and ChatGPT almost always consist of faculty members and rarely have students. Unfortunately, articles reminding the need for student insights in ChatGPT discussions need to be written, but that is the reality. The authors state, “Educators and administrators need to engage students in conversations and decisions regarding AI with a genuine curiosity and openness to their desires, insights, concerns, and recommendations.”

Based on my observations of the myriad of higher education institutions’ responses towards ChatGPT, I am optimistic about the prospect of a future when campuses will eventually have strategies that should minimize the occurrences of the scenarios I posed above.


A list of ChatGPT and higher education articles, events, resources, and faculty guides.

ChatGPT, AI, and Higher Education – a collection of personal blog posts.

ChatGPT As Interview Questions Generator

ChatGPT can be useful for generating interview questions given job description. Here’s an example of such use.

Prompt: Act as a hiring manager. Generate interview questions for the following job description. Categorize the questions into technical, situational, behavioral, competency-based, and personal and future-oriented categories. Provide 5 questions for each category.

The following Job Description is from an actual job advertisement on for a “Director of Information Technology” at a higher education institution.

Job Responsibilities General Functions:
· Oversees all aspects of technology at the college.

· Oversees system wide communications, staff at all campuses, coordinates the enhancement of online services inclusive of website and Student Information System (SIS).

· Oversees publications functions and publications staff at the college: including official online catalog.

· Interacts with other offices/departments for publications projects related to efforts of promoting positive marketing on behalf of COM-FSM.

· Ensures compliance with ACCJC Accreditation Standard I.C Institutional Integrity for college publications.

· Ensures compliance with ACCJC Accreditation Standard III.C Technology Resources.

· Serves as the ex officio officer to the Information Communications and Technology (ICT) committee.

· Serves on the Management Team.

· Represents the college at various forums at the local, state, regional, and international levels.

· Advises the vice president of institutional effectiveness and quality assurance (VPIEQA) on technology related matters.

· Provides monthly and quarterly reports to the VPIEQA.

· Promotes and ensures compliance with the college’s technology policies and procedures.

· Develops and responsibly manages the information technology budget for the college.

· Develops and responsibly manages an inventory of information technology assets across the college.

Strategic Planning
· Develops strategic planning for the unit aligned to the institution’s strategic plan(s) and goals.

· Develops an information technology plan supporting the Integrated Educational Master Plan (IEMP).

· Coordinates with other units or college leadership to ensure seamless operations and effective technology solutions at the college.

· Identifies and implements process improvements that result in time and cost savings at the college.

Project & Implementation Management
· Leads, coordinates, documents, and tracks technology related projects at the college.

· Collaborates and coordinates with stakeholders and vendors of projects.

· Reports and prioritizes project risks for enhanced oversight, management, and resolution.

Process Improvement & Training
· Identifies opportunities to streamline internal processes, and leads identification of solutions.

· Coordinates and/or conducts training to college users to maximize efficiency.

· Completes an annual unit evaluation and assessment and ensures the results are archived in TracDat.

· Completes a program review to evaluate unit effectiveness in accordance with the four-year cycle for administrative units.

Here are ChatGPT’s generated interview questions based on the text and prompt above.

ChatGPT as Quiz Generator

This blog post introduces yet another use for ChatGPT. ChatGPT can generate questions, choice of answers, the correct answer and even an explanation.

Prompt: Act as an instructor. Generate 5 test questions from the following. Provide 4 options and indicate the right response. Provide an explanation for each question.

Click here if you want to view ChatGPT’s generated quiz without reading the source text.

The following is the Inaugural Address by President Biden from the American Presidency Project website.

“Chief Justice Roberts, Vice President Harris, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Vice President Pence, and my distinguished guests, and my fellow Americans: This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day, a day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve. Through a crucible for the ages America has been tested anew, and America has risen to the challenge.

Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy. The people—the will of the people has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded. We’ve learned again that democracy is precious, democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.

So now, on this hallowed ground where just a few days ago violence sought to shake the Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one Nation under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries. As we look ahead in our uniquely American way—restless, bold, optimistic—and set our sights on the Nation we know we can be and we must be, I thank my predecessors of both parties for their presence here today. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. And I know the resilience of our Constitution and the strength, the strength of our Nation, as does President Carter, who I spoke with last night, who cannot be with us today, but whom we salute for his lifetime of service.

I have just taken the sacred oath each of these patriots have taken, the oath first sworn by George Washington. But the American story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us, on “We the People,” who seek a more perfect Union.

This is a great Nation; we are good people. Over the centuries, through storm and strife, in peace and in war, we’ve come so far. But we still have far to go. We’ll press forward with speed and urgency, for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibilities: much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build, and much to gain.

Few people in our Nation’s history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now. A once-in-a-century virus that silently stalks the country has taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II. Millions of jobs have been lost; hundreds of thousands of businesses closed. A cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer. A cry for survival comes from the planet itself, a cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear. And now, a rise of political extremism, White supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.

To overcome these challenges—to restore the soul and secure the future of America—requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity. Unity.

In another January on New Year’s Day in 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. When he put pen to paper, the President said, and I quote, “If my name ever goes down into history it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it.” My whole soul is in it.

Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our Nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause: uniting to fight the foes we face: anger, resentment, and hatred; extremism, lawlessness, violence; disease, joblessness, and hopelessness.

With unity we can do great things, important things. We can right wrongs. We can put people to work in good jobs. We can teach our children in safe schools. We can overcome the deadly virus. We can reward work and rebuild the middle class and make health care secure for all. We can deliver racial justice, and we can make America, once again, the leading force for good in the world.

I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy these days. I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. But I also know they are not new. Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we all are created equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonization have long torn us apart. The battle is perennial. And victory is never assured.

Through the Civil War, the Great Depression, World War, 9/11, through struggle, sacrifice, and setbacks, our “better angels” have always prevailed. In each of these moments, enough of us—enough of us—have come together to carry all of us forward. And we can do that now. History, faith, and reason show the way: the way of unity.

We can see each other not as adversaries, but as neighbors. We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature. For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos.

This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward. And we must meet this moment as the United States of America. If we do that, I guarantee you, we will not fail. We have never, ever, ever, ever failed in America when we have acted together.

And so today, at this time, in this place, let’s start afresh, all of us. Let’s begin to listen to one another, hear one another, see one another, show respect to one another. Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war. And we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured.

My fellow Americans, we have to be different than this. America has to be better than this. And I believe America is so much better than this.

Just look around. Here we stand, in the shadow of the Capitol dome, as was mentioned earlier, completed amid the Civil War, when the Union itself was literally hanging in the balance. Yet we endured, we prevailed.

Here we stand looking out on the great Mall where Dr. King spoke of his dream.

Here we stand, where 108 years ago, at another Inaugural, thousands of protesters tried to block brave women marching for the right to vote. And today we mark the swearing-in of the first woman in American history elected to national office: Vice President Kamala Harris. Don’t tell me things can’t change.

Here we stand across the Potomac from Arlington Cemetery, where heroes who gave the last full measure of devotion rest in eternal peace.

And here we stand, just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen. It will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever—not ever.

To all those who supported our campaign, I am humbled by the faith you’ve placed in us. To all those who did not support us, let me say this: Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart. And if you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy. That’s America. The right to dissent peaceably, within the guardrails of our Republic, is perhaps this Nation’s greatest strength. Yet hear me clearly: Disagreement must not lead to disunion. And I pledge this to you: I will be a President for all Americans—all Americans. And I promise you, I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.

Many centuries ago, Saint Augustine, a saint of my church, wrote that a people was a multitude defined by the common objects of their love—defined by the common objects of their love. What are the common objects we as Americans love? That define us as Americans? I think we know: opportunity, security, liberty, dignity, respect, honor, and yes, the truth.

Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth, and there are lies: lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and a responsibility, as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders—leaders who have pledged to honor our Constitution and protect our Nation—to defend the truth and defeat the lies.

Look, I understand that many of my fellow Americans view the future with fear and trepidation. I understand they worry about their jobs. I understand, like my dad, they lay at bed at night staring at the ceiling, wondering: “Can I keep my health care? Can I pay my mortgage?” Thinking about their families, about what comes next. I promise you, I get it. But the answer is not to turn inward, to retreat into competing factions, distrusting those who don’t look like you or worship the way you do or don’t get their news from the same sources you do. We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts, if we show a little tolerance and humility, and if we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes, as my mom would say, just for a moment. Stand in their shoes.

Because here is the thing about life: There is no accounting for what fate will deal you. Some days when you need a hand. There are other days when we’re called to lend a hand. That’s how it has to be. That is what we do for one another. And if we are this way, our country will be stronger, more prosperous, more ready for the future. And we can still disagree.

My fellow Americans, in the work ahead of us, we’re going to need each other. We need all our strength to persevere through this dark winter. We’re entering what may be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus. We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one Nation. One Nation. And I promise you this: As the Bible says, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” We will get through this, together—together.

Look, folks, all my colleagues that I served with in the House and the Senate up here. We all understand the world is watching, watching all of us today. So here is my message to those beyond our borders: America has been tested, and we have come out stronger for it. We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again, not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. And we’ll lead not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. We will be a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress, and security.

Look, you all know, we have been through so much in this Nation. And, in my first act as President, I’d like to ask you to join me in a moment of silent prayer to remember all those we lost this past year to the pandemic, those 400,000 fellow Americans: moms, dads, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. We will honor them by becoming the people and Nation we know we can and should be.

So I ask you, let’s say a silent prayer for those who have lost their lives, for those they left behind, and for our country.

[At this point, a moment of silence was observed.]


Folks, this is a time of testing. We face an attack on our democracy and on truth, a raging virus, growing inequity, the sting of systemic racism, a climate in crisis, America’s role in the world. Any one of these would be enough to challenge us in profound ways. But the fact is, we face them all at once, presenting this Nation with one of the gravest of responsibilities we’ve had.

Now we’re going to be tested. Are we going to step up? All of us? It is time for boldness, for there is so much to do. And this is certain, I promise you: We will be judged, you and I, by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era. Will we rise to the occasion, is the question. Will we master this rare and difficult hour? Will we meet our obligations and pass along a new and better world to our children? I believe we must; I’m sure you do as well. I believe we will.

And when we do, we will write the next great chapter in the history of the United States of America: the American story, a story that might sound something like a song that means a lot to me. It’s called “American Anthem,” and there’s one verse that stands out, at least for me, and it goes like this:

“The work and prayers of centuries have brought us to this day
What shall be our legacy? What will our children say? . . .
Let me know in my heart when my days are through
America, America, I gave my best to you.”

Let’s add—let’s us add our own work and prayers to the unfolding story of our great Nation. If we do this, then when our days are through, our children and our children’s children will say of us: “They gave their best. They did their duty. They healed a broken land.”

My fellow Americans, I close today where I began, with a sacred oath. Before God and all of you I give you my word: I will always level with you. I will defend the Constitution. I will defend our democracy. I will defend America. And I will give all, all of you, keep everything you—I do, in your service, thinking not of power, but of possibilities; not of personal interest, but of the public good. And together, we shall write an American story of hope, not fear; of unity, not division; of light, not darkness. A story of decency and dignity, love and healing, greatness and goodness.

May this be the story that guides us, the story that inspires us, and the story that tells ages yet to come that we answered the call of history, we met the moment; democracy and hope, truth and justice, did not die on our watch, but thrived; that America secured liberty at home and stood once again as a beacon to the world. That is what we owe our forebearers, one another, and generations to follow.

So with purpose and resolve we turn to those tasks of our time, sustained by faith, driven by conviction, and devoted to one another and the country we love with all our hearts.

May God bless America, and may God protect our troops. Thank you, America.”

The following prompt generated the following questions, potential answers, the correct answer, and an explanation.

Prompt: Act as an instructor. Generate 5 test questions from the following. Provide 4 options and indicate the right response. Provide an explanation for each question.

Transforming Higher Education: How AI and Skilled Educators Can Shape the Future of Learning

I once taught first-year international students an introduction to a university course. Several students mentioned they recorded their lectures because it was a challenge for them to follow their instructors with the language barrier and the instructors speaking style. They would then review their recordings after the class. With this method, students can focus on the instructor with their heads up instead of having their heads down to take notes thereby missing some visual and oral cues from the professor when they’re emphasizing essential concepts.

An instructional designer told me that seats behind the third row in a big lecture hall may as well be considered distance learning. The students who engage by asking questions and participating in discussions are few and often seated in front of the class. During the pandemic, the same instructional designer also noted that Zoom sessions might appear more intimate for students because they can see the instructor up close, including their facial expressions, rather than a minuscule figure in front of an auditorium.

The thoughts above made me think ChatGPT and other generative AI tools could enhance learning and drive transformative changes to higher education. Here are some possibilities:

Flipped classroom. Just like the first example I provided above, AI tools that summarize materials, and introduce concepts in different modes beyond lecture format that may resonate more with the student’s learning styles, can prepare students for active discussions in the classroom. Instructors can provide asynchronous materials (videos, etc.) that students can study before class, and the instructors can then use the class sessions for interactive discussions.

Guide on the side instead of the sage on the stage. Related to the idea above, if higher education is concerned about ChatGPT being used as a cheating device or leading students to become lazy/disengaged, the role of instructors could shift from someone who lectures on stage to an active facilitator. When I attended courses at the UC Berkeley Haas Business School for my executive leadership program and a leadership academy, I was in awe of the caliber of the faculty members. They were experts in their respective fields and skilled facilitators who fostered an engaging and collaborative learning environment. Using the Socratic method, they solicited students’ ideas through dialogues instead of monologues, which was a refreshing experience for a student like me.

Personalized learning. Generative AI as a feedback mechanism can help bridge the gap for students who may be struggling with language barriers and enhance the overall learning experience for all students by addressing their unique strengths and areas for growth. AI tools like ChatGPT can enable personalized learning experiences by providing students with targeted resources and customized feedback based on their learning needs and preferences.

Enhanced accessibility. AI-powered transcription and translation services can make course content more accessible for international students, students with disabilities, or those who prefer learning through different modalities. For example, universities can provide recorded lectures transcribed and translated into other languages, and visual aids can describe visual objects for students with visual impairments in detail, similar to ChatGPT for Be My Eyes.

Virtual mentorship and coaching. Universities can use AI tools like ChatGPT to provide personalized guidance, mentorship, and coaching to students outside the classroom. Students can access on-demand support, helping them navigate academic and personal challenges and improving their overall university experience. An application of this concept is to provide students with self-service applications that can “nudge” or remind them to take certain actions based on information available in student information, learning management systems, or other university systems.

Data-driven teaching and learning. AI tools can analyze vast amounts of student performance and engagement data, allowing instructors to make real-time data-driven decisions or to have better information about their students. One example of this concept is a dashboard for faculty that includes information about their students, including their socioeconomic status, demographic backgrounds, and academic performance in their current or previous courses related to or prerequisites to their class. Along with the data are suggestions for adjusting their courses to improve their students’ performance. The use of generative AI in this way can help faculty members identify struggling students early on, provide targeted support, and continuously improve their teaching strategies and course content.

By adopting the concepts above and integrating AI tools like ChatGPT into higher education, institutions can create more engaging, inclusive, and effective learning environments that enhance student success and better prepare students for the dynamic world they will enter upon graduation. In this new paradigm, faculty members will continue to play a crucial role, not as the sole distributors of knowledge but as skilled facilitators and guides who support and empower students on their learning journeys.

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