Hey Siri, how am I doing on my course?

Of course if you ask Siri today, her reply is, well it depends…


Another response to the same question…


As for tomorrow…. well could it be different?

However for other things intelligent assistants such as Siri, Cortana and Google Now can be a really useful mechanism for finding things out, things you need to do and in many instances fun stuff too.

I have been wondering if we could utilise these technologies and apply it to learning.

We know that most (if not all) people can usually tell when using a chat function on a website when they are talking to a chat bot and when they are talking to a real person.

Could we just not even try and think that the intelligent agent is real and actually play up to the fact it is artificial. Give it a name and even create a personality for it?

This way we could avoid some of those ethical issues about a piece of software trying to pretend to be human. The students know it is not real and it is advertised accordingly.

But could such a tool be an useful thing for students to have access to? One that could learn from its experiences and fine tune it’s responses and interventions?

It doesn’t necessarily have to be voice controlled, users could use text entries.

So what kind of questions could learners ask?

What is the best book for this module?

Where is a quiet place to study on campus?

What other questions could we expect learners to be asking?

2 thoughts on “Hey Siri, how am I doing on my course?”

  1. I’m asking some of these questions myself at the moment. To help answer or consider them, I’ve set up an experimental chatbot to use with Masters students this session in a technology-oriented subject. I’ve been very open with them about the purpose behind the bot. So far, it:
    -allows students to sign up and receive broadcast messages weekly;
    -responds to inputs like ‘week 1’ etc with a listing of topics, readings and tasks for the relevant week
    -provides helpful links for students when asked
    -send a conversational email to me (they answer the bot’s prompts, which then sends the email)
    -has a series of ‘fun’ modules that randomly responds with things like image galleries, youtube videos, and entertaining quotes.

    I’m not sure yet where I go with this, but I can see it being useful for students who access course materials on the go as the bot lives natively inside Facebook messenger, whereas the LMS typically doesn’t work well on mobile.

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