E-learning modules for lecturers and students on impact of GenAI in higher education

by Emma Wiersma, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Just before the summer break in 2023, lecturers at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) expressed the need for an e-learning module for their students on the responsible use of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) in higher education. This was because even though UvA policy does not allow students and lecturers to use GenAI tools such as ChatGPT for teaching and assessment purposes due to privacy and security issues, many students are using it, without knowing exactly how it works and what its limitations are.

Our team at the Teaching & Learning Centre (TLC) Science, located at the UvA Faculty of Science, responded to this request and we launched an e-learning module for all UvA students in September 2023. This interactive English e-learning module consists of texts, knowledge clips with dr. Jelle Zuidema (associate professor in Natural Language Processing, Explainable AI and Cognitive Modelling), and short quizzes. It explains what ChatGPT is and how GenAI and Large Language Models (LLMs) work, it provides an overview of the limitations and ethical issues surrounding GenAI, and it offers tips for using GenAI responsibly in education. It takes students about 45-60 minutes to complete the e-learning module. You can visit it here.

This February, we launched a second e-learning module, this time aimed at lecturers and teaching assistants who want to learn more about the impact of GenAI on their teaching. In addition to the information from the first e-learning module, it also includes recommendations for assessment, use cases from lecturers who have adapted their course design or assessment due to GenAI, examples of AI guidelines, tips & tricks for prompt engineering, and lots of additional resources. This e-module takes about 2 hours to complete. You can visit it here.

Pilot project on using GenAI in higher education

These e-learning modules can come in handy during a new pilot project at the Faculty of Science in which GenAI, specifically ChatGPT, is integrated into the teaching process. The aim is to effectively deploy ChatGPT in teaching, enhancing student learning and enriching the educational experience.

In this pilot project, which will run for a year, a select number of courses within the Faculty of Science is allowed to use ChatGPT via Microsoft Azure. This approach not only ensures user security and privacy by using a shielded cloud environment, but also ensures seamless integration of this cutting-edge technology into teaching practices. This strategic choice adequately addresses data and privacy concerns, which is essential for applying these tools in a university setting.

Especially within the Faculty of Science, there is a lot of knowledge about these tools and their application possibilities. By integrating this knowledge within this project, the faculty is working on educational innovation, exploring the possibilities of artificial intelligence to shape the education of the future.

More information

More information on the impact of AI on teaching can be found here on the TLC website.


Emma Wiersma, Educational Innovator & Advisor Blended Learning, Teaching & Learning Centre Science, University of Amsterdam (UvA), The Netherlands