Projekt KNIGHT - Researching Artificial Assistance for Teaching and Learning

How can AI improve learning processes and facilitate administrative tasks?

In the new KNIGHT project, the Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences is researching how learning processes can be supported automatically, but also how teaching staff can be relieved of administrative tasks and advising. HFT Stuttgart will receive funding of 1.9 million euros from the federal-state program "AI in Higher Education" over the next four years.

The Center for Digitization in Research, Teaching and Business (ZeDFLoW) at HFT Stuttgart is intensively engaged in the digitization of teaching. The focus of the KNIGHT project is to individualize student learning processes as well as to support teachers in their supervisory tasks and to build competencies that promote the trustworthy and competent use of AI technology. In KNIGHT, the Center for Sustainable Business and Management (ZNWM) at HFT Stuttgart ensures compliance with ethical, legal and data protection aspects.

"Currently, feedback for students is usually limited to individual courses. So far, there is no integrated system that maps the entire learning process of students individually," explains the KNIGHT research group. As a result, the performance requirements are based less on the individual abilities of the students and more on the performance average. The use of AI assistance systems offers the opportunity to change this.

Develop ethical guidelines

AI assistance systems should be developed, tested, and AI skills strengthened at the same time. "Although AI is already included in many modules in information technology disciplines, the further expansion of AI content is imperative due to dynamic market developments in order not to miss the technological boat," the researchers emphasize. Likewise, teachers, students and employees often know little about ethical, legal and data protection aspects of using AI.

The Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences has set itself the goal of taking a leading role in the use of AI in teaching. To this end, a multi-layered model is being implemented in the KNIGHT project to reconcile different user groups, needs and activities. The following areas will be developed:

  • A competence matrix based on data protection and ethical guidelines
  • A database for analyzing learning progress using learning analytics
  • AI tools for learning process support for teachers and learners

Transfer to society

The research group plans to implement existing and new approaches with the potential to disseminate them within and outside HFT Stuttgart. Ethical guidelines guarantee transparent processes and thus ensure the responsible handling of sensitive, personal data. In addition, specific AI teaching programs in AI-related technical but also non-technical disciplines will be established. The activities and results will be transferred to industry and society via existing and new networks across universities.

Planned measures

Focus on improving higher education

  • Development of a digital competence matrix as an orientation for the collection and visualization of learning analytics (LA).
  • Establish privacy and ethical guidelines for data collection and analysis of personal (student) data to ensure transparency, verifiability, and build trust.
  • Investigating the possibilities for AI-based interaction analysis in digital spaces, so that students can, for example, receive personal feedback on their collaboration in so-called break-out sessions even without the presence of instructors.
  • Strengthening of AI competence through the early announcement and filling of a professorship from the Department of Surveying with a new denomination in the field of AI.

Focus on study and qualification offers:

  • Expansion of offerings in the curriculum as well as (further) development of existing study examination regulations (SPO) in order to strengthen the AI competencies of future graduates.
  • Reflecting learning success back to students through an LA platform with integrated AI tools.
  • Reflecting the learning success of the students back to the professors in compliance with data protection and ethical rules.
  • Development of competence-oriented teaching-learning offers that are individually adapted to the learning progress of the students.
  • Expansion of continuing education measures for comprehensive AI competence for lecturers as well as university employees.
  • Expand extracurricular offerings, especially with a focus on ethical AI reflective competence on economic, social, legal, and ethical concerns.
  • AI-lectures as an expansion of the existing ETHIKUM guest lectures and conference series.

The interdisciplinary project consortium is composed of Prof. Dr.  Heusch, Prof. Dr.  Pado, Prof. Dr. Popović, Prof. Dr. Rausch and Prof. Dr. Uckelmann (project lead) as well as numerous research assistants.

Further information: Project website

Contact person

Dieter Uckelmann
Dieter Uckelmann +49 711 8926 2632
Publish date: 14. December 2021 By Susanne Rytina ()