IKILeUS to Integrate AI in University Education

06 April 2022

A new BMBF-funded project will improve academic curricula at the University of Stuttgart and explore how artificial intelligence can improve teaching and learning.

As new applications of artificial intelligence (AI) emerge, there is a growing demand across many industries for university graduates with the understanding needed to develop and use such technologies effectively. A new project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) aims to address these needs at the University of Stuttgart.  

The project, called IKILeUS (Integrated AI in Teaching at the University of Stuttgart) is bringing together multidisciplinary AI expertise from several institutes across the university in ways that will better prepare students to create and work with AI tools. The High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) is serving as the coordinating institute for this project and will strengthen several subprojects by contributing both its expertise in artificial intelligence and access to computing resources that are optimized for AI applications.  

IKILeUS is pursuing a holistic approach that involves bringing both AI "for" teaching and AI "in" teaching to the entire student body across all stages of study. On the one hand, this means ensuring that all students graduate with an understanding of the fundamentals of artificial intelligence, including practical experience with AI, in an interdisciplinary and sustainable way. On the other, IKILeUS will develop and introduce AI-based technologies that can improve instruction.  

New educational programs will better prepare students  

Under the auspices of IKILeUS, partners from across the University will develop new educational content to prepare students to identify potential applications of AI in their field of study, while giving them the necessary skills to develop and implement them. This will include curriculum enhancements and event series in which students learn about specific applications of AI for scientific research and in industry.  

In addition, HLRS will develop related continuing education content for individuals who have graduated from university and work in industry. This new, AI-focused content will become an established course in the center's Supercomputing Academy.  

These various activities will also include instruction on ethical issues concerning the trustworthiness and responsible use of artificial intelligence. Members of the HLRS Department of Philosophy of Computational Sciences, led by Dr. Andreas Kaminski, will develop these resources to encourage students to reflect on their interaction with and use of AI technologies, both during their studies and in their careers that follow.

AI for improved instruction  

In addition to curriculum development, IKILeUS will support the development of AI technologies that could improve instruction at the University. This could include AI-supported learning assistants that help students improve concentration when studying, and tools for improving accessibility to teaching resources for students with vision or hearing impairments. The project will also investigate how AI could simplify some teaching tasks, such as through the automatic evaluation of student work.  

"It is important that the University prepare students for their lives after graduation," said HLRS Director Prof. Michael Resch. "Today, this means ensuring that they both understand the theoretical foundations of artificial intelligence and that they graduate with practical experience in using AI tools and methods. We are excited about the potential of IKILeUS to make significant improvements in this effort."

Christopher Williams