Durham College’s Progressive Approach to Generative AI Tools

Durham College is leading the way by embracing artificial intelligence. Dr. Elaine Popp, executive vice president, academic, shares her thoughts on how AI is shaping how we work, teach and learn at DC.

In an era of rapid technological advancements, the emergence of generative artificial intelligence – or GenAI – tools has ignited a wave of innovation across industries. It is revolutionizing how we teach, learn and prepare post-secondary students at Durham College (DC) for their future careers.

Already outpacing traditional artificial intelligence’s ability to analyze data and make predictions, GenAI software can write essays, recommend computer code, draft exams and student assignments, generate graphics, and much more. At minimum, one of GenAI’s benefits is its ability to improve efficiency in instructional and administrative tasks, allowing faculty members to focus more on teaching and supporting students directly.

More broadly, this technology is being adapted by faculty into their teaching and learning practices in purposeful ways to enhance student learning and support the development of transferable skills in alignment with industry expectations.

With new technology like this, we need to be constantly curating resources to help harness its potential and be aware of its risks. DC’s Framework for Implementing Generative AI is a living document designed to help support faculty members use these tools, which focuses on five principles: Intentionality, Active Engagement, Responsibility for Accuracy, Ensuring Ethical and Legal Considerations, and Reflective Practice as an Evaluation of Learning.

As with any transformative technology, there are challenges, and we recognize the importance of authentic assessments, safeguarding against biases and ensuring data privacy. This framework will help address these concerns.

Beyond its use in teaching and learning, the College’s approach to GenAI and AI extends to our program development and applied research, ensuring our students are prepared to lead the way in constantly evolving industries. We offer an Honours Bachelor of Artificial Intelligence and a graduate certificate in Artificial Intelligence, Analysis, Design and Implementation. Students in these programs have opportunities to work with faculty and industry professionals in The AI Hub, DC’s applied research centre dedicated to supporting industry partners to uncover business insights while providing intelligent and autonomous solutions with the help of AI.

If we aim to provide our students with the best possible learning experiences, embracing the evolution of GenAI is not merely an option but a necessity. By nurturing innovation and responsible usage, DC is preparing students for the demands of tomorrow while contributing to the evolution of education in the digital age.

These are just some of the ways we are leveraging GenAI. How will it help you?