UK’s top universities agree on AI principles in education

The Russell Group, an association of leading universities in the UK, agrees on a new set of principles to ensure that students and staff are “AI literate.”

The new policy was backed by all 24 research-intensive universities belonging to the Russell Group, including world-famous institutions like Cambridge and Oxford.

It was signed by the universities’ vice chancellors and developed in partnership with AI and educational experts.

The statement of principles said it will help to “capitalize on the opportunities technological breakthroughs provide for teaching and learning.”

It will also shape institution and course-level work to support the “ethical and responsible” use of generative AI like ChatGPT, it said.

The five key principles highlighted in the statement include:

  • Universities will support students and staff to become AI-literate.
  • Staff should be equipped to support students to use generative AI tools effectively and appropriately in their learning experience.
  • Universities will adapt teaching and assessment to incorporate the ethical use of generative AI and support equal access.
  • Universities will ensure academic rigor and integrity are upheld.
  • Universities will work collaboratively to share best practice as the technology and its application in education evolves.

This approach is a step away from the initial bans of generative AI technology at some educational institutions amid concerns about plagiarism and misinformation.

The new principles were adopted shortly after the UK government launched a consultation on the use of generative AI in education and will seek to leverage both the risks and opportunities that come with it.

"The transformative opportunity provided by AI is enormous, and our universities are determined to seize it,” Chief Executive of the Russell Group, Dr Tim Bradshaw, said.

“AI breakthroughs are already changing the way we work and it's crucial that students get the new skills they need to build a fulfilling career,” he said.

“University staff also need support as they look at how AI can be used to enhance their teaching and help bring subjects to life.”

Bradshaw added, “It’s in everyone’s interests that AI choices in education are taken on the basis of clearly understood values.”

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