Chatbots in Higher Education

We are exploring a new product category that we call Chatbot systems. As we do every time we consider a new product group, we explore and try to understand the purpose of this new system. I decided to share some of the findings with you.

What are they?

Used as a complimentary tool to institutions’ HigherEd software, Chatbot technology is being introduced to the new wave of digitally active students. Used in many different settings already, Chatbots are a form of artificial intelligence that simulates a conversation with the user.

How are they used in Higher education?

In the case of HigherEd institutions, Chatbots are used in the context of responding to queries and helping students navigate mainly through the processes of admission and registration. Some institutions are specifically using a chatbot during what is known as the ‘clearing period’; a period at the end of summer in which students contact universities and colleges to inquire about and apply to courses.

History

This technology has been in use since 2017 in postsecondary institutions and its use is growing exponentially. Up from less than 2% in 2017, it is estimated that 25% of customer service and support operations will be using a virtual assistant in 2020 (Gartner). This is no wonder as Chatbots are available 24/7 providing swift answers for students around the world; a natural evolution of a static Q&A system. This system is not only increasing customer satisfaction, but it is also gathering large amounts to data on incoming and returning students’ inquiries.

Here are the institutions cited in the articles we have initially found.

Name Country Type Degree Enrollment % International Students
Arizona State University US Public 4-years 100,000+ 11%
Bolton College UK Public 4-years 6,425 7%
Georgia State University US Public 4-years 34,316 3%
Leeds Beckett University UK Public 4-years 24,885 5.2%
Northwestern University US Private 4-years 22,127 9%
Staffordshire University UK Public 4-years 14,910 3.8%
University of Adelaide Australia Public 4-years 27,357 26.3%
University of Canberra Australia Public 4-years 13,000 23.4%
University of Memphis US Public 4-years 21,458 2%
West Texas A&M US Public 4-years 10,029 2.2%

Theory

  1. Used mostly by large institutions that get lots applications.

  2. Institutions with a high percentage of international application which are often more time consuming.

Our initial list of products is as follows:

Sources: Terminalfour.Blog (07/18) | Full Fabric | CMO from IDG (12/18) | EdTech (03/18) | Clustaar (03/19) | Medium (05/18) | Inside Higher Ed (02/19) | Virtual Spirits | AdmitHub (08/19) | VentureBeat (01/19) | Forbes (10/18) | TechTalks (04/17)

ChatbotsJustin MenardBlog