The theme for FOCI-XXIV was “Collaboration of Wits and Wires: Unlocking the Opportunities of AI in Curriculum Development.” The forum explored the perceived benefits of using AI in curriculum design; focused on changing needs & roles of teachers, curriculum developers, other stakeholders; investigated new approaches to learning and sought ways of employing AI in developing the curriculum of the Preparatory Programs while addressing ethical considerations such as AI biases & limitations, transparency & accountability and stakeholder concerns. To this end, the forum examined the following questions:

-    How can AI be used by curriculum developers?
-    What are the ethical considerations related to the use of AI?
-    How will the curriculum itself change because of AI?

Participants in focus groups engaged in discussions and exchanged ideas related to the pre-focus group task; addressed as many of the aspects above as possible, with the freedom to prioritize certain ones; viewed the issues from the perspective of their respective groups and incorporated ideas from the discussion into a written report. Focus group discussions on the first day lent themselves to a whole-group discussion where participants from each focus group shared their findings and insights on the next day. Below are some of the highlights from the focus group and whole-group discussions:

Curriculum Development: Institutions should place particular emphasis on AI literacy. Teachers and students need training to be able to use AI tools effectively and responsibly. We are at a time where we need to reconsider the roles of the curriculum team. We are more likely to revise, check and adapt rather than produce from scratch. AI can also be included in program evaluation and needs assessment in the preparation of tools. This will dramatically reduce the amount of time curriculum team spends on course design. 

Materials Development
A wide array of AI tools is now available for material development. Creating tailor-made materials is no longer a struggle as it seems now. Teachers can benefit from all kinds of AI tools in material development. Manipulating existing texts depending of students’ needs and level, preparation of authentic audios, generating images regarding content, creating tasks using videos has become widespread among all participants. The need to change the way we look at and assess written work, namely, “the essay” has also been highlighted. We might need to make changes in assessment criteria, making additions to writing rubrics (inclusion of AI), resorting to formative assessment if required. When giving feedback, teachers can now focus more on content, organization and idea development while delegating the feedback for grammar and vocabulary to AI.

AI Biases: It is quite convenient for curriculum teams and teachers alike to leverage AI to identify and address biases in materials just as long as they are aware of the biased content which might be produced by AI. There needs to be a continuous monitoring of AI-produced content by humans considering ethical and pedagogical principles. Regarding transparency and accountability, institutions should put forward strict guidelines about AI use in academia to save academic integrity and values. The importance of human touch has also been highlighted to ensure ethical use of AI. 

Opportunities & New Approaches: Integration of AI technologies in educational settings has opened up new possibilities for enhancing innovative aspects of language teaching processes. Multimodal learning experiences require innovative and non-conventional teaching methods. We are likely to hear more about methods such as “Individualized/Self-regulated Learning “, “AI Informed Method”, “Adaptive Learning” in the near future. 

Given the nature of AI as an emerging technology, a lot of the discussion points raised more questions than answers. Below are some questions that remain unanswered along with the concerns that need to be addressed:

-    How can we evaluate the quality and suitability of AI-generated content for our curriculum and materials? What criteria and standards should we use?
-    Is AI an opportunity for us to “break free” from the publishers given that in-house materials are now so much easier to produce?
-    Feeding AI with course objectives, rubrics, any assessment criteria or student work for that matter might be a violation of privacy and lead to copyright issues.
-    Where we draw the line between over-reliance and responsible use of AI remains as an ongoing concern.

Please go to this link for more information about FOCI-XXIV.

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