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Harvard's Popular Online Computer Class Will Rely on AI for Help

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instructor David J. Malan at a CS50 lecture in 2016

CS50 taught by David J. Malan has evolved into multiple classes with 1.4 million YouTube subscribers and branded merchandise.

Credit: The Harvard Crimson

The world's most popular online learning course, Harvard University's CS50, is getting a ChatGPT-era makeover.

CS50, an introductory course in computer science attended by hundreds of students on-campus and more than 40,000 online, plans to use artificial intelligence to grade assignments, teach coding, and personalize learning tips, according to Professor David J. Malan.

Even with more than 100 real-life teaching assistants, Malan said it had become difficult to fully engage with the growing number of students logging in from different time zones and with varying levels of knowledge and experience.

His team is now fine-tuning an AI system to mark students' work, and testing a virtual teaching assistant to evaluate and provide feedback on students' programming.

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