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14 January 2021

Q&A bot that answers student queries in Microsoft Teams

Deakin recently ran a pilot trial of a Q&A bot that answers routine student queries in Microsoft Teams. The bot integrates with Microsoft Teams class environments and uses artificial intelligence to build a body of knowledge about the unit with a focus on unit administration. Students can then ask the bot questions in a designated Q&A channel in Microsoft Teams and receive answers about assignment deadlines and locations of learning resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Using the Q&A bot in a unit 

Dr Elicia Lanham, Senior Lecturer in Information Technology, piloted the Q&A bot in her Microsoft Teams class environment as part of the unit Database and Information Retrieval. 

Elicia found that using Microsoft Teams in teaching and learning facilitated communication between students and instructors. Microsoft Teams has made it easier for students to post questions for their peers and unit chairs, leading to a spike in student engagement that has extended and enhanced classroom learning. 

Some of these questions are routinely administrative in nature and could potentially be answered using a Q&A bot, freeing up the academic to concentrate on questions that require higher-order thinking to dig deeper into the learning materials. 

Watch the video where Dr Isma Seetal from the Digital Learning Innovation team speaks to Elicia about how she used Microsoft Teams and the Q&A bot in her unit. 

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Implementation of the Q&A bot 

The Emergent Technologies, AI and Big Data team from Deakin’s IT hub, e-Solutions is leading the pilot of the bot for Deakin. The team has been working closely with Elicia on its implementation in the Microsoft Teams class environment for her unit. 

The team is also leading a pilot of using the Q&A bot within CloudDeakin unit sites, positioning Deakin as the first university in Australia to experiment with its use in the D2L environment. 

Watch the video with where Isma speaks with Alan Longmuir, Emergent Technologies Manager, who gave a demonstration of how the bot works.

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Resources for Deakin Staff

You can learn more about using Microsoft Teams in teaching and learning through the training resources, Microsoft Teams student support and the Microsoft Teams use case library. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the Q&A bot to support students you can contact Alan Longmuir. 

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