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Homecoming 2023 webinar first of a series about AI and lifelong learning.

Ponder the future of AI and lifelong learning

UM Extended Education presents a series of four free webinars (and a micro-certificate too)

August 15, 2023 — 

Artificial Intelligence is here and it continues to evolve at a rapid pace.

You have probably heard some of the discussion. Now get ready for some more.

Learn all about AI and lifelong learning at  AI Unleashed: Deciphering the Impact of Generative Artificial Intelligence on Lifelong Learning, a series of free webinars offered by University of Manitoba Extended Education as the Lifelong Learning Webinar Series 2023-2024. The first of four one-hour Friday sessions will also be held as part of UM Homecoming 2023 on Sept. 22 at 11 am CDT. Registration is required.

A webinar series and a micro-certificate

And for anyone looking to add to their insight and their resume, UM Extended Education will also offer a three-course Micro-Certificate in Artificial Intelligence this winter.

“AI is evolving much faster than we can anticipate,” says Rod Lastra, Acting Dean, UM Extended Education. “It is necessary to be aware and identify the opportunities and challenges, and how we will appropriately respond.”

Of course, because technology is moving so quickly, there are always many unknowns and the situation is changing from day to day. “That’s the exciting part,” says Lastra, noting two of the experts who will join him in the course of the webinars: Kelly Shiohira, Executive Manager, Research and Data Ecosystems from The Education Hub in South Africa, and Ray Schroeder, UPCEA Senior Fellow. Each webinar in the series will tackle aspects of the situation as it exists at that moment in time, and the series will wrap up with a panel discussion and share further resources and reading materials.

Lastra is fascinated with AI’s potential, including its ability to collect and compile custom content in a fraction of the time it would take to do it yourself. That’s powerful, he says. “The tools currently augment the creation of academic work. They don’t replace it. Instead, they assist in the creative process. Of course, any AI-generated output requires careful evaluation.”


Currently, the new tool everyone is talking about, ChatGPT, is less than a year old. Simply input some information and generative AI will use machine learning algorithms to attempt to provide you with the words, the image, or the solution you seek. But if a student uses it to draft their assignment, is that cheating? Who is the legitimate creator and voice of the words compiled in this way? Should universities ban these tools or incorporate them into teaching and assessment?

“AI can augment our creative activities. AI can be our assistant, collating information and streaming ideas. We can input our own information and use specialized prompts. If it is collating your information and your ideas, I would argue you retain greater intellectual ownership of the content compiled using AI. You will need to do some editing.” Further, he says, “If it is AI generating content from the web, it will require expertise to vet the quality and accuracy of that information, and again, some editing. Currently, it is most useful for the experts, those who can verify information.”

If AI algorithms are able to customize educational content to meet an individual student’s needs, and automate administrative tasks freeing educators to focus their energies on more important things, that’s good. But there are also ethical dilemmas to consider. So, for learners and educators alike, it’s complex, evolving terrain.

Adopt and adapt

But it is terrain we must cover, Lastra says. “We will have to adopt technology, whether we like it or not. With it, what are the implications for our work, our creative pursuits and our learners? We have a responsibility to address these questions.”

Join the webinar

Hear from the experts. Understand the transformative influence of AI, discover emerging AI tools for learners, and engage in critical discussions sharing the potential and challenges that generative AI presents to both learners and education professionals.

Register now for the first webinar in the series. It’s also a UM Homecoming 2023 event. Learn more about what is to come.

As published in the Winnipeg Free Press.

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