Chatbots are seeing increasing utility as an administrative aid…
If you’ve ever communicated with a business via a chatbox, chances are you were actually talking to a robot. Many businesses are using artificial intelligence (AI) to answer common customer questions, and now these little algorithmically-powered assistants may be the next major technology to reshape our classrooms.
Chatbots are highly effective at streamlining any process that’s repetitive and predictable. That makes them ideal for educational institutions, which have many administrative tasks that fit this description. In fact, colleges are already employing these types of informational bots for student technical support and to aid college admittance. AI can help relieve teachers and administrators of repetitive tasks like answering admissions questions or reminding students of assignment deadlines. With only $0.21 out of every dollar actually being spent on instruction, it’s easy to see how chatbots are a welcomed solution for educational budgets that are already over-stretched.
But do students prefer to talk to robots? It’s possible that teenagers and young adults feel put off communicating with AI rather than human helpers. In which case, these personal assistants would have a fairly short lifespan in educational settings. Since there are few studies looking at student attitudes to AI in educational settings, it’s hard to say for sure. However, some recent college AI programs and market surveys around chatbots suggest that these AI bots might be vigorously welcomed by students.
GSU’s “Summer Melt” Chatbot
Georgia State University recently used an AI chatbot named “Pounce” to help incoming freshmen make the transition to college. The University wanted their chatbot to help bring down rates of “summer melt” — that percentage of students who intend to matriculate but don’t actually attend college because of missed administrative steps (e.g. financial aid, registration, enrollment).  GSU used Pounce primarily for outreach.
Like other AI variations, chatbots

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