University Business October 2019 - 42

UB TECH

AI: AMPLIFIED
Artificial intelligence is making higher ed business processes more efficient,
but administrators must prioritize privacy and information security

GETTYIMAGES.COM: NADINE_C

By Jodi Helmer

A

s enrollment at Penn State World
Campus increased, academic
advisors raced to keep up. They
needed support to manage more than
50 processes ranging from assisting students with course selection to handling
requests to change majors-almost all
manual actions.
Artificial intelligence, administrators
determined, could be part of the solution.
"We decided to look at ways we
could scale with increasing enrollments,"
says Dawn Coder, director of academic
advising and student disability services.
"We started experimenting with AI to
see how technology could support us
and better service our students more individually, successfully and timely, while
maintaining quality."
AI sped up response time; now advi42 | October 2019

sors spend less time crafting emails and
looking up information in files and have
more time to meet with students.
The market for AI in higher education is expected to increase almost 48%
before 2022, according to a 2018 report
by market research company Technavio.
While teaching and learning with AIpowered software has attracted the attention of higher ed administrators, they
are also investing significant resources in
chatbots, machine learning and biometrics to boost efficiencies in their business
operations.
"The end-to-end change that needs
to happen to use digital tools like AI
to improve back-office functions and
make processes flow a little bit better
is not a simple thing to take on," says
Justin Klutka, vice president of product

technology at Wiley Education Services,
a tech services provider. "Schools have
to figure out their goals and how AI fits
into their strategy before implementing
these tools."
Here are three rules to help AI make a
difference in business processes.
1. Emphasize efficiencies
The academic advising department at
Penn State World Campus started experimenting with AI this summer to
create boilerplate emails to respond to
common questions in core areas such
as deferring a semester, reenrolling or

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University Business October 2019

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