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University of London wins 2023 Gartner Innovation Award for AI Teaching Assistant

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The University of London has won the prestigious 2023 Gartner Eye on Innovation Award for Education (Enhancing teaching and Learning Quality) for our piloting of an AI Teaching Assistant.

Walter - Gartner image

The Eye on Innovation Awards recognise innovative uses of technology and highlight best-in-class results in the education sector. All submissions are assessed by Gartner, with the winners selected by benchmarking against world-class performance across several education categories.

The AI Teaching Assistant, which is a collaboration with Noodle Factory, is currently being trialled by the university on our Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes. Directly integrated into our learning platform, it answers academic questions from students in real-time by providing responses based on course material that has been previously supplied to the software. 

Using the uploaded teaching materials, the AI Teaching Assistant can also create and mark formative assessments to test student knowledge and recommend lesson plans and educational content to meet individual learning needs.

The conversational feature also allows students to engage in discussions with the AI, asking questions and receiving answers in a format similar to chatbots such as ChatGPT. However, unlike more generalised chatbots, the AI Teaching Assistant provides accurate, up-to-date and ethically guided answers by relying on the meticulously curated course information.

While not replacing human teaching staff, the AI Teaching Assistant aims to bridge gaps in tutor availability and supplement learning through personalised, instant academic support.

Tim Hall, Senior Manager: Product Innovation at the University of London, said: “I can’t overstate how much of a team effort this pilot has been. We've been hugely fortunate to work with colleagues from across the organisation and beyond who've been so generous with their time. We've learned a tremendous amount that can inform our plans around the use of Generative AI. We’ll be sharing further insights later this year, so keep an eye out!”

Sam Brenton, Director of Online Education, said: 

We’re experimenting a lot with generative AI—to support student learning, to augment academic practice, to assist human experts with designing and developing our global online degrees, as well as thinking through the implications for assessment. These are very early days, but it’s exhilarating to see initiatives like this exploring practice at the frontier of this rapidly evolving technology. Our guiding light across all these initiatives is always to focus squarely on developing and supporting student learning. We’re excited about where it all may lead, and are eager to focus on the opportunities that Gen AI presents for education as well as the risks. Congratulations to everyone involved in this project.

With thanks to Jonathon Thomas, Associate Director, Learning Design and Production, Catherine Luck, Senior Learning Designer; Patricia McKeller, Dean Of UG Laws; Charlotte Crilly, Teaching Fellow for UG Laws; ;  Vanessa Skiadelli, Senior Learning Technologist; Professor Helen Xanthaki, Programme Director; Joanne Tapper, International LLM Programme Officer; Julia Leong Son, Associate Director Product Innovation and Academic Engagement; Liz Nelson, Student Voice Group member; Ollie Hodgkins, Senior Video Producer; Tajinder Dhami, Graphic and Motion Designer; Oscar Mwaanga, Programme Director; Georgi Ivanov, Programme Director; The Online Library Team; The Student Voice Group; Yvonne Soh & Jim Wagstaff at Noodle Factory… and everyone else who showed an interest in the project.