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Illinois Central College adding new AI certificate program

A patient simulator uses AI-generated responses to "speak" with Health Careers simulation coordinator Greg Love and Illinois Central College president Sheila Quirk-Bailey.
Camryn Cutinello
/
WCBU
A patient simulator uses AI-generated responses to "speak" with Health Careers simulation coordinator Greg Love and Illinois Central College president Sheila Quirk-Bailey.

A new certificate program at Illinois Central College will prepare students to enter the fast-growing field of artificial intelligence.

The one-year program trains students in generative AI that can be used to create text, photos and video.

Professor Rafeeq Al-Hashemi said companies are looking for workers trained in AI.

“AI is changing how we are living, how we are working and playing,” he said. “So, nowadays, AI is in every aspect of our life. AI is in education, and health care, and different other domains that are affecting our lives.”

Students will be trained in machine learning, neural networks and data mining. Students also will learn Python, a programming language used to write some AI applications.

“This program will be a good foundation for our students to start here, and then proceed to the next level,” Al-Hashemi said. “So they will be introduced to all of these technologies, signs and algorithms.”

Read more: Adapting to meet changing needs, ICC is transitioning a majority of its courses to eight-week terms

Al-Hashemi said AI has a variety of uses across fields. He’s currently working on a project to create a “tutoring agent.” The AI agent would provide a customized learning experience for his programming students.

“I want to have this agent to just give feedback without giving the full answers,” he said. “They will tell the student that you have a problem and this line, this statement is incorrect. You have something wrong and with the logic of this program, you need to think about this and that, but will not give the full answer right away.”

Students will be taught about some regulations regarding AI, such as following copyright law. Companies including OpenAI and Microsoft have been sued by news organizations for copyright infringement, and artists have taken legal action against AI companies.

Al-Hashemi said there are some challenges surrounding AI, but students will be trained to use AI ethically.

The course is eligible for the college’s grant-funded IT workforce accelerator program.

Other certificates the college is adding include construction management, cybersecurity analyst and electric vehicle automotive technology. The East Peoria school also is adding a new virtual reality simulator to train EMT students and a new patient simulator that uses AI-generated responses.

Camryn Cutinello is a reporter and digital content director at WCBU. You can reach Camryn at cncutin@illinoisstate.edu.