Addressing the Barriers to Strategic Use of Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education

Kingston, Jamaica - February 1, 2024 - Mr. Otis Osbourne, Head of the Department of Information Technology at the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC) provided practical solutions to address the challenges in using artificial intelligence to advance effective tertiary level engagement. Mr. Osbourne was speaking at a panel discussion on “Higher Education Repositioned in the Digital Space - Harnessing Technology”.  The panel discussion was one of the plenary sessions organised by the Ministry of Education & Youth, Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC) at the third staging of the National Forum for Innovations in Teaching (FIT) held at the National Arena from January 25 -27, 2024 under the theme “Celebrating Achievements and Re-imagining Education for the 21st Society and Labour Force”. The Forum comprised panel discussions, exhibits and an awards ceremony aimed at recognising and celebrating excellence in the teaching profession and helping stakeholders to re-imagine education in the 21st century.

The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Junior Martin, Head of the TVET Unit, University of Technology and the two other presenters were: Professor Marvin Reid, Actg. Deputy Principal, University of the West Indies and Ms. Maya Walrond, Chair - Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica’s Human Capital Committee.

Speaking from his experience developing, facilitating and lecturing degree programmes in information technology, data science, cyber-security and artificial intelligence at the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC), Mr. Osbourne recommended four main steps to mitigate the barriers of using artificial intelligence to enhance tertiary level education:-

(i)   ensuring an ethical framework and responsible practices are in place;

(ii)  investing in cloud computing infrastructure and resources;

(iii) building human resources capacity in AI by hiring faculty and staff with these disciplines and conducting intentional training and workshops, and

(iv) collaborating with academic institutions and tech companies for research and development.

The University of the Commonwealth Caribbean offers an associate and undergraduate degree in information technology and undergraduate degrees in other related areas such as computer engineering, data science and cyber security and networking. This spring, new associate and undergraduate degree programmes were launched in artificial intelligence and a graduate degree programme in cyber security and data privacy protection. As Mr. Otis Osbourne stated, “A keen understanding of the barriers to the strategic and sustainable integration and use of AI in higher education should redound to institutions realising the transformational potential of AI in enhancing educational experiences”.

Read more: The Gleaner Jamaica