The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

UI asks students to fill out survey on artificial intelligence use

The surveys asked questions about AI use in courses and how instructors informed students of policies on AI practices.
Photo contributed by Angie Cochran

The University of Iowa sent out a survey on artificial intelligence on Nov. 28 to students and faculty to gauge the use of AI at the university.

Questions included how much guidance instructors have given to students regarding AI and the use of AI as well as students’ and faculty’s feelings, opinions, and forms of AI utilization.

The survey then goes on to ask basic questions such as which college the respondents reside in and whether they are undergraduate, graduate, or faculty members.

Students and faculty received separate surveys, each for a different purpose.

Tanya Uden-Holman, associate provost at the University of Iowa, said the survey was arranged by the Academic AI committee to gather input from faculty and students on their perception of AI.

The primary goal for the faculty survey, Uden-Holman said, was to understand better faculty perceptions regarding how AI tools can support teaching, the AI tools they’re currently using or plan to use in their courses, and what resources would be most beneficial to them.

The survey asks students questions to learn on the guidance and technologies students are receiving from instructors regarding AI use in classes.

“We’re hopeful that feedback from the survey will help the university further develop and refine the guidance, tools, and resources we are providing to students and instructors,” Uden-Holman said.

Uden-Holman said the results could also assist colleges, departments, or individual instructors in considering additional ways to incorporate AI-related tools and technologies into courses.

Steven Fleagle, associate vice president and chief information officer of information technology Services, said the general definition of AI is the simulation of some aspects of human intelligence through the use of natural language processing, computer vision, data science, and machine learning.

From the AI Committee’s interactions with students, Fleagle said the most common forms of AI students use are generative AI and codedevelopment tools.

“One purpose of this survey is to better understand what tools are being used by students. We are very interested to know what tools are, or aren’t, valuable to students,” Fleagle said.

Fleagle said though the survey is focused on the use of AI in courses, some of the results may apply to other AI use cases as well and could be included in the general guidance of campus.

Uden-Holman said the Tippie College of Business has used generative AI in their courses such as their business communication class.

In our guidance to instructors, we’ve tried to stress the importance of setting clear expectations with their class about how and when AI may be used,” Uden-Holman said.

RELATED: Navigating the surge of artificial intelligence in higher education

Uden-Holman said because generative AI will be part of student’s academic and professional lives, they need to understand how it may be utilized in their future careers and when it is appropriate and not appropriate to use.

Fleagle said the Academic AI committee has worked to provide guidance on the negatives and positives of AI, including what the Academic AI committee is and what it does, guidelines for instructors, and secure and ethical guidelines for AI.

He predicted this technology will have a significant impact in the coming years.

“We already see hints of that as researchers have been able to produce more accurate weather models, find new compounds, or increase the productivity of office workers,” Fleagle said.

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About the Contributor
Shreya Reddy, News Reporter
Shreya Reddy is a freshman at the University of Iowa. Coming from a small town in Kansas, Shreya is double majoring in English and Political Science on the Pre-Law track. Before coming to the Daily Iowan, she has written for her neighborhood magazine and her schools literary magazine as well as writing an investigative journalism piece.