ITC panel to explore AI uses, resources and more

By Cynthia Krutsinger

Artificial intelligence (AI) is here to stay. Whether this is good or bad, higher education has found itself scrambling over the last year and half to address AI and what it means to educators, administration and students.

Many fear AI, while many others are embracing it. Addressing it in the world of higher education has become paramount and at times seems like it has taken over every conversation.

At our summer board retreat in July, the Instructional Technology Council (ITC) found itself talking about just that. Coming from different perspectives related not just to higher education, but community colleges and distance education in particular, we left the board retreat with a new charge, and we formed the AI Affinity Group in an effort to begin addressing the changing landscape in a more practical and useful way.

Overall goals

The charge of the AI Affinity Group is to establish a list of best practices for distance education instruction and to provide an example list representative of practices across the ITC membership to ensure quality online course design.

Our goals are to:

  • Determine what will help ITC members explore and manage the implementation and use of AI at their institutions.
  • Identify and recommend emerging practices for exploration, development and implementation of AI in instruction and student services.
  • Discuss the impact of AI on IT operations.
  • Identify and recommend possible campus and course policies regarding the use of AI.
  • Explore AI and share what we learn and what that sharing might look like.
  • Encourage dialog on ITC member campuses, perhaps advocating a balanced approach.
  • Identify relevant resources and how to share them.
  • Provide selected professional development sessions to help campuses embrace AI.
  • Identify additional strategies, services and resources for ITC members.

At our first meeting, Dennis Natali of Colorado’s Pikes Peak State College encapsulated the necessity of this Affinity Group when he said: “If you don’t already know how to use or regularly use generative AI, you are way behind.”

Database of share policies

Members of the group agreed that mastering AI is just not possible as it is ever-changing and evolving. As a result, we narrowed down our goals to three main questions:

What should a campus do with/for:

  • students (student training, exposure and use)
  • faculty (training, curriculum and exploration)
  • administrators (key policies, strategic planning, staff and fiscal resources)

To do this, the group will collect AI policies at community colleges to create a database of shared policies from member colleges. This is intended to provide a starting place for a conversation about AI institutional policies in the classroom and elsewhere. What is ethical use? How can AI be incorporated into instruction and used ethically by students? How can AI promote learning?

Articles and more

Additionally, we are soliciting group members to write a series of articles about a variety of focus topics. This is just one of many we hope that our members and others might use as resources. The AI Affinity Group will also create a series of webinars and podcasts to cover a variety of aspects of our foci that will be a great resource for training, particularly at those institutions without a robust teaching and learning center or AI experts. Finally, the AI Affinity Group hopes to create a list of expert consultants to provide advice and resources for AI education and use to our members.

To encapsulate the charge of the ITC AI Affinity Group, we hope to learn, to gather resources for our members, to provide valuable resources specifically focused on community colleges and not just higher education, and to explore aspects of AI from different perspectives, particularly students, faculty and administrators.

AI is constantly evolving, and our Affinity Group is evolving, too. I’m extremely excited to lead this valuable group into the near future!

This article is part of a monthly column provided by the Instructional Technology Council, an affiliated council of the American Association of Community Colleges, and appeared in CC Daily.


Cynthia Krutsinger

is dean of online learning at Pikes Peak State College in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She serves in other roles as the Colorado Community College System transitions to a new consortia model for online education called Colorado Online @. Krutsinger is an at-large board member for the Instructional Technology Council.