The academic community of Saint Mary’s University gathered on Sept. 27, 2023, at the Sacred Heart Center for this year’s Academic Session that centered on the theme “FIRE with AI: Furthering Instruction, Research and Extension.”
The theme aimed to provide a better understanding of emerging technology, especially Artificial Intelligence, and its implications on teaching and learning in today’s classrooms, as well as on research activities and community services.
The speaker was Dr. Caroline Mariñas-Acosta, a resident faculty at the University Utara Malaysia in Kedah Darul Aman and President of Knowledge Advancement and Youth Empowerment Training and Assessment Center. She is also a part-time faculty of the SMU’s School of Graduate Studies and School of Accountancy and Business.
SMU President Dr. John Octavious S. Palina led the academic community in welcoming the speaker and the participants. At the same time, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Moises T. Asuncion, set the objectives of the Academic Session.
In her lecture, Dr. Acosta discussed how AI is changing the platform for how students learn and acquire knowledge and information. She said that educators nowadays need to acknowledge the existence of AI in the teaching-learning process and devise ways to accommodate it as part of their teaching strategies.
The Academic Session was participated by all academic teaching personnel at all curricular levels as an institutional activity. Classes in Basic Education were therefore suspended to give way for the Academic Session.
The participants were also grouped for a workshop to rejuvenate teaching and to foster interdisciplinary research and impactful community services with AI. All the identified groups presented outputs illustrating innovative ways to utilize various AI models or engines, such as ChatGPT and Bing AI, in enhancing course syllabi, class activities, and research and extension proposals.
Dr. Acosta said that AI may be utilized responsibly to support the university’s tri-fold functions— instruction, research, and extension— in ensuring that SMU remains true to its quality policy.