The aim of the .dcall funding programme is not only to implement digitalisation projects, but also to exchange and network under this umbrella. We also "lived" this in our closing event on 16 February 2023. The participants shared their own projects and discussed their experiences and knowledge in two workshops on the topics of "AI Chatbot" and "Extended Reality". It was exciting to hear how broadly the knowledge regarding these technologies is spread and how differently the participants have dealt with the topics. Here we would like to give you the highlights of the longer discussion:
Ever since the prototype "ChatGPT", a freely accessible text-based dialogue system using artificial intelligence, was released, educational institutions are facing a challenge. How is it to be handled? What is the significance of research-intensive homework, for example? These and many other aspects were discussed during the workshop. One thing became clear immediately during the discussion: "ChatGPT" is here to stay. Automatically AI-generated text is already part of our reality. However, the exact handling of it still has to be learned. Everyday life at TU Wien will certainly have to change as a result of the new application possibilities. This is where the strength and safety come into play for academic staff and teachers at TU Wien, who are able to use the tool as such thanks to their in-depth knowledge. Thus, at the beginning of the research, otherwise hidden literature could be found quickly via exclusion of old knowledge, or multiple choice questions could be pre-formulated in record time. When examined precisely, the new tool provides an exciting support application for everyday university life at TU Wien.
XR: Extended Reality
XR - an umbrella term for VR, AR and MR - is a technology of mixed realities produced by using different combinations of hardware and software. These technologies are used in many areas nowadays, be it as a virtual tour in a museum, but also for quality assurance in business management, for example. At present, many of these technologies are being used in teaching and research at TU Wien or are being further developed for these purposes. First and foremost, an XR laboratory is currently being created at the "Institute for Virtual Computing and Augmented Reality". There are a lot of advantages that teachers and researchers enjoy by using these technologies. For instance, besides cost and time efficiency, collaboration is taken to a new level. Some disadvantages were also discussed, as the participants were aware that reality cannot be completely replaced by these virtual worlds. AR glasses can also display false information or analyse and process live images without the users noticing. As with "ChatGPT", safe and sensible handling is also required here.
Use in the "Flipped Classroom"
In the two discussion rounds, the integration of the two technologies in the teaching format "Flipped Classrooms" was also discussed. In "flipped classrooms", in contrast to classical face-to-face teaching, knowledge is imparted through digital media at home and practice, application and consolidation take place in the classroom. The participants were also informed and interested here and can well imagine this teaching method in combination with new technologies. Everyone is aware that technological progress renders the classical forms of teaching no longer attractive enough for the new generations. At the same time, these technologies provide the teachers with a lot of creative freedom, so that the technological change will also be noticeable in the online courses, but also in the lecture halls.
In addition to the interesting discussion rounds, we also had video shoots where we interviewed participants on their projects. These videos will be published as part of ".digital news bits" series in the course of the coming weeks. Just check back regularly at the .digital blog or on our website!
The .digital office team would like to thank the project leaders once again for the good cooperation and is looking forward to expanding the .dcall community soon to include the participants of .dcall 2023!