In a bold move towards embracing technological advancements in education, Utah State University (USU) has embarked on an exciting journey by integrating AI into Canvas, its online learning platform. The university’s English courses, specifically tailored for Canvas, have become the testing ground for an innovative pilot experiment that kicked off in the fall semester of 2023. At the heart of this experiment is an AI writing coach named ChatGPT, a tool that holds the promise of revolutionizing the way students approach and refine their writing skills within the Canvas English Courses.
The Visionaries Behind the Initiative
The driving force behind this Canvas-centric initiative is the desire to seamlessly blend AI with traditional teaching methods, fostering critical thinking and independent writing capabilities in students. ChatGPT, released to the public in 2022, is a natural language processing model that analyzes text and provides constructive feedback to enhance the quality of students’ writing assignments within the Canvas Courses.
Ludovic Attiogbe, a computer system analyst at USU, played a pivotal role in recognizing the potential of AI and spearheading the exploration of its integration into educational tools within Canvas. Attiogbe’s vision extends beyond the mere utilization of technology; it’s about creating a future where AI becomes an integral component in enhancing the overall educational experience within the Canvas English Courses. “Embracing this technology, rather than fearing it, offers a way to significantly enrich learning experiences,” notes Attiogbe.
Collaborative Innovation: Shaping the AI Writing Coach
The collaborative efforts of Neal Legler from USU’s Center for Instructional Design & Innovation (CIDI) and Russ Winn and Rachel Quistberg from the USU Department of English have been instrumental in shaping the AI writing coach initiative within the Canvas English Courses. Together, they brainstormed ideas on how AI could serve as a writing coach, constantly refining the program based on valuable feedback from the English department.
The AI writing coach was initially introduced in select English 2010 courses on Canvas during the Fall 2023 semester, marking the tool’s first steps into a real-world educational setting within the Canvas English Courses. While still in a developmental phase, the university has plans to expand its integration into more courses in the future.
The AI Writing Coach in Action: Navigating the Learning Landscape
The tool’s accessibility through Canvas provides a controlled and gradable environment, aligning with the guidelines and expectations of USU’s various departments within the Canvas English Courses. This strategic approach ensures that AI becomes a valuable aid in the learning process without compromising the academic integrity of the institution.
Decoding ChatGPT: How the AI Writing Coach Works
How does ChatGPT work its magic within the Canvas English Courses? Integrated into Canvas, this AI writing coach engages students in a thoughtful analysis of their writing assignments. By employing natural language processing, it dissects the text and offers targeted suggestions for improvement. The ultimate goal is to strike a balance between AI assistance and the development of students’ critical thinking and writing skills, allowing their work to be accurately measured and graded.
As the AI writing coach continues to evolve within the Canvas Courses, it holds the promise of shaping a future where AI becomes an indispensable tool in education. Attiogbe expresses enthusiasm about the ongoing innovations, anticipating the positive impact on the educational system within the Canvas English Courses. “We look forward to seeing the impact of these innovations and getting the opportunity to develop more AI-powered tools,” he concludes.
In this era of rapid technological advancement, Utah State University’s foray into integrating AI into English courses within the Canvas platform serves as a beacon, guiding educational institutions towards a future where the harmonious coexistence of technology and traditional pedagogy enriches the learning journey for students.