Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly developing, with significant and potentially disruptive implications for the global education sector.

​The Division for Learning and Teaching Enhancement at Stellenbosch University (SU) has designed an edX-based four-course professional certificate series to support higher education (HE) professionals, teachers and stakeholders as they navigate the impact of AI, and generative AI (GenAI) specifically, in higher education. The professional certificate (AI in Higher Education) will assist a range of HE practitioners to re-imagine and reposition teaching, learning and assessment practices relative to AI. They will develop an understanding of current thinking about the purposes of HE, teaching learning and assessment practices and AI literacies, with a focus on cultivating academic integrity and promoting responsible AI use. In summary, this fully online offering provides new ways of thinking about our relationship with machines.

As the commercial world digests the pros and cons of AI, the HE sector is deeply engaging with questions on how it will shape (and is already shaping) teaching, learning and assessment. The ease of access to emerging GenAI, such as those offered by OpenAI, has left many HE educators uncertain, with HE institutions’ responses ranging from banning the use of tools such as ChatGPT to fully embracing it.

We are conceptualising learning as a partnership between students, educators, and – if used responsibly – with emerging technologies such as AI. We cannot deny the ubiquitous nature of AI -systems now and certainly in future. It is our responsibility to proactively consider which values will equip our graduates in such a future where AI is to play an integral role in their professions, their lifelong learning and their lived experiences. – Dr Antoinette van der Merwe, Senior Director: Division for Learning and Teaching Enhancement at SU.

​As institutions are still formulating their response to the disruption of AI, HE practitioners must face the practical implications of a world where education is probably set to become a collaborative endeavour between humans and machines.

Prof Deresh Ramjugernath, SU’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching, calls on higher education teachers and other interested stakeholders to join SU in this important conversation. “We are excited to contribute proactively to the dialogue on AI usage in higher education and encourage you to enrol for this topical StellenboschX offering,” he says.

Participants can plan to invest five to eight hours per topic, for each course to be completed in a three-week period (although courses are completely self-paced and allow for more flexibility in terms of completion). Participants may access all the content without a paywall, or opt-in for a paid-for certificate. With this StellenboschX model, Stellenbosch University aims to increase its accessibility to its academic offerings and is proud to present this relevant professional certificate to a global audience.

Click here to view the StellenboschX course page that provides a more detailed overview of the content.