Like many faculty members in the California Community Colleges, the faculty at Lake Tahoe Community College has initiated important discussions about AI (Artificial Intelligence) and its impact on teaching, information services, and professional life. AI refers to systems that perform complex tasks requiring human intelligence and learning. Many current systems, such as Chat GPT or BARD, are generative, meaning they can generate new content or information based on previous styles, contexts, or approaches. However, due to the newness of AI, LTCC faculty and staff have only scratched the surface of understanding how this technological transformation will affect teaching and professional work. Here are some of the emerging trends and issues. 

An increasing number of community college faculty members emphasize the value of personalized learning in the classroom. AI could provide excellent opportunities for more individualized instruction, tutoring, and class reviews. Faculty members might use AI to create lesson plans that can be modified and adapted to suit their students’ specific circumstances.

Academic Dishonesty
One concern raised by faculty pertains to academic dishonesty. The generative and unique abilities of Chat GPT, BARD and other related tools, such as creating research papers and other textual content, have led to concerns about how faculty can ensure courses and related material facilitate authentic student learning. Faculty members might lean away from what may be considered ‘policing’ students, and lean into the opportunity for students to learn while using technological advancements.

Research & Creativity
AI image and video technologies, including DALL-E, Midjourney, Runway, and Firefly, have ushered in a new era where faculty and students can generate visual content that mimics specific styles or art movements. Many faculty members have recognized that such unprecedented technology may offer new opportunities for research, creative projects, and assignments that were previously impossible.

Like their counterparts in the CCCs, LTCC faculty members have initiated important discussions about the potential effects of AI on teaching and professional life. Ironically, in terms of the fears expressed by many faculty members regarding AI, Chat GPT itself perhaps best summed it up by stating, “It’s important to note that while AI has the potential to enhance classroom teaching, it should not replace human teachers. Teachers play a crucial role in guiding students, providing mentorship, and creating a supportive learning environment. AI should be seen as a tool to augment and enhance their instructional practices, rather than replace them.”

In collaboration with Scott A. Lukas, Professor of Anthropology and Sociology, Lake Tahoe Community College.

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