Streaming University, Pty
The AI panic
And we’re off again. In 2019 (prior to COVID) there was media panic over self-driving vehicles taking the jobs of global millions of human truck, bus and taxi drivers. Self-Driving Cars? Not useably here yet – unless you’re ambivalent about surviving your drive home. And the much-heralded arrival of the electric car? Far more traction on this issue due to valid ecological concerns and, as ever, hyper-promotion. But EVs remain a work in progress. And now, Chat Bot AI. Slipping into our lives overnight like an unanticipated technological ninja, AI threatens to derail the very fabric of our current education system, or so it is said by some. Unquestionably, it clearly does have huge potential to negatively impact both academic integrity and revenue.
Initially, universities are reverting to traditional practices: examination hall F2F assessment regimes; timed assignments written in class, etc. However, we doubt it will be long before better, more technological, strategies come into play. Strategies and applications which once again will allow universities to digitally move away from F2F engagement with undergraduates, such as Invigilator Plus style online examination proctoring and the many other new tech developments.
There are effective alternatives to traditional university approaches: the Mega Universities. Western Governors University now has 150,000 students and Southern New Hampshire University has 145,000 students – all online. They are revolutionising online teaching and the student experience. All much cheaper than traditional universities and very proactive in AI technologies.
We predict that:
- AI Bots in offices and Autonomous Delivery Vehicles will, like the introduction of factory and farm machinery in previous centuries, replace humans in the workforce. Even EV’s will reduce employment opportunities somewhat.
- School graduates will (as we already know) need tertiary qualifications. Affordable tertiary qualifications.
- The future experience of HE for most undergraduates is, we believe, eventually going to be online and via mega university streaming platforms rather than through vinyl era, on campus real estate operations.
- Ironically, private providers are currently offering the most affordable means for successfully obtaining accredited degree qualifications.
- And no question, the current Australian university business model of incessant need for high volumes of international students with migration aspirations and huge escalating HECS debts for domestic students simply lacks credible sustainability.
Emeritus Professor Jim Mienczakowski is a former schoolteacher, Dean of a Faculty of Education, DVC and VC of a Teacher Education University. He is currently a Higher Education Consultant.
Emeritus Professor Greg Whateley is a former schoolteacher, Teacher Educator and Director of CQ Conservatorium of Music. He is currently DVC of UBSS and Vice President (Academic) at GCA.