U-M developing online courses about GenAI in workplace


The University of Michigan is developing more than 35 short online courses in 2024 that will build learners’ generative artificial intelligence skills and competencies, with most launching by July.

The courses feature contributions from 16 faculty members representing eight of U-M’s schools and colleges and are being developed in collaboration with the Center for Academic Innovation.


“Generative AI is transforming teaching and learning in higher education, just as it has the potential to transform jobs and industries across our society,” said Laurie McCauley, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

“These courses, developed by our world-class faculty at the university in partnership with the Center for Academic Innovation, will allow learners to build skills they can use to advance their careers and build vital new job skills.”

The center has been developing online learning opportunities focused on generative artificial intelligence technology since shortly after ChatGPT launched in November 2022. To date, its “ChatGPT Teach-Out,” “Generative AI Teach-Out” and short online course “Generative AI Essentials: Overview and Impact” have seen more than 20,000 enrollments.

“The University of Michigan is leading the way in AI education, and we received tremendous interest from U-M faculty eager to help others understand and apply AI knowledge and tools and help leaders adopt responsible AI practices,” said James DeVaney, associate vice provost for academic innovation and the center’s founding executive director.

“This initiative is also providing an opportunity to engage with faculty members who are new to the center and aim to share their expertise with a world of learners who are seeking valuable, trusted information about these technologies and their implications for individuals, teams, organizations and society.” 

The courses will be shorter than a traditional open online course and feature a mix of fundamental knowledge building and skill building in using generative AI tools in various industries. The more concise format and focus on essential concepts and skills will enable working professionals to fit these courses into their free time and incorporate AI tools into their work lives, DeVaney said.

The courses are being developed in waves, with the first release expected at the end of May. Subsequent releases will commence in May, June and July.

Major courses set to debut by July include:

  • “Llama2 for Python Software Developers,” which guides software developers using Meta’s Llama2 large language model for code generation.
  • “Generative AI in Business: A Tactical and Strategic Guide,” which focuses on how organizations can incorporate AI strategies into business operations.
  • “AI for Lawyers,” to build lawyers’ skills in using AI tools in their work. 

There also will be courses designed for mechanical engineers, learning-experience designers and organizational leaders with skill-building courses to use in their industries.

Other courses will provide a more foundational understanding of generative artificial intelligence. They include courses on:

  • The mechanics of large language models, designing quality prompts and general AI training.
  • The ethical considerations of AI technologies and how people can appropriately support and develop the technology in the future.
  • How to make learners conversant and proficient in understanding and using the most popular AI platforms.
  • AI’s impact on creativity and creative industries.

“This first set of courses will provide learners with a mix of foundational knowledge, important perspectives on issues of ethical use, navigating disruption in the workforce, and how to lead in the era of AI,” said Nola Czarnik, director of content and platform strategy at the CAI.

“It will also provide targeted upskilling opportunities for people in specific industries looking to build their skills and explore how this technology can help them advance their careers.”


Leave a comment

Commenting is closed for this article. Please read our comment guidelines for more information.