University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


New study: Students need more teaching in artificial intelligence

If students are not being taught artificial intelligence, they are not being prepared for the labour market of the real world . This is according to a researcher who encourages the University of Copenhagen to make the new technology a bigger part of students' daily lives.

Students at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) are at this time of year buried in books and lecture notes ahead of upcoming exams.

Some of them may have their laptops open and be using artificial intelligence programmes like ChatGPT to try to understand the curriculum. But there may be fewer of them than you think.

A new study shows that, at present, most Danish students neither receive instruction in the use of artificial intelligence nor use the tools themselves. And those who do use artificial intelligence primarily use it for simple tasks like summarizing a text. According to the researchers behind the study, they are not exploiting the artificial intelligence potential.

Universities has a responsibility to educate students for the reality of society and the labour market they will meet

Mark Friis Hau, postdoc

»More than half of them have received no instruction whatsoever in the use of artificial intelligence. And when we go down into the data, we can also see that when several of the respondents say that they have received instruction, it means that they have seen a couple of YouTube videos,« says Mark Friis Hau, a postdoc at the Department of Sociology and the Employment Relations Research Centre (FAOS) at the University of Copenhagen.

He and Lasse Suonperä Liebst are behind a study which is the first to identify the use of artificial intelligence among university students in Denmark. 649 students from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Copenhagen took part.

One of the conclusions is that students have a healthy scepticism towards artificial intelligence. But that this scepticism also restricts the students when it comes to exploring the new technology.

»We had expected that the [subscription, ed.] price was a big reason why they didn’t use artificial intelligence. Instead, the students are concerned that these tools can hinder their own learning, and this is — to a greater extent — one of the reasons why they do not use artificial intelligence,« says Mark Friis Hau.

Educating students for reality

According to the researcher, students miss out on vital learning when artificial intelligence is not used to a greater extent at the university.

He reckons that artificial intelligence should be integrated as a natural part of the teaching.

There is a discrepancy between the importance of these tools for the students and their careers, and how much they can actually use the tools

Mark Friis Hau, postdoc

»Universities have a responsibility to educate students for the reality of society and the labour market that they will meet,« says Mark Friis Hau.

He predicts that academics of the future will have to be able to use artificial intelligence to a high degree. And according to Mark Friis Hau, it is important that universities realize this, and do not try to obstruct the trend.

»Artificial intelligence is spreading rapidly in the labour market. And it is important that students learn to use these tools properly, critically, and responsibly,« he says.

Surely there are also many dilemmas associated with integrating artificial intelligence into university teaching in terms of cheating. And that it can turn into false comfort for students?

»Yes. But that’s exactly why we need to research it, teach it, and generally learn more about how we use this tool, so that it does not turn into a false sense of security,« says Mark Friis Hau.

»Clearly artificial intelligence presents universities with major challenges in relation to cheating. Certainly if the idea is that exams should be exactly as they used to be, and that we should measure students exactly as we usually do. So you need to change these things also, so that artificial intelligence is part of some exams, while other exams are completely without any [artificial, ed.] assistance,« he says.


The study also shows that students themselves reckon that they will be using artificial intelligence in their future working lives.

»There is a discrepancy between the importance of these tools for the students and their careers, and how much they can actually use the tools, and what they know about them,« says Mark Friis Hau.

He believes that the study should be a wake-up call to, say, the University of Copenhagen. It needs to improve the integration of artificial intelligence into both teaching and the university’s daily life.

According to Mark Friis Hau, the current discussion is reminiscent of the one we had about the internet back in the 1990s.

»Back then, there were lots of people who were reluctant to deal with the new technology. But now the internet is an absolutely indispensable part of our daily lives – also at the university,« he says.