Language Center student assistants have won the Student AI Innovation Challenge

June 12, 2024

As part of the University Future Festival, her mini-course ‘KI Schreibwerkstatt: Dealing with Chatbot and Co’ was voted best contribution by the audience.

How can we use artificial intelligence and digital technologies in higher education? This was discussed at the University:Future Festival in Heilbronn on 6 June 2024. The festival also included a competition, the ‘AI Innovation Challenge’. The two Language Center student assistants Melisa Caliskan and Mete Saltik have won the Student AI Innovation Challenge with a successful presentation on their mini-course ‘KI-Schreibwerkstatt: Dealing with Chatbot and Co’.

"Originally, the idea of submitting the mini-course there was a fun idea," says Mete Saltik. "Heilbronn is not too far away from where we live and that's how the idea of submitting our mini-course for the Student Call came about." The submission made a convincing impression in the pre-selection process thanks to its professional implementation and the importance of the topic and was chosen as the winner by all of the event's viewers in a live vote.

"We are delighted that Ms Caliskan and Mr Saltik have developed such an important project for the university and that it is also being recognized outside the University of Stuttgart," says Lucy Blaney-Laible, Director of the Language Centre at the University of Stuttgart. Anna-Maria Wenzel Elben, a coordinator of the Writing Center for German, says: "We are very happy that we can offer this mini-course in the Writing Center, which can be attended by students of all subjects."

Language Center student assistants Melisa Caliskan and Mete Saltik and their mini-course ‘KI-Schreibwerkstatt: Dealing with Chatbot and Co’

Mini course as a testing ground for new AI and writing ideas

The mini-course has already taken place three times, starting in the summer semester of 2023, and regularly receives very positive feedback from participants. In addition to the technical background of how generative language models around ChatGPT work, legal aspects such as plagiarism and copyright, but also ethical and philosophical questions about machines and artificial intelligence are discussed. The focus of the mini-course is clearly on application, in which participants learn various techniques for dealing with chatbots and develop concrete strategies and prompt formulations to solve tasks. "The special feature of the mini-course is that we don't act as lecturers," says Melisa Caliskan. "It's a course by students, for students. We are on first-name terms with the participating fellow students and create a space for sharing experiences without anyone having to fear any consequences." This exchange is a discussion platform and promotes discussion about the use of AI in studies and teaching at the University of Stuttgart.
Lucy Blaney-Laible emphasizes: "We benefit from this in two ways: The participants acquire important AI skills and the Hiwis get the opportunity to network and gain teaching experience."

Future Skills as a goal

The acquisition of key skills of the future is also a major topic in the Writing Center. "Of course, we have to ask ourselves what future skills today's students will need," says Anna-Maria Wenzel-Elben, "be it in the future world of work or in science. It is becoming increasingly important to deal with artificial intelligence and to reflect critically on its outputs. Critical thinking will therefore remain particularly important in the future."

The existing mini-course is to be developed further

A look into the future

The two assistants already have specific goals in mind. "With the material we have so far, we would actually need more than the three hours that the mini course actually lasts," says Melisa Caliskan. "That means we want to develop and expand the mini course. For example, with asynchronous materials that are published with CC or OER licenses and are available to all interested universities." With their successful contribution to the AI Campus Stage, the two Hiwis are now also receiving support outside the University of Stuttgart to support the acquisition of future skills.

The University:Future Festival is the largest event on the digital future of academic education in the German-speaking world and is organized by KI-Campus, a learning platform of the Stifterverband to strengthen AI and data skills.

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