At FUTA Registry Lecture, IT Specialist Highlights Advantages of AI in Higher Education Institutions

Mr. Joel Ogunsola

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has enormous potential to enhance performance of Higher Education Institutions (HEI) and operators of the sector should embrace and integrate it into the scheme of things. IT specialist and pioneer head of Ondo State Office of Innovation and Partnerships, Mr. Joel Ogunsola, gave the advice while delivering the 13th Registry Annual Lecture of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA on Tuesday, May 21st, 2024.

Ogunsola who spoke on the topic, “Leveraging on Artificial Intelligence for Enhanced Performance in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs),” said “by harnessing the power of AI to personalize learning, optimize administrative process, and accelerate research and innovation, we can unlock new opportunities for academic excellence and student success.” He maintained that “In the face of the evolving societal challenges, technological advancements, and changing students’ demographics, traditional approaches to education are no longer sufficient to meet the diverse needs and aspirations of today’s learners.”

He added that AI, with its ability to simulate human intelligence processes such as learning, reasoning, problem-solving and language understanding, holds immense promise for revolutionizing every aspect of the academic experience. By harnessing the power of AI, higher education institutions can unlock unprecedented opportunities to enhance student learning outcomes, optimize administrative processes, accelerate research and innovation, and promote equity and inclusion in education.

The audience

On the efficiency of AI on student’s data analysis and performance, Ogunsola who also served as Senior  Special Assistant to the former Governor of Ondo State  , said AI powered adaptive learning platforms could analyze vast amounts of student’s data, including academic performance, learning preferences, and behavioural patterns, to tailor educational content and experiences to each student’s unique needs and abilities.

Speaking on administrative efficiency using AI, Ogunsola, founder of international    technology solutions outfit, Prunedge, said, “In addition to transforming the learning experience, AI has the potential to streamline administrative processes within higher education institutions. From admissions and enrolment management to course scheduling and resource allocation, administrative tasks cab be time consuming, labor-intensive, and prone to error. However, AI-powered systems can automate routine tasks, analyze data to inform decision making, and optimize resource utilization, thereby freeing up valuable time and resources for educators to focus on more meaningful tasks such as curriculum development, mentoring and students’ support.”

Ogunsola, an Alumnus of FUTA, said that AI can revolutionize course scheduling by optimizing class schedules based on factors such as student preferences, faculty availability, and resource constraints. He added that by leveraging predictive analytics and machine learning, algorithms, institutions can develop schedules that minimize conflicts, maximize resource utilization, and enhance the overall student experience. On the relevance of AI to research and innovation, the guest lecturer said “beyond classroom and administrative offices, AI has the potential to revolutionize research and innovation within higher education institutions.

Speaking on ethical considerations in the use of AI, he said “as we embrace the promise of AI in higher education, it is imperative that we do so with careful consideration of the ethical and societal implications. We must guard against algorithmic bias, safeguard privacy rights, and uphold principles of academic integrity and intellectual freedom.”  He suggested safeguards such as, “implementing data encryption and anonymization measures, obtaining informed consent from individuals whose data is being collected and analyzed, and providing clear and transparent explanations of how data will be used and protected.”

In her address as the Chairperson at the event, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Adenike Oladiji said the title of the lecture is apt and timely as “scientists are ever seeking ways of making our daily tasks easier to handle through the use of machines or by completely eliminating the arduous and monotonous/repetitive tasks, through the use of machines.” She said Artificial Intelligence, developed by computer experts in the form of computer systems that can perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages, is a concept whose time has come. The Vice Chancellor affirmed that, “In most cases, the accuracy and objectivity of machines deployed in artificial intelligence far outweigh human efforts.”

Earlier in his welcome address, the Registrar and Host, Mr. Charles Adeleye thanked the Almighty God for the enablement to organize the lecture under his watch as the Registrar which was preceded with a successful workshop. He added that the FUTA Annual Registry Lecture has become a household event geared towards promoting efficiency and excellent service delivery in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. He was optimistic that the knowledge shared and gained would further transform operations in the higher education sector.

Giving his vote of thanks, the Chairperson, Organizing Committee, Mr. Adegbenro Adebanjo expressed profound gratitude to God for the successful event and thanked attendees and the Guest lecturer for contributing to the success of the lecture. On the Guest Lecturer, he said, “We thank our Guest Lecturer, Mr. Joel Ogunsola, who travelled all the way from the United States of America (USA). Such sacrifice is the stuff that patriots and believers in Nigerian project are made of