The virtual assistant also allows for proactive messaging to student populations. These "nudges" provide information on university resources, events, deadlines, and more. We will be sharing more information in the following weeks as the project launches.
Faculty and Staff,
The final weeks of the semester are upon us. I’m certain you and your students feel the energy and the anxiousness as we work towards final exams. Know that the learning centers (Academic Success Center, Academic Success Center, Math Lab, STEM Student Success Center, and Writing Center) are open and available to students. The heart of these centers is well-trained peer educators. In addition to providing support right now, we are preparing for the next academic year. I encourage you to compliment your students’ successful academic work by recommending them for paid positions in one of our centers. See the call below.
Students may need more than academic support. As you likely now know, Cougar Care Network (CCN) is CSUSM’s innovative early support initiative that allows Faculty and Staff to refer students for additional information, resources, and support to ensure their personal and academic success. If you think a student needs support, he or she likely does. Vist the Cougar Care Network site or read below for more information.
Finally, I close with news of additional support for students. The Office of Undergraduate Studies (OUGS) welcomes Dr. Tasos Lazarides who serves as our Innovation & Engagement Specialist and Ms. Amanda Tomanek as the Academic English Specialist in the Writing Center. Thanks to an Irvine Foundation Grant, OUGS joins a 7-member CSU consortium that will launch artificial intelligence chatbots for first-year students on each of our campuses. Read below on the ways this tool will support incoming students and free resources for addressing more complex requests.
Best wishes in the final weeks of the semester!
Dawn M. Formo, Ph.D.
Dean, Undergraduate Studies
Division of Academic Affairs
Recommend Students for Paid Positions as Learning Center Tutors and Supplemental Instruction Leaders
Celebrate the academic success of your students by recommending them for positions as peer educators! The Centers for Learning and Academic Success Services (Writing Centers, Math Lab, Academic Success Center, STEM Student Success Center) are looking to hire peer educators for Fall 2019. As in previous semesters, the center directors are looking to our faculty partners, whose knowledge of student skills is invaluable, to refer students for potential employment as tutors and Supplemental Instruction leaders.
If you have any students in mind that would make great peer educators, please fill out this very short form and let them know they have been recommended. We know how much students appreciate professors acknowledging their hard work.
Working with a student who needs help now?
Refer a student to the Cougar Care Network
What Is the Cougar Care Network (CCN)?
Consortium: CSU, Northridge is the lead campus. CSU, San Marcos; California Polytechnic University, Pomona; CSU, Channel Islands; Humboldt State University, CSU East Bay; and Sonoma State University.
CSUSM Award: $137K
CSUSM and the six campuses listed above have formed a consortium with the goal of using chatbot, or virtual assistant, technology to provide comprehensive student support initially for incoming freshmen (with a plan for expanding in the future). With the support of an Irvine Foundation Grant, this project will be launching in Fall 2019. The goals of the project are to improve student outcomes, including, but not limited to, retention, progress to degree, GPA, and social belonging.
The consortium is partnering with AdmitHub, an edtech company that has developed and successfully deployed a higher-ed focused virtual assistant. Students will communicate with this virtual assistant through text messaging at any time of the day. Research has shown that such virtual assistants allow students to locate important information (for instance, financial aid deadlines and support, advising hours, registration deadlines, and much more) faster and more effectively than navigating multiple webpages, and we hope our virtual assistant will do the same for our students. By answering lower order questions, the virtual assistant frees university resources for addressing more complex and individualized requests.
This virtual assistant broadly operates in the following manner:
- Uses artificial intelligence to translate student requests (text messages) into data
- Analyzes the data to identify the information a student is requesting
- Locates that information in a constantly expanding knowledge base containing all pertinent CSUSM information
- Selects the appropriate pre-constructed response containing that information
- Delivers the information (including appropriate links) to the student through text messaging using a conversational tone
If the virtual assistant cannot respond to a student's request, it forwards the request by emailing an appropriate staff member to ensure the student receives the information requested