AI in the Classroom

AI in the Classroom

UNT Diving Eagle
March 4, 2024


While researchers are exploring artificial intelligence’s use across a range of industries, UNT also is working to prepare its students and integrate the technology at the institutional level.

UNT is one of 19 universities across the country that has joined Ithaka S+R’s two-year research project focused on identifying which AI technologies will have the largest impact on learning, teaching and research in higher education.

UNT’s team includes Benjamin Brand, senior director of new ventures in the Division of Digital Strategy and Innovation, assistant professor Yunhe Feng from computer science and engineering, assistant professor Regina Kaplan-Rakowski in learning technologies and associate dean for special libraries Sue Parks.

The team will first interview faculty to gauge what their concerns may be around AI and learn how they’re already using it. Then, it will develop recommendations for AI use at UNT.

We have a responsibility as educators to teach our students these technologies because this is the world that they’re graduating into.
Chris Meerdo

On the ground level, some faculty and departments already are integrating AI in the classroom. Regents Professor Marco Buongiorno Nardelli in physics and music composition has developed two new classes, including one on machine learning and AI for scientists and another on AI’s application in music.

“We need to demystify artificial intelligence in all fields,” Buongiorno Nardelli says. “Learning how to design machine learning models on our own data helps us better control the end product.”

Technical communication is developing AI courses that will debut this fall. The first will delve into the ethics of AI and teach students how to use tools like ChatGPT while thinking critically. The second will cover AI in the technical communication field specifically and its value as a content creation and management tool. Additionally, the department will offer a new certificate in AI in Professional Communication.

In the College of Visual Arts and Design, assistant professor Chris Meerdo teaches the first class in the college combining art and AI. Using the Stable Diffusion AI model, students learn programming languages and get initial help writing code with ChatGPT. The AI serves as a baseline tool, not a competitor, when creating their art.

“We have a responsibility as educators to teach our students these technologies because this is the world that they’re graduating into,” Meerdo says. “They’re going to be entering a workforce that’s completely saturated with AI, and they have to know how to navigate it and become experts in their fields.”