Makerere University Professor Addresses Student Reliance on AI for Coursework

makerere university professor addresses student reliance on ai for coursework
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During the annual Kampala Geopolitics Conference, Assoc. Prof Umar Kakumba, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of academic affairs at Makerere University, highlighted the growing trend of students relying on artificial intelligence (AI) for their coursework. He expressed concern that this increased dependence on AI was diminishing students’ willingness to engage in traditional research methods and stifling innovation.

Speaking at the conference, Prof Kakumba observed that students were becoming lazier as they turned to AI for answers instead of conducting research. He noted that they were increasingly bypassing libraries and opting to have AI write essays for them. Specifically, he mentioned the popular AI tool, ChatGPT, as a common choice among students.

While recognizing the potential benefits of AI for academic research and innovation, Prof Kakumba emphasized the need for responsible usage. He mentioned AI’s capacity to predict future events, such as early warning systems for disasters and diseases, which could help societies prepare in advance.

However, he also acknowledged the challenges that arose due to AI misuse. He pointed out that the university had implemented mechanisms to identify coursework generated by AI, and measures were being taken to address the issue of student laziness resulting from excessive reliance on AI.

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In response to Prof Kakumba’s statements, some students countered that AI did not always provide them with the precise answers they required.

The Kampala Geopolitics Conference, organized by the French Embassy in collaboration with Makerere University, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), UN WOMEN, and Alliance Francaise Kampala, was held under the theme “The African dimensions in International debates.” The conference aimed to facilitate discussions on various topics, including those concerning young people.

French Ambassador Mr. Xavier Sticker stressed the importance of the conference as a platform for addressing issues relevant to young individuals.

UN Women Uganda Country Representative Paulina Chiwangu expressed her commitment to advancing Uganda’s vision for 2040 and regional goals related to women’s peace, security, rights, humanitarian action, equality, and security for all. She hoped that the dialogues held during the two-day conference would contribute to further progress.

Mr. Nils Wormer, the director of KAS, discussed global challenges, including ongoing conflicts in Russia/Ukraine and Israel, highlighting the potential for peaceful resolutions through dialogue.

The Kampala Geopolitics Conference is expected to continue until Saturday, October 18, 2023.

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