T5-AIML1-3 - Propagating AI Knowledge Across University Disciplines - The Design of A Multidisciplinary AI Study Module

1. Innovative Practice Full Paper
Samuli Laato1 , Juho Heimonen1, Jari Björne1, Antti Hakkala1, Ali Farooq1, Tapio Salakoski1, Antti Airola1
1 Department of Future Technologies, University of Turku

Full Paper. The on-going AI revolution has disrupted several industry sectors and will keep having an unprecedented impact on all areas of society. This is predicted to force a major proportion of the workforce to re-educate itself during the next few decades. Consequently, knowledge about AI has become relevant in all disciplines, not only computer science, resulting in a growing demand for multidisciplinary AI education. But it is not only computer science majors who require multidisciplinary AI education as stakeholders from other disciplines are also interested.

To meet these challenges, a 25 credit (ECTS) cross-disciplinary study module on AI, targeting students in all faculties, was designed. The module aims to provide learners, with no previous background in computer science or AI, a basic understanding of what modern AI tools can and cannot do, as well as explores ethical questions and the impact on society that AI has. To ensure a wide coverage of application domains, teachers were involved from (1) computer science (including AI, cybersecurity) (2) social sciences (3) biomedicine (4) education (5) law (6) history, culture and arts (7) information systems and (8) nursing science to share their expertise and views on AI from the perspective of their primary discipline. The total number of offered courses is 13, providing cumulatively 34 credits, meaning that students have some choice and freedom when studying to complete the module with 25 credits.

Enrollment for the first implementation of the study module began in Autumn 2019. Half of the reserved seats were taken within the first minutes the enrollment was open and the rest were filled soon after. The student distribution (N=144) between faculties was the following: natural sciences (n=37), social sciences (n=23), law (n=17), education (n=17), economics (n=16), medicine (n=10), art (n=10) and open university (n=14). This paper details the design of the study module as well as uses preliminary findings from its first implementation in 2020 to assess how it matches the needs of the participating students.