2024 Educause Horizon Report highlights AI impacts, cybersecurity concerns | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

Colleges and universities need to find uses for artificial intelligence-enabled technology and support fluency around AI technology, higher education experts recommended in the 2024 Educause Horizon Report.

This was the first year that the annual report from Educause included an honorary category related to AI trends, which include insights in how the technology is shaping the future of critical thinking and its impact on the workforce. Outside of AI, experts who were involved with the report flagged that cybersecurity concerns are on the rise and that the digital divide persists among students, particularly those in rural, low-income and marginalized communities.

“In the denouement of the COVID-19 pandemic, talk of a return to ‘normalcy’ in higher education belies the great challenges and ongoing disruptions that yet lie ahead for many institutions,” the report reads. “Data and analytics capabilities continue to evolve, introducing new opportunities and new risks to the institution. Chief among these capabilities, generative AI promises to change teaching and learning in ways many of us have yet to fully understand or prepare for.”

While many colleges and universities have seen an increase in cyberattacks in recent years, these security concerns are exacerbated as student demand for learning anytime, anywhere grows, according to the report. In an effort to respond to these risks, the experts in the report anticipate that campuses will implement more cybersecurity and privacy awareness training for students, faculty and staff, which could be frustrating and impact productivity.

Though the pandemic increased global connectivity, many students still do not have reliable access to the internet or devices to access the internet, which can be integral for their success in class, the report said. As a result, the report suggests that universities and colleges loan devices to students and partner with local governments or other organizations to expand internet access.

“Moving forward, institutions need not only to find ways to provide access to devices and networks but, more importantly, to train and support their faculty and instructional designers to be able to help students navigate digital learning,” the report reads. “Colleges and universities must invest in and develop curriculum on digital literacy, focusing on the critical-thinking skills that students will need to use technology effectively and responsibly.”

The report found that AI is impacting the economy and the workforce in both positive and negative ways. In anticipation of these challenges, the report recommends that professors teach digital literacy skills and help them assess career pathways based on workforce changes related to AI.

With the emergence of platforms like ChatGPT, there has been great concern on campuses around the use of generative AI in the classroom, the report says. But as these tools become more sophisticated, there are more ways for these technologies to impact the landscape of teaching, learning and the student experience.

“As these technologies continue to change and as adoption increases, higher education institutions will have to regularly update their recommendations and guidelines regarding the use of such technologies, paying close attention to proposed government policies that may be implemented in the near future,” the report said. “Institutions can also help their faculty and students be more mindful and responsible users by providing digital literacy training and resources by finding ways to leverage AI to enhance pedagogical experiences and student outcomes.”

Written by Skylar Rispens

Skylar Rispens is a reporter for StateScoop and EdScoop. She previously worked as a reporter specializing in education coverage for daily and weekly newspapers across Montana, where she currently resides.


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