GSB Student Voices Panel on Exploring AI: Event Highlights

How are the leaders of tomorrow adapting to the AI revolution? GSB students are at the forefront, pioneering AI’s application in their studies and future careers. 

At the Student Voices panel on AI in the classroom on April 2, 2024, five GSB students shared their perspectives in a conversation facilitated by Faculty AI Committee members Mohsen Bayati and Gabriel Weintraub. Student panelists shared their insights on practical AI applications for coursework, integrating AI into the curriculum, and the limitations of using AI for learning. Visit the Student Voices on AI event page to view the recording (SUNet required) and read on for takeaways from the event.

Five Top Takeaways

The AI wave is coming!

Students are excited and motivated to engage with AI tools and topics in their courses. They see the relevance of AI tools for their future roles after graduating from the GSB.

AI tools will change how students interact with course material — and we can leverage this for the better.

Students gave examples of how AI tools can help them improve their learning. Students can use AI tools to…

Engage with course readings and case studies, by asking questions and exploring the arguments with an AI tool instead of skimming and summarizing.

Student quote: “A lot of students are using AI tools to digest information…[Without AI tools,] we might skim a long text, taking 5 minutes to read the topic sentence for each paragraph. [With ChatGPT,] we can upload the PDF and ask questions. Using AI can help us engage with the content more deeply.”

Prepare for class discussion without replacing the need for students to learn engaged and responsive discussion skills.

Student quote: “AI can help us come up with potential talking points when we prepare for class. But AI can’t replace high-quality participation, which is the students’ ability to respond to and to build on other people’s comments instead of speaking for the sake of speaking.”

Fill in skill gaps, so they can focus on higher-order thinking. Examples include:

  • The use of AI code generators, when the learning goal is to dive into issues illuminated by data rather than perfecting code syntax.
  • The use of AI-generated video when the learning goal is to explore a new communication strategy rather than becoming an expert in video production.

Students value high-quality, individualized feedback from GSB instructors.

Students care about personal interactions with GSB instructors and highly value their feedback over AI-generated evaluations.

Students made a key differentiation between receiving AI-generated ‘on-demand’ assignment feedback for straightforward knowledge-based queries and learning from rich, high-quality feedback where faculty engage directly with student responses on more profound or complex coursework.

Student quote: “[An important part of the process of working on an assignment and getting feedback] is the relationship the student builds with the faculty member…In courses where I’ve been able to build a really good connection with the faculty member, it was by working through the assignments and then following up with them. If those faculty members had used AI to grade my assignment, they probably wouldn’t have gotten a sense of how I was going about solving the problem, and those conversations may not have been as fruitful.”

Students want to learn about AI applications and AI limitations.

Students are interested in learning about AI applications in fields related to the course topic, especially how to leverage AI in ways that may not be obvious. If AI applications can be productively used for their coursework, students find it helpful when instructors clarify or demonstrate how this can be done.

Students are cognizant of and want to explore the limitations of AI (e.g., privacy concerns, hallucinations, what kinds of tasks AI tools can or can’t do well).

Learning objectives matter for AI policies.

Students want to hear how AI policies align with learning objectives so they can maximize their learning efficiently.

Student quote: “[When thinking about how courses should approach allowing the use of AI tools,] it really depends on the learning objective. Is the learning objective to know how to do long division, or to know how to get the answer? Or both? If a professor were to bring this up on the first day and say, ‘These are my learning objectives. Here’s my AI policy. Here’s why I made the AI policy what it is in light of the learning objectives.’ — that would be exciting.”

How are GSB students already using AI?

Students report exploring or engaging with AI tools for…

  • Summarizing material (developing key takeaways, asking questions about a reading, etc.)
  • Creative tasks (generating visuals, writing a children’s story, etc.)
  • Writing support 
    • Generating or brainstorming ideas ahead of writing (i.e. using AI to overcome writer’s block, brainstorming, or having a thought partner)
    • Using AI to refine the writing after first developing their own outlines, reflections, or ideas (i.e. as a writing mechanics assistant)
  • On-demand feedback (i.e., to check whether an answer they’ve developed is correct or needs improvement)
  • Information search (e.g., Perplexity.AI)
  • Generating code (e.g., GitHub CoPilot)
  • Meeting notes (e.g., Otter.AI)

Students report that AI tools aren’t as helpful for…

  • Highly specific or sensitive contexts, such as crisis communications, assignments dealing with confidential information, or reacting to events happening in class
  • Reflection activities in which the goal is the process of personal reflection and growth
  • High-quality in-class participation in which students are asked to respond in conversation, rather than simply contribute their individual ideas

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