Bookmarked Where are the crescents in AI? | LSE Higher Education (

For me, being critical goes beyond critique and scepticism: it includes subscribing to critical theory and critical pedagogy – developing awareness of social justice issues and cultivating in learners a disposition to redress them. The elements of critical AI literacy in my view are:

  • Understanding how GenAI works
  • Recognising inequalities and biases within GenAI
  • Examining ethical issues in GenAI
  • Crafting effective prompts
  • Assessing appropriate uses of GenAI

Where are the crescents in AI? by Maha Bali

Maha Bali discusses the need for cultivating critical AI literacy. She reflects on ideas and exercises that she has used as a part of her course on digital literacies and intercultural learning. After unpacking each of the areas, with elaborations and examples, she ends with a series of questions to consider:

I think we should always question the use of AI in education for several reasons. Can we position AI as a tutor that supports learning, when we know AI hallucinates often? Even when we train AI as an expert system that has expert knowledge, are we offering this human-less education to those less privileged while keeping the human-centric education to more privileged populations? Why are we considering using technology in the first place – what problems does it solve? What are alternative non-tech solutions that are more social and human? What do we lose from the human socioemotional dimensions of teacher-student and student-student interactions when we replace these with AI? Students, teachers, and policymakers need to develop critical AI literacy in order to make reasonable judgments about these issues.

Where are the crescents in AI? by Maha Bali

This discussion of critical, more than just critique, reminds me of Doug Belshaw’s digital literacies:

  • Digital literacies are about process as much as product
  • Lets move beyond good and evil and focus on choice and consequence
  • Literacy starts with you, curate rather than be curated

In Search of an Understanding of Digital Literacies Worth Having by Aaron Davis

As well as my piece on Cambridge Analytica and the need to critically reflect and ask questions.

I think that the most important thing we can do is wonder. This helps go beyond the how-to to the how-do-they-do-that.

Secret, Safe and Informed: A Reflection on Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and the Collection of Data by Aaron Davis

Replied to One Year into ChatGPT: Resources & Possible Directions for Educators in 2024 by Maha Bali (

This post is about AI and getting ready for the new semester knowing what we now know, roughly one year into ChatGPT taking over our classrooms and media feeds.

Source: One Year into ChatGPT: Resources & Possible Directions for Educators in 2024 by Maha Bali

Maha, I really like how you have summarised the four clear options:

  • Make AI use impossible
  • Discourage AI use by redesigning assessments to forms AI would not perform well
  • Allow AI use within boundaries
  • Allow indiscriminate AI use
Replied to Towards An Ethics of Care in Citation & Openness by Maha Bali (

So my idea of a care ethics of citation and openness is to not assume that anything said or written in the open or shared openly is “up for grabs”, but to try to remember who said it, when you can, who inspired you, and to cite them specifically, not generally. Not a general shout out. Not a tag on Twitter, but a citation for the specific ideas in the article.

I often feel that although I may link to ideas via a hyperlink, it wrongly assumes that someone may actually click to follow the thread. I like the way some people use footnotes or plugins which provide more detail about links. For example, Martin Hawksey’s site. In a different approach, I have started using Chris Aldrich’s browser bookmarklet for giving credit.
Replied to Wellbeing When You Gotta Be Online (

So, obviously, one of the most important thing to maintain wellbeing is to actually get offline a bit!!! But for highly social extroverts like myself and my kid, you need to also socialize w folks, and now that’s mainly going to be online… and you also honestly need to figure out ways to make work stuff work for you when you can… because a good online work meeting can help with wellbeing too. It makes all the difference.

So here are my tips for managing wellbeing when you’ve gotta be online

This is a really useful list Maha, thank you for sharing. I guess care for each other is what matters.

This is a fascinating question. My feelings are that a lot of technology can be used for good and bad purposes.
Replied to Care Is Not a Fad: Care Beyond COVID-19 (Reflecting Allowed)

How do we deal with stress of maintaining rigor and high expectations of learners when teachers and learners alike have cognitive overload influencing their ability to function at their best? Shouldn’t our priorities shift, and then we will learn that we should center our values ANYWAY, not just in times of crisis? Aren’t our relationships with each other the most valuable thing we can offer, when we know that so much other stuff can be learned without human contact? And in relationships, isn’t listening to another person’s needs an important expression of care? Can a critical maternal approach to care also factor in a mother’s role in nurturing autonomy and agency, rather than overprotective care? Can institutions as a whole focus their practices on promoting autonomy and agency rather than making paternalistic decisions on their behalf?

Maha, I really like your point about not getting lost in the ‘new normal’ and using this time to discuss the world we want beyond the crisis. In some ways it reminds me of something Gary Stager wrote:

So, there is reason to celebrate (briefly), but then you must act! Use this time to remake schooling in a way that’s more humane, creative, meaningful, and learner-centered. This is your moment!

In the absence of compelling models of what’s possible, the forces of darkness will fill the void. Each of us needs to create models of possibility.

Care needs to be central.

Bookmarked An Affinity for Asynchronous Learning (Hybrid Pedagogy)

There is something that bothers us about conversations about replacing face-to-face teaching with online learning: they often fall into a trap of assuming that incorporating synchronous interaction is the optimal way to make learning more personable, that it approximates the face-to-face setting closest, and is therefore preferable and better. More often than not, synchronous interaction here implies some form of two-way audiovisual interaction, even though there are text-only forms of synchronous interaction (e.g., Twitter live chat). There are also asynchronous forms of audiovisual interaction (e.g., voicemail, recorded lectures).

But we feel the enthusiasm for audiovisual synchronicity often comes without sufficient discernment, and without deliberative consideration of how asynchronous learning can be not only viable but productive.

Maha Bali and Brad Meier dive into the world of online learning, comparing synchronous and asynchronous learning. The two authors suggest that that asynchronous learning is the only way to properly include all learners. It also promotes deeper learning. The piece ends with a series of useful pedagogical, logistical and ethics questions to consider when making decisions about synchronicity.
Liked Curating Resources for Futurizing Courses! (Reflecting Allowed)

So I’m collaborating with some local colleagues on a Futurize Your Course competition as part of AUC’s Research and Creativity Convention in April. If you are an AUC faculty member or student, instructions are here and the expression of interest form is here:

Replied to How to Conduct a Study & Write a Paper in 10 Days (Reflecting Allowed)

First of all, the answer to this should be NEVER. NEVER EVER DO THIS. Especially if you’re not in a context where you’re fully immersed in it, but actually just got back from a long trip, are starting a new semester, and your kid is starting the school year. Definitely not a good idea.

But I did it. For reasons that make no sense to anyone but myself. I decided to submit a proposal to a CfP on my own rather than with a partner, submitted it slightly late but it got accepted, the I discovered the extremely tight deadline, then submitted to IRB here for ethical approval, and that took time despite their willingness… because… summer. Then I basically had 10 days to deadline.

Although not an ideal scenario Maha, I like how this experience concisely breaks down the process associated with writing a paper. Thank you.
Liked Some Things I Learned in Cape Town (Reflecting Allowed)

You can never fully understand a context until you are immersed in it. I know in 10 days I didn’t suddenly become an expert on South Africa or Cape town. But I did see so many similarities to my own context – this never happens this way in a US or UK context, for obvious reasons. Differences also still huge and i have a lot to learn about decolonizing in this complex context

Bookmarked Turning Points in my Understanding of Virtually Connecting (Reflecting Allowed)

I’m going to do something different. I’m not going to try to do a “complete” autoethnographic account with “turning points” using lots of data. I’m going to do a sample of this, as a model, for others to see. So I’ll use maybe a couple of tweets. And a couple of quotes from a focus group, and one or two photos… that way, I’ve demonstrated the method, but I haven’t taken up all the word count I would take if it was a true autoethnography. I think I’ll keep the full slide deck and perhaps this post will be long enough to cover several turning points… but the idea is that the chapter would include only snippets, and then if someone is truly interested in VConnecting and my experience of it, rather than just the methodological approach, they can read the rest of it on my blog. Win-win situation? Coz not everyone wants to read everything about me or VConnecting anyway. Autoethnography has this slight arrogance that people will be interested in my own experience, anyway… uhhh….

Maha Bali samples some of the points in the journey associated with VConnecting. This included the beginnings, the way it has changed, some of the positives shared, some of the negatives and when things sometimes fail. This is interesting reading, both in regards to the reflective nature of the post, as well as appreciating how VConnecting has evolved.
Bookmarked Tell Me, Learning Analytics… (Reflecting Allowed)

Learning analytics give us data on student behaviors, but they do not provide explanations for these behaviors, so they do not tell the whole story of the human being, what motivates them, what barriers/obstacles stand in their way. They do not get to the root of lack of engagement.

Maha Bali discusses the limitations of learning analytics and what information is left silent.


Learning analytics focus on observable and quantifiable behaviors that are easy for the LMS to collect. When someone logged in, how long they stayed, which tool they used. We don’t know for sure that if analytics tell me someone watched the same video 4 times… if this means they literally sat and watched it 4 times from beginning to end (though some systems do tell how many mins were watched) but we don’t know if they tried again because their internet connection was bad, or because they were distracted by something happening at home, or something else they were doing on their computer at the same time… we just don’t know. We can know that someone has not submitted their last two assignments. But we don’t know why they didn’t submit them, what kind of barriers they were facing, and how to motivate them in future?

Liked Is Feminism Natural or Man-made? (Reflecting Allowed)

My question is…does every social group notice their own exclusion in certain contexts, or does this only happen to minorities or oppressed groups? Or does it just occur much more often to oppressed groups so that seeing it becomes inevitable, whereas dominant groups see it so rarely that it doesn’t become central to their worldview?

Liked Autoethnography on Virtually Connecting part 1 (Reflecting Allowed)

My research paradigm is within interpretive and critical traditions, but also strongly relies on what Laurel Richardson calls “crystallization” (i.e. the same thing can look different if you shed light on it from different angles (poststructuralist). This means I can entertain ideas of VC advocating for justice and challenging and hegemony while also reproducing inequality in some ways.

Liked On Facing Hate (Reflecting Allowed)

I empathize with the Muslims who died in New Zealand both as Muslim who used to live as a religious minority in a Christian country and as Muslim in a Muslim majority country where extremists threaten other religious minorities.

So what do we do? As educators, as citizens, as parents, I believe strongly in promoting empathy, resisting “othering” and promoting a contextual, historical and intersectional understanding of social justice, and this can be an approach to digital citizenship, as I wrote a few years ago. And we need to “know the other” and keep expanding and deepening those ties and bridges.

Bookmarked A New Approach for Listening by Maha Bali (

I am not into frameworks so these are just suggestions for an approach to listening. It may not be rocket science but these are my thoughts…it starts with recognizing that our listening is limited by what we hear (how widely we are exposed to diverse ideas and how deeply we interact with them) and also how we hear (how open we are, how aware of our own biases and where others are coming from) and how we notice what we don’t hear (silence, between lines).

Maha Bali reflects on the different approaches to listening, including widely, deeply, openly, repeatedly, outside, inside, to silence, between the lines and to take action. On the flip side, Bali warns about lip service listening.
Replied to The More I Teach the Less I Preach (republished) by Maha Bali (

I am very sensitive now about the connection between one person’s teaching philosophy, the restrictions the institution puts upon them for their courses, and the interactions in the actual classroom with the particular students they have — and how this all is influenced by the external environment outside the university walls altogether. My acute awareness of the complexity of all of this makes me question my role as faculty developer and how much I can help someone teach better without having insight into the full experience they have every week in class, and what goes on in their own head.

I really like your point about restictions and interactions Maha. I have found the Modern Learning Canvas useful for portraying this.