Ole Miss faculty take the lead on Artificial Intelligence use

Published 11:00 am Saturday, March 9, 2024

By Colleen Sewell

Ole Miss Journalism Student


Across the country, universities are creating policies to guide the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on campus.

The University of Mississippi doesn’t have an official policy regarding its use, instead the decision has been left to professors to decide how or if students can use the technology to complete their assignments.

Professor Brad Conaway teaches social media and digital marketing classes in the School of Journalism and New Media. He is taking full advantage of what AI can offer, having his students use it as they would on the job.

“I want you to be able to take an idea, get that text from AI, and convert it to something that people want to actually read that sounds like what a human can do,” Conaway said.

AI tools, such as ChatGPT and text-to-video translators, are used regularly in the communications fields, and Conaway said he wants students in his classes to be prepared for that work.

However, Ole Miss student Campbell Holmes said she has not had any other professors who take Conaway’s approach to AI.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a professor be like, ‘You can use it.’ It’s definitely in the syllabus – no AI, none of that,” Campbell said.

According to an Educause survey, many employees at universities across the country have said they now have new responsibilities related to AI.  Those most affected are executives (69 percent), staff (46 percent), and faculty members (39 percent).

Ole Miss has been creating opportunities for faculty to learn more about AI technology. In January, the university offered a series of AI workshops for faculty to learn about incorporating generative AI into their courses.

Conaway is already ahead of the game. He wants students to learn how to use AI tools to improve their work.

“When you think about the creativity that can go into the prompt and how that actually shows up, that’s where the magic is,” Conaway said.