Giving Compass' Take:

• Public community colleges will soon be using AI technology to help their faculty organize data and share documents. 

• In what other ways can AI help streamline processes at community colleges? 

• Read about how AI and VR are changing higher ed instruction. 

North Carolina's public community colleges had a problem. Although the system had a wealth of learning resources faculty members could use to develop their courses, there was no simple way to share and organize those materials across all 58 campuses.

That will soon change, however, with the help of artificial intelligence (AI). Through the machine learning company Tanjo, the community college system is rolling out a custom AI "brain" in the coming months that will map and organize its digital content.

The new tool will be critical to linking faculty to relevant resources, said Richard Boyd, Tanjo's CEO. Rather than wade through thousands of files in disparate places, faculty members will be able to use the AI system to source documents of interest to them from a central location.

The venture marks one of the largest digital mapping efforts in higher education to date. But perhaps more importantly, it shows how colleges can use emerging technologies like AI to streamline back-end tasks.

When colleges do turn over tasks to AI, the time savings can be huge. Although North Carolina's community colleges have yet to see what kind of success they'll achieve with their new system, it could mean far fewer hours spent searching and tagging content.

Much of the attention on AI in higher ed has been focused on its student-facing uses. That's partly because colleges have been able to use it to make progress on a wide range of goals, from reducing summer melt through chatbots to teaching students Mandarin with AI-powered simulations.

And for administrators, the platform can perform data analysis that helps them better understand which courses to offer and when to schedule them. That can be key to improving student retention, a recent Learning House report contends, as learners may drop out of college if required courses aren't available.

Read the full article about colleges are using back end AI by Natalie Schwartz at Education Dive