Transforming the Future of Education with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Last week, Humber welcomed Alex Coqueiro, Director of the Public Sector Solutions Architect team at Amazon Web Services (AWS), to share and explore the opportunities presented by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to the future of post-secondary education.

Humber’s strategic partnership with Amazon began in 2019 with the objective of collaborating to transform the student and campus experience. Through the partnership, Humber’s IT infrastructure has been modernized, new program options have been added and Humber’s digital capabilities have been enhanced. The relationship supports the college’s Digital Campus and Academic Plans and addresses skills gap issues.

Transforming higher education using AI and ML has the potential to impact student retention, foster diversity, and to advance positive student outcomes. Post-secondary institutions have begun to use AI and ML to predict student outcomes and create early interventions to support learning completion.

The new Academic and Digital Campus Plans, released last fall, were developed jointly, reflecting the interconnection between Humber’s academic mission and technology.

A cornerstone of both plans is developing the digital fluency of our students, faculty and staff so they can engage in digital innovation to continuously improve the student and employee experience and participate effectively, ethically, and equitably in a digitally enhanced learning and work environment. Inviting experts to campus for the Humber community to gain exposure to capacity building opportunities, such as learning about machine learning and how it can be leveraged at Humber is an example of how we are building digital fluency.

The Academic Plan embraces technological advances, including AI and ML, that will continue to influence higher education through curriculum and flexible and personalized program delivery. The intersection of AI and machine learning with teaching and learning is an evolving landscape and one which requires us to work together to identify the impacts and navigate how we move forward effectively as a polytechnic institution.

Integrating technology tools in the AI and ML space directly with student curriculum builds student capacity and equips a broad range of learners to use these skill sets in the current and next generation of careers. Humber has recently launched graduate certificates in several related areas, including Artificial Intelligence with Machine Learning, Business Insights and Analytics, and Cloud Computing.  We also know that AI/ML is applicable to other program areas and we want to ensure that opportunities to continue to build capacity in AI/ML is inclusive and open to all.

Priority 3 of the Academic Plan is about empowering teaching and learning at Humber and features opportunities for faculty and staff to undertake projects that advance teaching and learning innovation. So many ideas around AI/ML and teaching and learning were sparked during the discussion between AWS and Academic Division faculty and staff during Alex’s visit last week, and I look forward to receiving related project proposals when Priority 3 formally launches this spring.

Humber’s relationship with AWS will continue to enable us to learn, grow and collaborate to transform the student and campus experience.

I am excited to explore the possibilities of AI and ML as we look to the future of education and where Humber can lead. A data-informed institution puts AI and ML in the hands of everyone and works towards building our vision for the Humber of tomorrow.

Signature of Gina