AI in education: the importance of transparency

In a world increasingly reliant on AI, learners and educators alike need to trust the software they interact with. Transparency, from all parties, is essential when utilizing AI applications, especially in an education environment.

Clock 3 min read Calendar Published: 22 Apr 2024
Author Jacob Goodwin
AI in education: the importance of transparency


In a world increasingly reliant on AI, learners and educators alike need to trust the software they interact with. Therefore, transparency, from all parties, is essential when utilizing AI applications, especially in an education environment.

Recently, more and more institutions have been critically evaluating their technology providers, making it more important than ever to forge a strong relationship between vendor and educator.

A recent poll from EDUCAUSE found a consensus of a growing need for an AI strategy.

They cited that a lack of awareness and support creates internal roadblocks, particularly around privacy and ethics. While those concerns are valid, institutions can mitigate them by creating a strategy to improve data comprehension, supported by vendor transparency.

Why transparency is key for AI and education

Before we dive in, let’s take a moment to explain exactly what we mean by transparency.

When it comes to AI, transparency is generally defined as providing clarity on how artificial intelligence systems make decisions, why they produce specific results, and what data they're using.

Within education specifically, this could relate to a professor’s intellectual property, the context of data capture as well as where and how data is stored. Evidently, there is a real need for all parties to remove any ambiguity.

Let’s take a look at why AI transparency matters for both educators and providers alike…

For educators

Transparency is essential for all parties when utilising AI in education. Its usage can sometimes raise concerns, particularly when intentions are unclear and the impact on the learning experience is murky at best.

Enhanced clarity allows educators and parents to understand how data is used and ensures AI tools are there to augment, rather than replace the learning experience.

Educators also need to understand how AI tools work to integrate them effectively into the curriculum. Transparency around optimization and best practices allows them to leverage the AI's strengths, all while addressing its limitations, creating a well-rounded learning experience.

On the whole, the benefit to educators is to better understand which services are accessing personal or institutional data and how they use that data. This ensures providers only access data they are permitted to, and that the data they do access is used appropriately.

Likewise, in this regard, having a centralised, transparent tool or institutional policy is better than allowing students to adopt a suite of technologies, over which educators would have minimal control.

For software providers

From a vendor perspective, transparency is vital in building trust and consolidating a reputation as a provider with institutional best interests at heart.

In a world increasingly reliant on AI, learners and professors alike want to trust the software they interact with. Transparency allows vendors to showcase the true application of their AI capabilities, demonstrating responsible development and mitigating concerns about bias or unintended consequences.

Likewise, as regulations around AI usage evolve, both on a national and campus scale, transparency becomes essential for compliance. By being open about data practices, vendors can demonstrate they are adhering to ethical, legal and learning guidelines.

Technology also improves over time, as more is learned about how a software can best mould to meet the needs of learners and professors. When vendors can identify how their AI contributes to increased positive outcomes, institutions can help further refine applications to improve overall performance.

Transparency is a two-way street. It fosters trust, ensures responsible development and usage, all while empowering each and every stakeholder to leverage the power of AI effectively.

The Glean stance on AI

As a leading software provider in the education space, we believe wholeheartedly in the importance of transparency.

At Glean, our stance is to provide institutions with comprehensive documentation of our AI third party processors, knowing that simply saying we don't use AI to train data models just isn't enough. This is in addition to having a policy which does not permit third parties to train on any Glean data.

Therefore we list all of our services and explain exactly what they’re used for.

We know that from an educational standpoint, AI is here to stay. But as a company, we're extremely conscientious of how we utilise AI to augment rather than replace the learning process.

This is why every application of AI within Glean is thoroughly researched and designed to enhance learning opportunities. In this light, we don't automatically record, transcribe, or generate quizzes for users. Every aspect of our technology requires student engagement to support rather than replace learning.

Why our AI approach works for everyone

Simply put, because we provide clarity in our practices and support for those seeking to allay the concerns of fellow educators.

At Glean, we have a driving force throughout product development that ensures AI generates more positive student outcomes, without compromising the classroom experience and knowledge base professors have worked so hard to curate.

So when it comes to choosing a technology provider, ask the difficult questions, uncover clarity where it doesn’t exist and ensure the software is working with you, not against you.

For more information on our use of AI within Glean, check out our AI FAQ hub via the link below.

View our Glean AI FAQs
Time for a simpler, smarter note taking accommodation?

Time for a simpler, smarter note taking accommodation?

Glean is the online note taking tool that makes compliance simple, reduces cost and admin burden, and improves student outcomes.
Learn More