Doug Specht and Gunter Saunders contribute to JISC Case Study on AI

24 April 2024

Doug Specht and Gunter Saunders have contributed to a new JISC case study on AI in higher education. The report, written by Tom Moule and published by JISC in April explores how AI is changing Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs).

The report, published in collaboration with the National Centre for AI, discusses the use of Blackboard Learn Ultra’s AI Design Assistant at the University of Westminster, highlighting the institution’s collaborative efforts with Anthology, the company behind Blackboard Learn Ultra, to integrate generative AI into their Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

The case study notes how the University of Westminster, along with Northumbria University, has been utilising the AI Design Assistant in Blackboard Learn Ultra to enhance their VLEs. This tool offers features such as the generation of assessment rubrics, course structures, activity ideas, images, and quizzes, which are designed to support learning and assessment.

The University of Westminster’s journey began with a consultation with Anthology to discuss desired AI features for Learn Ultra. The university was part of an Anthology client group that suggested features to aid educators in creating authentic assessments. Specht described the use of AI-generated quizzes within a module designed to support students in writing effective research proposals.

The report emphasises the importance of focusing on AI use cases that add real value to the education sector, rather than integrating AI reactively. The University of Westminster’s experience with the AI Design Assistant reflects a strategic and beneficial use of AI in education.

The University of Westminster’s collaboration with Anthology and the use of Blackboard Learn Ultra’s AI Design Assistant demonstrate a proactive and ethical approach to incorporating AI into higher education, with a focus on creating authentic assessments and supporting educators in their teaching efforts.

The full report can be read on the JISC website.



Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

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