The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) is a partner in a new National Science Foundation (NSF) Artificial Intelligence Research Institute that is focusing on transforming online education. NSF is investing $20 million in Georgia on a collaborative effort designed to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to transform learning in STEM fields. Led by the Georgia Research Alliance, the effort unites experts in computer science, AI, cognitive science, learning science, and education.
“We are encouraged to see the Technical College System of Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Georgia State University continue to be on the leading edge of advancements in education and skills training to develop a 21st century workforce,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “As the number one state for business, we remain laser-focused on providing business and industry with an advanced workforce. This initiative will help more Georgians get the education and skills training they need to participate in our dynamic, thriving economy.”
The National AI Institute for Adult Learning in Online Education (ALOE) is one of 11 new NSF institutes created as part of an investment totaling $220 million. The ALOE Institute will develop new AI theories and techniques for enhancing the quality of online education for lifelong learning and workforce development.
“The workforce is constantly evolving, which means more Georgians will need to realign their skills to be competitive in tomorrow’s marketplace,” said TCSG Commissioner, Greg Dozier. “Artificial Intelligence is a powerful technology that will play an important role in making online education more personalized and available to a greater number of people across our state.”
According to some projections, the American workforce will see about 100 million individuals with the need to be reskilled or upskilled over the next decade. The implementation of AI into online learning will mean increased scale and greater opportunities to reach more individuals interested in upskilling.
“In today’s workforce environment, it is imperative for students to obtain skillsets in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to remain competitive,” said Steven Ferguson, TCSG’s Chief Information Officer and senior member of the ALOE team. “By leveraging both current and emerging artificial intelligence, ALOE will optimize online education to facilitate student success in these areas.”
In addition to TCSG, the ALOE Institute will bring together Arizona State University, Boeing, Drexel University, The Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, Harvard University, IBM, IMS Global, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Wiley. These various partners will combine their expertise and efforts to advance AI technology to scale and improve education.
The Georgia Research Alliance, a nonprofit that helps Georgia’s university scientists do more research and start more companies, will coordinate the entities and administer the grant over five years.
“Creating virtual assistants who can assist instructors and students on a personalized level will transform education and make it much more attainable,” said Executive Director of the Technical College Directors Association of Georgia, Adie Shimandle. “TCSG is ground zero for the creation and deployment of virtual assistants and, with the world-class instructors we have in our colleges, TCSG will be the focal point of life-long learning for all Georgians looking to reshape their futures.”
The TCSG college consortium responsible for implementing AI in learning environments is Chattahoochee Technical College, Coastal Pines Technical College, Columbus Technical College, Lanier Technical College, and Oconee Fall Line Technical College.