Surrey’s position on artificial intelligence (AI) in education

For over 125 years we, as the University of Surrey and previously Battersea College, have been a place at the forefront of new developments in science, technology, and their impact on society. We have consistently embraced new technologies, both through our research, and through our research-informed education and learning. 

In 2018 we launched our first cross institutional AI@Surrey Research Network, and in 2021 founded the Surrey Institute for People-Centred AI. Our response to the highly publicised release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, and the increasing maturity of deep learning/AI content generation should therefore be no surprise. 

We believe that technology has over time transformed the way that we research, teach, and learn, and that AI and deep learning technology are similar – and will necessarily form part of what we teach, and become tools that help students use to help them achieve the best possible learning outcomes. 

As AI technology continues to evolve, our curriculum, and how we assess learning outcomes will necessarily change. It is important that we adapt and evolve our policies and procedures to provide a clear position on this area. In particular, we need to be clear on distinctions between using learning tools, and students demonstrating their own learning outcomes in assessment, and on the criticality of content attribution.  We will also continue to evolve our assessment support technologies to ensure that we maintain the integrity of our assessment of learning outcomes. 

Similarly, we will explore our curriculum and teaching practice adapting to ensure that we are continuing to deliver education which helps our students be some of the most employable in the country. Our assessment approaches will evolve to consider how to take advantage of this new technology, and how to ensure that we get an accurate view of each student’s learning journey. This will require educators across the institution to be sufficiently aware of AI technologies to be able to make these changes, and to be considering and discussing them at a local discipline level.  At an institution-wide level, and with the support of experts from our Surrey Institute for People-Centred AI and Surrey Institute of Education, we will support academics in increasing their awareness of the technology through webinars, workshops, and discussion. 

Our commitment to and interest in this area of technological advancement and to its implications for us all significantly predates the most recent high-profile releases, as does our enthusiasm, and we look forward to continuing to thoughtfully embrace developments such as this into our research and educational pursuits. 

Professor Osama Khan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Academic 

Nick Gilbert, Chief Information and Digital Officer