UPM shifting to AI, big data in teaching

Universiti Putra Malaysia is reviewing its courses to ensure minimal face-to-face interaction.

PETALING JAYA: Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) is undergoing a shift towards using artificial intelligence and big data in teaching, according to the chairman of its board of directors, Ghauth Jasmon.

The change would be part of an education revolution sped up by the Covid-19 crisis and inspired by the new trend of online teaching, he told FMT.

Ghauth said the university in Serdang was reviewing its courses to ensure minimal face-to-face interaction.

“For students of the sciences, medicine and engineering, we can use videos containing a wealth of knowledge from other universities,” he said.

He said some students might be required to be physically present at the university, but only for lab classes.

Ghauth also said he would be pushing for the use of robots to teach potentially millions of students.

He said the revolution in education would eventually see a reduction in the cost of university education and the loss of jobs for many lecturers although there would be hiring of academicians for research and development.

The nature of examinations would also change, with students undergoing open book exams, he said.

“Exams can be conducted anywhere. Students will no longer be required to go to examination halls.”

Ghauth said open book exams meant that the emphasis would be on the application of knowledge, requiring students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers, the kind of people sought after by employers.

“Bosses may not even need people with higher degrees but rather those with skills to find practical solutions,” he said.

He said the changes in education should also take place in primary and secondary schools and pupils should be taught problem solving instead of just base subjects.

This was what was already happening in schools in Scandinavia, he added.

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