Students of one of the most prestigious universities in the world, Harvard, who are taking the Computer Science course can expect to get a one-on-one teaching lesson with the Computer Science 50 (CS50) program. But there is a catch—it will be taught by Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Per CS50 professor David Malan, as told via the university’s student-run newspaper Harvard Crimson, the goal was to render each student a “1:1 teacher:student ratio for every student” in the curriculum, seemingly in a style that fosters self-paced learning and with 24/7 support, involving software.
Malan said that the course staff is in the process of “experimenting with both GPT 3.5 and GPT 4 models,” adding that the use of new software, including AI, is a normal “evolution” of the custom.
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Dubbed the “Classroom in the Cloud,” per Harvard Magazine, CS50 had its conception as a cloud-based learning program in December 2012 and was the “second largest College course” of that fall season.
Before its advent into the cloud, CS50 was previously made public as a free-to-enroll program (but with the option to pay for a certificate upon completion) as a non-profit venture of Harvard with Harvard via etX, also in 2012, and since then has become one of the most prominent learning schemes in the platform.
While the Harvard professor admits that “early incarnations” of AI programs are prone to “occasionally underperform or even err,” the implementation of AI, he repeated, will help free up some time for educators to interact with their students at the individual level.
Malan associates the shift to the employ of AI as akin to “apprenticeship” where he and his colleagues could prioritize having “more meaningful, interpersonal time” with the scholars. However, he also reiterated the notion of the program as being “experimental.”