Staffordshire University has teamed up with leading Cloud Services Provider, ANS Group to become the first University in the UK to deploy an AI-driven coach and support assistant via intelligent Chatbot technology.
Using Microsoft Azure as a foundation, the university has teamed up with ANS to create an intuitive Digital Coach to provide key information and support to students ranging from course timetables, campus facilities and extra-curricular activities.
Aside from responding to popular questions, the Digital Coach, which has since been named, ‘Beacon’, will be used as a crucial tool to build a relationship with students and identify any at-risk individuals who may feel unhappy or unsettled, and provide them with support and guidance.
Ultimately, our goal is to ensure every student has the support and coaching they need to enjoy university life and achieve their full potential and Beacon is certainly helping us to deliver this. Early feedback has been fantastic, and we have a truly ambitious vision and roadmap to leverage AI and develop Beacon to become one of our most important assets.” Andrew Proctor, Director of Digital Services at Staffordshire University
The AI powered bot is helping the university to identify the students that are at the highest risk of dropping out, or failing to attain their desired grades. In this case, tutors can be notified, but Beacon can also offer some nudges and use elements of gamification to motivate students.
Although other universities have developed more basic Q&A bots, Beacon is the most advanced AI-powered variety to date, claims proctor. Beacon is an example of the university’s forward-thinking approach to AI and digital strategy – and might win them a few more places in the league table, too