AI research needs increased ethics, collaboration, and rigour

Jamillah Knowles & We and AI / Better Images of AI / People and Ivory Tower AI / CC-BY 4.0

A recently published meta systematic review of artificial intelligence in higher education issues call for increased ethics, collaboration, and rigour. In an article in LinkedIn Melissa Bond, one of the authors says the meta review of 66 evidence syntheses (systematic reviews, meta-analyses etc) explores the application of Artificial Intelligence in higher education across the past 5 years (2018 to July 2023). The motivation was to take stock of the kind of research that’s been done up until the turning point of generative AI, reflect on the barriers and affordances, and really understand the quality of research being done, so that future research can be as rigorous, forward thinking and innovative as possible.
She summaries the key findings:
* There is a need for greater emphasis on ethical, collaborative and rigorous AI research to be undertaken.
* More emphasis needs to be placed on raising the profile of AI literacy within the curriculum, designed in an interdisciplinary way across and within faculties, alongside providing more professional development opportunities for staff.
* 40.9% of reviews indicated a need for enhanced ethical considerations – this includes participant consent in research, data collection procedures and how institutions are storing and using teaching and learning data, but also consideration of what data is being used to train algorithms (e.g. greater consideration of including data from diverse student populations is needed).
* Top 5 benefits of using AI in education = personalised learning, greater insight into student understanding, positive influence on learning outcomes, reduced planning and administration time for educators, greater equity in education and precise assessment and feedback.
* Top 5 challenges of using AI in education = lack of ethical consideration, curriculum development, infrastructure, lack of teacher technical knowledge and concerns over the shifting of authority (from human to AI).

Bond, M., Khosravi, H., De Laat, M. et al. A meta systematic review of artificial intelligence in higher education: a call for increased ethics, collaboration, and rigour. Int J Educ Technol High Educ 21, 4 (2024).