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### Embracing AI for Learning: Award-Winning Jacques Safari Mwayaona G’22 Proceeds with Caution

Jacques Safari Mwayaona

Utilizing his expertise in instructional design alongside a deep comprehension of diversity and inclusion, Universal Design for Learning, and artificial intelligence (AI), Jacques Safari Mwayaona G’22 is establishing a reputation in the realm of educational development.

As a Faculty Development Fellow at the University’s Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE) and an alumnus of the School of Education, Mwayaona recently garnered dual accolades from The Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education. He was also a featured presenter at two sessions focusing on student-faculty collaborations during the November 2023 POD Conference held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Promoting Inclusivity

Mwayaona’s initial recognition is the [DEI Award], honoring educational development professionals for their dedication to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in educational practices. This award acknowledges their efforts in integrating DEI principles into teaching methodologies.

In a humble gesture, Mwayaona proposed that his second award, a Graduate Student, Professional Student, and Postdoctoral Scholar Development (GPPD) [Fellowship], be passed on to another deserving recipient. However, a compromise was reached where Mwayaona retained the award while the associated benefits were redirected to a new recipient. This decision allows Mwayaona to mentor future GPPD awardees, ensuring a lasting impact.

Recognizing Mwayaona’s contributions to CTLE in facilitating student engagement in the learning process, the POD Network awards committees commended his efforts in fostering faculty-student partnerships to empower students in sharing their perspectives. This initiative, known as [Include Everyone], emphasizes the importance of student involvement in the knowledge creation process, enabling them to contribute actively to their learning experiences. By encouraging a collaborative approach in the classroom, Mwayaona advocates for a more inclusive and diverse educational environment where every student’s voice is valued.

Embracing Innovation

Reflecting on his educational background in instructional design, Mwayaona credits it as a solid foundation for his career in educational development, enabling him to leverage technology effectively to enhance learning outcomes.

The emergence of AI represents a significant technological advancement in education, with Mwayaona and his colleagues at CTLE spearheading initiatives to introduce AI tools to faculty members. By promoting the integration of AI while ensuring the preservation of the learning process, Mwayaona aims to alleviate concerns and misconceptions surrounding AI adoption in academia.

While acknowledging the initial apprehension towards AI due to a lack of understanding and sensationalized media coverage, Mwayaona emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinary dialogues to demystify AI and alleviate anxieties among educators. He highlights the versatility of AI in catering to diverse learning domains and underscores the need for educators to prioritize learning objectives and student-centric approaches over solely focusing on outcomes.

Furthermore, Mwayaona advocates for leveraging AI as a catalyst for inquiry and critical thinking rather than viewing it as a solution in itself. By encouraging students to engage with AI-generated content as a springboard for independent thought and analysis, Mwayaona emphasizes the role of educators in guiding students towards developing their unique perspectives.

Balancing Innovation with Responsibility

In addition to his exploration of AI’s educational applications, Mwayaona underscores the potential of AI in advancing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles. By harnessing AI to personalize learning experiences based on individual needs and preferences, educators can cater to diverse learning styles effectively.

However, Mwayaona cautions against overreliance on AI, emphasizing the importance of establishing safeguards to prevent potential harm to students. Acknowledging AI’s inherent biases stemming from training data, Mwayaona stresses the necessity of meticulous data curation and oversight to mitigate bias in AI algorithms.

In conclusion, Mwayaona advocates for a balanced approach to AI integration in education, where the benefits of AI are maximized while ensuring ethical considerations and student well-being are prioritized. By fostering a culture of responsible AI usage and continuous learning, Mwayaona envisions a future where technology complements and enhances the educational experience.

To learn more about the School of Education’s initiatives or to engage with Professor Moon-Heum Cho, please visit [School of Education] or contact [Professor Moon-Heum Cho] at [email] or [phone number].