Live Chat Now
Give us a call

Send us a text



The Emerging Role of AI in Higher Education

By DeVry University

The information presented here is true and accurate as of the date of publication. DeVry’s programmatic offerings and their accreditations are subject to change. Please refer to the current academic catalog for details.


April 23, 2024

9 min read

When the generative AI program ChatGPT was introduced, it was seen as a disruptive force. Within weeks of the launch, educators grew more and more concerned over the technology’s potential to be used as a cheating tool. On the flip side, educators were discovering there were far more positive ways that AI could be leveraged for education. 

In this article, we will explore the positive role of AI in higher education and explore if emerging technologies like ChatGPT and other generative AI applications have the potential to be a game-changer in higher education like it has been in the workplace.  

AI and Emerging Technologies

The concept of artificial intelligence and its big data methodologies has been around for a few decades. OpenAI, the venture behind the popular chatbot ChatGPT, was founded in 2015 by tech industry moguls who founded a brain trust in the AI-related areas of machine learning, AI research and reinforcement learning. After shifting from a nonprofit foundation to a for-profit company, Microsoft invested $1 billion in the venture and secured various licensing rights to its technologies. 

OpenAI’s flagship product, ChatGPT (the GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is a series of generative AI chatbots with the ability to generate text, recognize and generate images and engage in humanlike voice conversations. OpenAI monetizes ChatGPT by charging developers to access its application programming interfaces (APIs) with paid subscriptions. Who is using it? In January 2024, the chatbot chalked up over 100 million active weekly users and at least 92% of Fortune 500 companies. 

Machine learning (ML) is the subset of AI that enables generative AI programs do what they do best. Among the many branches of the AI tree, ML is the science of developing algorithms and statistical models that systems use to perform complex tasks without being explicitly programmed to do so. As an example of the use of artificial intelligence in higher education, when a generative AI application like ChatGPT is asked to write content for a term paper, it’s the ML algorithms that enable it to process massive quantities of historical data and identify patterns in that data. 

AI technologies enable a number of advantages in fields related to higher education. For example, medical research uses AI to streamline processes, automate repetitive tasks and process massive amounts of data. One of the challenges in AI implementation is the requirement for a robust computing infrastructure with substantial processing power, which can be costly.  

Artificial Intelligence’s Role in Higher Education

AI has the potential to do a lot of good in higher ed in a few key areas. It may take some time for overworked and under resourced educators to adopt the technology in meaningful ways, but the conversation around AI has become much more positive and looks to be gaining traction. Educators hope that with the adoption of AI, they can move their focus where it belongs, on their students.

A personalized approach

Higher education institutions are using AI technologies in a number of ways to personalize student learning and change the way students interact with course material. Some are using virtual tutors to answer students’ questions in online forums and provide 24/7 tutoring assistance, while others are utilizing AI as personal teaching assistants, striving to help students with math, coding and interactive writing.

AI may also have the potential to help students with learning difficulties, such as ADHD, autism or dyslexia. AI tools and their ability to detect patterns could help universities make assignments and exams more accessible to all students.   

As AI technology is introduced to consumer and business markets in the form of ChatGPT, Google’s Gemini and Microsoft’s Bing Chat, many teachers see AI in higher education as a game-changer. They are not only able to mitigate the AI-assisted cheating using plagiarism-checking tools like ZeroGPT, GPTRadar and Winston AI, but they’re able to use AI tools to develop lesson plans based on student learning patterns, reconfigure writing processes and generate content, and teach their students about the potential of generative AI for their approved use as well. 

Research support

Research is another potential growth area for AI in higher education, in vital areas like academic and scientific research and grant writing

In academic environments, an AI research assistant can summarize key information in research papers, conduct literature reviews and make the overall process more efficient. AI-powered tools can substantially reduce research time, mining information from innumerable PDFs based on researchers’ semantic questions and analyzing citations in depth.  

In scientific writing and editing, AI tools are adding a high level of precision and efficiency. 

AI tools are also making grant writing easier. They can help institutions and their researchers secure research grant funding with algorithms that simplify and streamline the process of applying for and managing them. 

Administrative support

There’s also discussion about whether AI can streamline administrative functions across multiple departments like admissions, financial aid, marketing, career services and others, which may help reduce overall costs and help administrators do their jobs with more ease.

Another application for AI in higher education is recruitment and retention. With AI, admissions personnel can use predictive analytics to identify prospective students who are most likely to enroll. AI can also be used to assist in various aspects of the college experience like academic advising. Chatbots, with their round the clock availability, could assist students with concerns about financial aid, academic advising or questions they may have.   

Explore AI-Integrated Courses and Programs at DeVry

For over 90 years, DeVry has been enabling students with tech-forward skills, building the foundation for a higher education experience where technological change is infused into all our courses and hands-on, experiential learning opportunities. 

You can explore how we’re integrating AI topics and tools to develop essential, foundational skills within a variety of courses and programs. Learn more about our Undergraduate Certificate in Engineering Technology, our Associate Degree in Engineering Technology and our Bachelor’s Degree in Software Development programs as you consider how to upgrade your career with the types of skills expected in the evolving workplace of the future. 

With a mission to empower the next generation of AI leaders, we created DeVry's AI Resource Center which presents an array of tools, software, and hardware that are provided to students to explore the future of AI. Our programs will continue to progress technologically as Artificial Intelligence does.

8-Week Class Sessions

Classes Start Every 8 Weeks

Filter Blog Post Category

Related Posts