• Staffordshire University to use AI to support students

        • Staffordshire University has teamed up with 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.

          Andrew Proctor, Director of Digital Services at Staffordshire University said, “the vast majority of our students have a perpetual online presence across multiple devices, and a strong preference for on-demand, instant responses to queries. Previously responding to each individual query took time but by introducing Beacon, students can interact and get responses instantaneously any hour of the day or night. Not only this, but Beacon also gets in touch with students to provide them with personalised, timely and relevant information and nudge them towards actions and activities that will maximise their experience and attainment. 

          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.” 

          Students will be able to access the Digital Coach from their mobile phones interacting via text or voice conversation.

          ANS’ CTO, Andy Barrow added, “Staffordshire university are true trailblazers and are setting the blueprint for the future of higher education across the UK. Over time we expect AI to become interwoven into the fabric of the education landscape, becoming integral to revolutionising the student experience.”

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