Knowledge Sharing

Embracing and overcoming AI implementation in the UK Higher Education setting

Academics from Sheffield Business School continue the Dynamic Conversation with a presentation on how to navigate barriers to AI implementation in higher education.

17th May 2024
Knowledge Sharing AI

Generative AI champions: Navigating the transformative landscape of learning

24th April 2024


Dr Madeleine Stevens CMBE

Reader in Organisational Transformation and Teaching Innovation, Liverpool John Moores University

This discussion centres on innovating ethical practices via the integration of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) within classrooms, promoting digital learning, and embracing contemporary technology responsibly.

This project took place in 2023 with my Masters HR cohort of 22 students, as preparation for their Research Methods assignment at Liverpool Business School as part of the MA in Strategic People Management and Practice.

In our contemporary society, AI and chatbots are omnipresent. The introduction of ChatGPT and DALL-E for example, has significantly disrupted higher education (Bozkurt et al., 2023) and caused controversy in regards to regulation, ethics, trust, value add, and the transformation of teaching and learning (Bond et al., 2024). Our university has articulated a firm position regarding students incorporating GAI in their assignments, emphasising that violations of this policy may lead to academic misconduct. I advocate for a perspective that encourages higher education institutions to emphasise the positive aspects and advantages of integrating AI, showcasing how it can enhance students' learning experiences and education. Subsequently, the use of  GAI was encouraged by me, within the parameters set by the university policy.

In the classroom setting, students were assigned tasks to delve into their respective topic areas as a crucial part of their learning and research journey. Students were tasked for example, with utilising GAI to explore intricate subjects like ontology and epistemology, aiding them in achieving a more profound comprehension of challenging concepts.

Collaborative group work was encouraged, and students utilised GAI tools to investigate diverse concepts, such as what are the differences between cluster, stratified and systematic sampling. Whenever feasible, I sanitised the responses generated by GAI before assigning tasks to ensure accuracy. Additionally, students were tasked with verifying the information acquired from GAI, engaging in debates, and sharing differences with me to facilitate discussions.


Student’s feedback on using GAI:

The students reported 100% satisfaction, with differing views on the levels of trust of GAI accuracy as per the additional qualitative data gathered. Interestingly, 67% of students admitted to using AI as per the facilitator guidance, i.e. to look up complex concepts within the classroom setting.

“How did you use GAI in preparing for your assignment?”

  • “To help me understand definitions. I would literally ask it to describe terms to me like I am a 5-year-old.”

  • “Reword, rewrite to simplify the terms for my understanding, [I] used Grammarly to proofread before submitting, [and] used it as a brainstorm tool to explore different ideas for my research topic.”

  • “I used GAI to help define concepts that were more difficult, but followed this by further research and reading to ensure the information provided was all accurate.”

  • “As a sparring partner. I saw on Tiktok a technique to use to get the best from Chat GPT to challenge my thinking.”

  • “Adds further thinking to my original points.”

  • “I sometimes felt I got slightly more clarity, however it's hard to know without double-checking the GAI.”


Adoption of GAI:

Leveraging GAI as a methodology for assigning readings or conducting research on a particular topic has demonstrated remarkable success in actively engaging students in the learning process. I believe the novelty, speed, and ease of the process of using platforms such as ChatGPT for quick answers, meant that students could easily research a concept in class without having to read large bodies of traditional texts. It is worth noting that 89% of students stated that they would use GAI again in their learning journey.


Student improvement:

The overall quality of the assignments has shown a notable improvement. While acknowledging the presence of various influencing factors that warrant further investigation, it is evident that the average results for the modules surged from 56.73% to 65.43%, accompanied by a substantial rise in the pass rate from 55% to 92%. Careful checks were undertaken to ascertain the use of ChatGPT within the assignments and none were detected, with assignments second marked by three different tutors to address any potential lecture biases. All students also stated that they were clear on the university policy of using GAI within their assignments.

We need further evidence of the main contributors to these success factors, however the first year of introducing these innovative approaches certainly indicated that AI contributed positively to student engagement, student progression and student satisfaction.



Bond, M., Khosravi, H., De Laat, M., Bergdahl, N., Negrea, V., Oxley, E., Pham, P., Chong, S.W. and Siemens, G., 2024. A meta systematic review of artificial intelligence in higher education: a call for increased ethics, collaboration, and rigour. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education21(1), p.4.

Bozkurt, A., 2023. Generative artificial intelligence (AI) powered conversational educational agents: The inevitable paradigm shift. Asian Journal of Distance Education18(1).