A MIDAS Data and AI in Society Forum:

Artificial Intelligence in the Classroom: A Panel Discussion

Friday, February 24, 2023, 1:30-3:00pm
Weiser Hall, 10th floor, 500 Church Street, Ann Arbor

ChatGPT Logo Higher education may be on the brink of a historic disruption, as artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT have the potential to revolutionize the way students learn and interact with course material. These tools allow students to generate unique, high-quality responses to essay prompts and to generate novel creative content. While some see this as a valuable learning tool, others view this as cheating and worry about the potential challenges and ethical considerations that AI technologies bring, as well as how they may shape the future of the workforce for students. Join us for a panel of experts as we explore the ways in which ChatGPT and other AI technologies may disrupt the traditional education model and discuss the implications for students and faculty alike. Will these tools truly “end higher education as we know it,” or will they instead reinvigorate the classroom?

The paragraph above was written by ChatGPT, a large language model by OpenAI.

The classroom image was generated by DALL-E.


How will AI change the way we teach and learn?

If the headlines are to be believed, higher education is about to face its biggest disruption in history. But will AI tools really “end higher education as we know it,” “revolutionize the classroom,” or something else?

Faculty and others interested in adapting to such technology in the classroom joined our panel of distinguished educators, administrators, and researchers to learn about the principles and functionality of ChatGPT and other large language models, explore the implications of this new technology, discuss what roles AI can and should play in a classroom setting and develop concrete ideas for faculty to adapt to such technology.

Panelists and the audience discussed:

  • How the technologies underlying chatbots and language models work;
  • Ways that student use of these tools that might disrupt existing assignments and evaluation techniques;
  • Ways AI tools can aide teaching and learning;
  • How faculty determine acceptable and unacceptable uses of AI tools in the classroom;
  • What AI tools are currently good at and not good at (i.e. the errors they can introduce);
  • The promises and pitfalls of AI detection;
  • How AI tools are likely to evolve in the future and how faculty can be prepared for them.

Forum Co-Sponsors

LSA logo
Michigan Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

About the Speakers

Forum Moderator

Associate Professor of Communication and Media, Associate Professor of Political Science, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and Faculty Associate, Center for Political Studies, Institute for Social Research

Dr. Josh Pasek’s research explores how new media and psychological processes shape political attitudes, public opinion, and political behaviors. He moderated the panel and audience discussion as a social scientist who works with new and developing AI methods.


Arthur F Thurnau Professor, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, Professor of Physics, Professor of Astronomy, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and Professor of Education, School of Education

Dr. Tim McKay is a leading voice in the innovation of undergraduate education. On this panel, Tim shared his perspectives on this new technology from his vantage point as a higher-education administrator and professor.

Janice M Jenkins Collegiate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, College of Engineering

Dr. Mihalcea is the Director of the U-M AI Lab and an expert in natural language processing, an essential AI method that is used to create ChatGPT and other AI models. She guided the audience to understand large language models and provided an AI researcher’s perspectives on the benefits and harms of AI tools.

Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Linguistics, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

As a panelist representing both philosophy and linguistics expertise, Dr. Eric Swanson is perfectly positioned to explore the novel epistemological and ethical challenges arising from machine-generated text.

Arthur F Thurnau Professor, Chair, Department of Communication and Media, Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Professor of Linguistics and Professor of English Language and Literature, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Dr. Robin Queen is a linguist with expertise in sociolinguistics, language variation, and language change, and many other related topics. Dr. Queen is also a professor of English and Germanic Languages and Literatures, which positions her to discuss the challenges presented by AI text generation tools to the teaching of literary disciplines.

W K Kellogg Professor of Community Information and Professor of Information, School of Information

An expert on human-computer interaction, Dr. Kentaro Toyama augmented the panel’s discussion with his experience in technology and its implications in a global socio-economic environment.


Edgar F Codd Distinguished University Professor and Bernard A Galler Collegiate Professor; MIDAS Director

Dr. Jagadish contributed his perspectives as the host of the event and MIDAS Director. In his own words: “Data science has so much potential to do good things in so many aspects of life and society. I’m passionate about helping with that transformation and helping Michigan lead in that transformation while at the same time being cognizant of the potential risk and pitfalls. I want to help us get as much of the benefit of data science and AI as we can without suffering the harm they could bring if mismanaged.”

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