Welcome to TRU Digital Detox

The Robots Are Coming:
AI and the Education Revolution

  • Learn

Every week, you’ll read a deeply researched (but always readable!) essay about the state of the academy and the role artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other “innovations” are playing in our sector as we teach and learn together. We’ll share up-to-date thinking from around the globe.

  • Connect

In the comments sections and in live-online sessions, you’ll meet other people who care about these issues, from TRU and around the world. And if you want to share your own expertise, there’s space to contribute your long-form thoughts and become a part of our Detox experience!

  • Plan

New technologies and new applications will require new ways of thinking about assessment, content, process, and learning — or maybe just a reformed approach. We’ll think through the difficult questions together and plan for a teaching practice that is relevant now and well into the future.

What to Expect When You’re Digitally Detoxing

This is not an abstinence detox: we know you have to live, work, teach, and learn with technology, and we want to help you make that relationship less toxic.

From 6 January to 17 February, you’ll get a weekly essay that takes a deep dive into the relationship between artificial intelligence and learning in a higher education context. We’ll talk about data sets and race and identity, about assessment and evaluation, the future of higher education, and what activism can look like as we move forward.

And there will be options to connect “live,” across distance, to talk and plan.

All members of the TRU community and beyond are welcome to join in our conversation. Register by 5 January to ensure you receive every update.


If you change your mind, you can email bgray@tru.ca to remove yourself from our mailing list.

TRU Digital Detox 2023

Posts will appear here through the Detox period and will be archived on this site thereafter.

Two shadowy figures against an apocalyptic sunset are surrounded by falling knives. Cover of Amazing Stories, January 1960.

Where Do We Go From Here?

It’s been a wild year to be writing a Digital Detox about artificial intelligence; it has felt like the landscape was always shifting under my feet, and while I always read a lot to prepare for the annual Digital Detox, this year it has been like trying to catch an avalanche in a snow shovel….

A gun protrudes from the moon and shoots down a space craft. This is the cover of Amazing Stories, October 1959.

Whose Evaluation Is It, Anyway?: Outsourcing Teacherly Judgement

An unpopular thing about me is I always basically enjoyed marking. Like, not the grading part — I always struggled with numerating the denominator and I just don’t believe there’s a meaningful difference between a B- essay and a C+ one in the honest-to-goodness real world — but the marking part? Entering into discourse with…

Three military men appeat to play a video game, but the man on the screen is a soldier they are fighting. Cover of Amazing Stories, 1936.

Breaking What Was Already Broken: AI and Writing Assignments

This week’s post shares a bunch of intellectual air with John Warner’s thinking about AI writing and undergraduate assessment. There’s often a lot of alignment between my thinking and John’s when it comes to talking about writing assessment, but he published first, so let me point you to his excellent piece, ChatGPT Can’t Kill Anything…

Amazing Stories Cover, 1927. Here a writer looks on at an animated robot of a woman. He wears headphones and it is not clear who is controlling who.

Losing the Plot: From the Dream of AI to Performative Equity

A question I have been thinking a lot about this week is whether there is any equitable use of artificial intelligence, given all we talked about in last week’s post about algorithmic bias. Is there any way to imagine ourselves into a future where artificial intelligences really can do the work of decision making more…

A sniper robot targets a rocket on the ground. Cover of Amazing Stories, May 1959.

Whither Comes the Data: Current Uses of AI and Data Set Training in Higher Ed

The ChatGPT handwringing of late has bothered me, not least because it is cloaked in a kind of shock, like the domain of higher education has suddenly been sullied by this profane technology. But babes, it was always already here. Many faculty are learning about the impacts of artificial intelligence on their own practice as…

A robot shoots a plane down. An old Amazing Stories cover.

Ground Rules for the Robot Wars: Defining Our Terms

The first time I used ChatGPT, I was fascinated. You stick in a prompt and it spits out something. The prose is grammatically correct. It’s coherent. It knows basic paragraph structure and it connects ideas together. It obeys the prompts and offers a kind of clarity, if we define clarity in terms of accurate prose….

Digital Detox 2023 Preview: Robot Invasion 101

Digital Detox 2023 Preview: Robot Invasion 101

It’s hard not to be aware of the encroachment of artificial intelligences* on our teaching and learning spaces if you work in education these days. The launch of ChatGPT a few weeks ago has caught many teachers and learners off guard with its level of sophistication and its capacity to absorb the seemingly mundane writing…