Australian university uses Microsoft Teams and AI to reduce dropout rate

Australian university uses Microsoft Teams and AI to reduce dropout rate
Question bot provides engineering students at the University of New South Wales with 24/7 support

Elly Yates-Roberts |

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia is using Microsoft Teams and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the student experience and reduce the dropout rate. A specially designed chatbot called Question bot provides students with 24/7 support.  

With 17,000 engineering students, senior lecturer David Kellermann developed and deployed Microsoft Teams to promote collaboration and communication. He also created the AI-infused Question bot using the QnA Maker Azure machine learning cognitive service. It uses machine learning to build a body of knowledge to answer student queries, and can direct users to the exact point in Stream lecture videos to illustrate relevant issues. 

“I use QnA Maker, a Cognitive Service on Azure, in order to train the AI of the bot,” said Kellerman. “Within a couple of weeks, it started answering questions on its own. But not just that, Question Bot was also able to direct the students back to the conversations where their peers had been talking about similar problems. That’s reconnecting people and building learning communities.” 

Using Teams, Kellerman and UNSW have been able to identify those students who are at risk of dropping out so that they can personally reach out to support them. The data from the platform informs Kellermann of the early warning signs, such as a sudden slip in marks or reduced engagement with the bot. 

Find out more about how UNSW is helping its students

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