COMN 3900

Kelly Parke

Taught by Course Director Kelly Parke, COMN 3900 gave a basic understanding of how Artificial Intelligence has evolved from science fiction to reality, how humans have struggled to adapt to this new human/machine daily interaction and its impact on our daily lives.

The course explored various viewpoints on the benefits/problems of this precarious relationship and various emerging careers looming on the horizon.

The curriculum covered modules such as the early history of A.I, how humans communicate with machines, how it evolved, and its ethical considerations.

The learning outcomes included identifying social, economic and technological influences that shaped the development of Artificial Intelligence. Creating new solutions to AI challenges, and discussing ethical considerations in AI policy.

The semester concluded with a Machine / Human Design Project where the students had to submit a written paper and present.

We caught up with a few students and got their feedback on this great new course!

Student Profiles

Franci Kembora

What kind of assignments/projects did you do?
We had 3 groups that each had to focus on an assignment that deals with AI in order to solve a problem of our choosing. Our assignment was focused on using AI to try to help cope with and deal with mental health. Every week, we learned new techniques and build on our assignment until the last class where we had to converge all of our ideas in our project and present our project.
What was your overall experience?
I absolutely loved this class! I enjoyed the professor who was knowledgeable. More than that, the concepts in class were great. My personal favorite part of class was that every week just built on the skills from the previous week. It is very different to how most other classes are taught were you just learn new concepts and ideas and are forced to memorize them. We were always given time as a class and groups to build and work on our skills.
What skill sets did you develop throughout the process?
For me personal, it helped to build on my skills when it came to things such as design and innovation. It helped with the planning phases but also taught us how to scale our projects. For our project specifically, we had a lot of great ideas but it started to lose its focus. During the duration of the course, with the weekly lectures and lessons, we were able to pinpoint exactly what we wanted to focus on project on. After deciding on this, the course also helped us to gain skills from taking this idea and being able to pitch it. Throughout the whole class, we were consistently working on our critical thinking without even noticing it.
How has this prepared you for a career?
This course was perfect as I am looking to go to Human-Centered Design. It helped me to acquire certain skills and essentially lined my expectations up with what I was must learn and know. Originally I took this class because the AI concept of it interested me and I needed a 3000 credit, but after spending a full semester, this course ended up being exactly what I needed. I took this course randomly but luckily for me, it was focused on a lot of the aspects I will try to pursue in my Master's Degree.
If you had to recommend this course to someone, what would you say?
I would tell them about the professor and his teaching methods. I would explain what we did during the course and I would explain the skills gained from this course. The knowledge learnt and exchanged in this course is cross-disciplinary. It does not matter what your major or area of study is. This course will give you skills no matter if you want to be a CEO, a UI/UX designer or even a an engineer or architect. These are skills that not only contribute to your professional career but your personal life as well.

Isabella Akaliza

What kind of assignments/projects did you do?
We did a lot of group projects and assignments. A lot of them required us to be innovative and think of AI technology that could really help humanity.
What was your overall experience?
It was a great class. One of my favourites in my 4 years at University.
What skill sets did you develop throughout the process?
Critical thinking and how to work in a team. As well as how to pitch ideas, and present.
How has this prepared you for a career?
It allowed me to expand my creativity. I learnt a lot of different techniques on how to think outside of the box.
If you had to recommend this course to someone, what would you say?
This is a great course that is very different from your other COMNS courses. You will learn a lot about AI technology and communication. Your ability to think creatively will be enhanced.

Hibra Skendi

What kind of assignments/projects did you do?
We did an individual presentation, write ups and a group presentation.
What was your overall experience?
My overall experience was great, this was my favourite class of the semester.
What skill sets did you develop throughout the process?
I developed better communication skills and problem solving skills.
How has this prepared you for a career?
This class has prepared me for a career by strengthening the skills I mentioned above.
If you had to recommend this course to someone, what would you say?
I would say this course was very interesting and Professor Kelly was great.