Digital Communications team update – October 2023

Richard Rooney
Tuesday 31 October 2023

Latest updates from the Digital Communications team at the University of St Andrews for October 2023.

Can ChatGPT design a university website?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is on everyone’s mind right now. But should we be excited? Should we be worried? Should we be both?

These were questions high on the agenda on Friday 27 October when the Digital Communications team gathered for our first in-person symposium day.

These events, previously held online, are where we present and discuss topics we have been studying as part of our 5% time. The aim of setting aside this time is to explore developments in information technology and prepare for challenges and opportunities ahead.

No other technology poses such a fascinating mix of threat and opportunity as AI – and the Digital Communications team are continually working to build our knowledge and understanding.

Lewis Wake posed the question: Can ChatGPT design a university website? As his live demonstration showed, the answer is: “Not really. At least not yet.” It still needs a human in charge.

Nick Mullen continued the theme, showing how an AI engine can be trained to scrape information from any digital source, analyse, and then build web pages and sites on the fly. Once again, the power still lies with the human training the engine. But for how long?

Lauren Sykes reviewed the different AI tools available for public use, and Peter Woodbridge explored how AI is already making recently cutting-edge services like Alexa look stale and out of date.

Finally, Tommy Oldfield looked beyond AI and into the world of extended reality and where the digital student experience might be heading.

Back in the here and now, other topics included:

  • third party content
  • optimising university content for search
  • how we read and process content
  • digital asset management
  • digital transformation lessons
  • comparison of website analysis tools
  • web rendering.

It was a great day and a great way to learn from each other. Look out for follow-up blogs very soon.

Guides work continues

In a previous update we talked about the launch of new mobile-friendly guides for Student Services in support of Orientation Week.

This exciting new format allows us to review and simplify information that has built up across the University website over the years. It also helps make the content easier to find via search. Developing guides will continue as an approach to improving content on the website.

If you are interested in guides and discussing better ways to present the information you share on the University website, please email: [email protected].

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