Game Changer Alert: Seneca Teams Up with Microsoft Canada for Next-Gen AI Program

By Jamila Apolinario, Laura Sophia Mejia Bravo, and Habeebah Ahmad

Image generated by Facebook Meta AI, 2024 Prompt: AI in Education

Seneca Polytechnic is introducing Microsoft Azure AI technology to students and employees through a new program this fall, preparing them for the “workforce of the future.”

Image created by BingAI
In the past year, there has been a massive increase in public awareness about AI advancements, sparking widespread interest among students and educators.

Microsoft Azure is a cloud platform offering diverse applications and services, including AI capabilities. This AI service aims to educate users on Artificial Intelligence and its role in creating innovative solutions and experiences.


According to Canada’s recent survey, regionally, residents of Ontario exhibited the highest level of self-reported familiarity with AI, suggesting a relatively greater awareness and understanding of AI within this province. On the other hand, respondents from Quebec reported the lowest level of familiarity, with only 55.3% considering themselves familiar or somewhat familiar with AI.

Seneca’s Bold Step into the Future

Anisa Ali, Seneca Polytechnic Student, Journalism

“AI’s helpful, but it can also be damaging to your practices as a student,” Anisa Ali said.

Seneca will integrate Azure OpenAI to develop an AI tutor supporting students’ course material and creating personalized job interviews based on job postings, making Seneca students among the first in Canada to experience this innovative integration, prompting mixed emotions from student Anisa Ali as schools worldwide adopt artificial intelligence in education.

Seneca Polytechnic’s President David Agnew

Seneca Polytechnic’s President, David Agnew, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership with Microsoft, emphasizing their joint dedication to improving ethical and innovative AI technologies in education. He stressed that Seneca’s primary focus on student needs was the driving force behind the collaboration with Microsoft to integrate AI into education. As part of this collaboration, Seneca is creating an AI tutor aimed at enhancing student learning through personalized guidance and feedback, utilizing Microsoft Azure OpenAI. Prioritizing student privacy, this tutor will be accessible beyond the classroom, aiming to create equal opportunities for academic success.

Seneca’s Microsoft Training Shapes Tomorrow’s Leaders

Microsoft News Centre Canada: Reimagining higher education: Seneca Polytechnic set to transform postsecondary learning with integration of Microsoft Azure AI. From middle to right: Seneca Polytechnic President David Agnew, Vice President of Microsoft Canada’s Learning and Teaching Elka Walsh, and Vice President of Microsoft Canada’s Education Sector Marc Seaman

“Seneca was the first higher education institution in the globe, to provide opportunities for students to train on and learn about Microsoft technologies. And in six months, they trained almost 10,000 learners from across the country, and indeed, the globe,” Walsh says

Vice President of Microsoft Canada’s Learning and Teaching Elka Walsh

Microsoft Canada’s Vice President of Learning and Teaching, Elka Walsh, emphasizes the importance of ethical AI development in collaboration with Seneca. This partnership aims to support students by assisting with tasks like course selection, personal tutoring, and job interview preparation, with the ultimate goal of making students highly desirable to employers. Seneca’s InStage platform will support Microsoft Azure AI services to enhance students’ job interview skills. With proactive initiatives like appointing AI Thought Leaders and integrating AI into student support resources, Seneca is establishing itself as a pioneer in AI within Canadian postsecondary education.

Research Note: The content of this video has been generated with the support of AI, utilizing a blend of current research and data from leading educational technology sources to provide a well-rounded exploration of AI’s educational applications. This description positions your article as a well-researched, AI-assisted exploration of AI in education, suitable for readers interested in the intersection of technology and learning.

Student Voices Unveiling AI’s Potential in Education

In interviews with students, enthusiasm for the partnership was noticeable, with many highlighting its potential benefits and value. One student, reflecting on a recent experience, noted how AI tools had significantly aided their understanding of complex topics and expressed enthusiasm for the prospect of a personal tutor. Overall, students believe that tools like OpenAI will enhance inclusivity by providing access to high-quality learning resources.

The graph above also reflects another study from KPMG that shows which students use AI technology within their studies. University students lead with 46% whereas technical, vocational or trade students do not use it as much only having 5%.
Brennan Lupyrypa, University of Waterloo student, Computer Science

“It was like, as good as having my own tutor” Lupyrypa said.

University of Waterloo student Brennan Lupyrypa emphasizes the importance of transparency and accountability in the implementation of AI tutors within universities. Lupyrypa expresses concerns about potential repercussions, citing instances where students have been penalized for unintentional actions within AI systems. This fear of negative consequences may deter students from utilizing these tools, creating a ripple effect of apprehension throughout the student body.

Embracing Advantages, Recognizing Drawbacks

The graph above reflects the results from a survey done by the KPMG. It shows how students in Canada feel about AI being implemented in education. 89% of students felt like it improved their school work whereas only 15% of students felt like teachers were using AI effectively.

“Every time new technology is introduced, there’s always a plus there’s always a minus,” says Peel.

Kent Peel, Seneca Polytechnic Professor

Seneca Professor Kent Peel emphasizes the importance of respecting copyright laws, cautioning against using shortcuts that could lead to illegal actions or content theft. Introducing new technology brings both advantages and disadvantages. While it can improve learning efficiency and focus, it may also detract from traditional learning methods like reading books. The ultimate goal is to enhance critical thinking and learning outcomes, but reliance on technology may result in missing out on the immersive experience of fully engaging with educational materials.

As AI becomes increasingly integrated into daily life, experts emphasize the collective responsibility to determine its ethical and beneficial use.

Seneca hopes to teach students that when used wisely, artificial intelligence has the potential to greatly enhance critical thinking and accelerate analytical procedures. This collaboration will prepare students for the “workforce of the future”.



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