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Help Students Reach Their Full Potential with QBot

As the impact of COVID-19 continues around the world, enhance remote learning by creating a teaching and learning community and personalising the student experience using world-first AI infused technology. 

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What is the“QBot Fast-Track”?

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Antares Solutions has expanded its product range to help education providers leverage with QBot rapidly and at scale.

We understand the enormous burden currently faced by universities across the world and Antares has developed a Fast Track program, enabling teaching and learning institutions to quickly and efficiently roll out QBot in only a couple of weeks. Designed to allow educators to trial our Teaching and Learning framework with minimum involvement from your IT team. Let Antares do the technical stuff and you can concentrate on teaching.

We are proud to announce our work creating QBot recently took home the win at the CRN Impact Awards in the Customer Experience category!

What is QBot?

As technology unlocks new ways to engage, collaborate and learn, how can education providers adapt to prevent the student voice from getting lost in the noise? As digital native students come to expect a system that allows them to form a community as they learn, QBot provides the answer.

Antares Solutions is the Microsoft Gold Partner that developed QBot, a personalised chatbot for education, in partnership with Microsoft.

“Question Bot” aka “QBot”, is a world-first, AI-infused chatbot that answers student queries. It is a community learning application that helps humans interact. QBot uses machine learning and AI to build a body of knowledge that students can tap for 24/7 support.

A version of QBot is also available on GitHub. This version has all the basic features of UNSW’s initial implementation, however for education institutions that wish to take advantage of further advanced features, we recommend getting in touch with us about the QBot Fast-Track. QBot comes equipped with an array of capabilities and can also be implemented in a non-educational setting.

If you need assistance with the development and integration of QBot in your organisation, get in touch with us.

How can QBot help with remote learning during COVID-19?

In the face of the current COVID-19 pandemic Antares Solutions has expanded its product range to help education providers leverage QBot quickly and at scale.

We understand the enormous burden currently faced by universities across the world and Antares has pledged to extend our services to all interested parties. We have released an upgraded version of QBot to help with the governance and rollout of online learning.

The new version is a templatised scalable solution for clients that allows for auto-provisioning of Teams with QBot. This latest development allows clients to provision Teams across their institution leaning on best practices from Antares.

This latest version of QBot has been built for rapid deployment during COVID-19 and aims to reduce time to implementation for universities as well as reducing complexity and costs. One implementation can now allow QBot and Teams to be deployed across an entire institution.

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The future of education

Gen Z are digital natives and have grown up with the presence of rapid technology change. Traditional, passive teaching methods that involve an instructor standing in front of a whiteboard aren’t the most effective method in engaging with this generation. Whilst technology in the educational space is something new, it’s just another part of everyday life for these youth.

Just like how the mode of work is changing, the role of the teacher is also shifting. Digital natives strive for a model of learning that matches the way they communicate – via the usage of digital technology. Traditionally, teachers were the one source of knowledge that students could obtain information from but that isn’t the case anymore. Multimedia platforms such as Google and YouTube are all sources for learning beyond the classroom. Passive learning is not an effective method in transferring knowledge to this generation and can be more bad than good, as made evident by the high failure rates for lecture classes.

Gen Z are after always-on learning where they are stimulated to take control of their own education. The rise of the internet has given them unlimited options in accessing learning materials no matter where or when. Learning is no longer constrained to a certain time, location or curriculum and can be done even on the go.

It’s essential that educational institutions are aligning teaching with the current world by equipping students with the skills required to thrive in a digital world. This transformation is beyond simply doing what traditional education has always done but now on a digital platform. Schools need to support both educators and students with the necessary tools and resources that mirror the constantly changing technology landscape.

Whilst teachers will still be a core facilitator in how students learn, technology will play a central role in preparing these digital natives with the necessary skills to face the uncertain future. Technology and digital connectivity have guaranteed spots in the current world and even more so for the foreseeable years. It is without doubt that bots for education and other artificially powered tools will be the gamechanger and new norm in the delivery of knowledge. Unsurprisingly, the way that digital natives engage with new forms of technology is now so natural that they are often more comfortable conversing with a bot than a human agent.

QBot complements the always-on learning model that Gen Z is after by providing them with a virtual teaching assistant that is ready to assist whenever, wherever. Technology is second nature to these individuals and when incorporated in the education space provides them with the on-demand mode of learning that they’re accustomed to. As a chatbot for educational institutions, QBot bridges the gap in active learning by engaging students in a way that is consistent with their everyday life. Students are challenged to continuously learn beyond the classroom and take control of how they absorb information.

QBot for Education

Teams

Microsoft Teams is a digital hub that brings conversations, content, and apps together in one place. Educators can create collaborative classrooms, connect in professional learning communities, and communicate with school staff – all from a single experience in Office 365 Education.

QBot leverages Microsoft Teams combined with specific features and tools to improve user engagement and help develop an online learning community. All participating courses will have their own team, which is comprised of a pre-defined channels and tabs configuration leveraging our experience of delivering an online classroom best practice experience.

 

QBot

QBot is an AI enhanced bot that helps guide students to answers by connecting the relevant people and facilitating an online learning community. QBot can help to greatly reduce administrative tasks by removing the need to answer the same question multiple times. QBot can also enhance the learning experience by leveraging multiple resource bases such as lecture recordings, notes and past comments to help students learn.

Foundational Features of QBot

  • Mobile friendly
  • Available via the Posts tab in public channels
  • Interact with the bot by tagging “@QBot”
  • Q&A Maker Cognitive Search (not keyword search)
  • Responds with a pre-approved answer or tags a human subject matter expert to help answer the question
  • All students can help answer the unanswered questions
  • The person asking the question or tutor/unit coordinator can select the right answer

QBot is transforming how students learn, interact and collaborate

For forward-thinking education institutions, these tools have limitless potential – from improving student engagement, to achieving better learning outcomes.

The UNSW story: Create a revolution in education

THE EXAMPLE

What made QBot at UNSW great?

QBot is currently being rolled out with a number of universities, following its success at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

The solution is leading the way in a global change in how higher education is delivered.

A recent study shows that the application of AI in education and learning will soon increase by 47.5%. Therefore chatbots will become the new normal for education institutions in the near future. With bots here to stay, there is no doubt that the use of AI will grow even more rapidly, not only in education, but in every industry.

At UNSW, the education bot was able to transform previously ambiguous terms like ‘personalised learning’ and ‘quality education at scale’ into tangible and measurable outcomes through a unified and integrated platform.

The personalised learning model has been associated with a myriad of educational benefits such as increased learning engagement, more motivate students and better end results. Its flexibility and movement away from the rigid one size fits all learning approach means that personalised learning is only going to increase in the very near future as more educational institutions realise the value it offers to students. Chatbots for schools will also be progressively integrated within the learning environment to enhance communication and complement this learning approach.

CASE STUDY

QBot Revolutionises Education at UNSW, Sydney

When the University of New South Wales’ School of Mechanical and Manufacturing engineering needed help developing a collaboration platform harnessing artificial intelligence capabilities, it called on Cloud Collective alliance partner, Antares Solutions to find the answer.

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THE PROBLEM

Managing engagement

After adopting Microsoft Teams, the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing engineering experienced a rapid uptake in students engaging with the platform. Teams was creating a forum for students to ask questions and interact. However, this outcome also created a problem. So many questions were being asked, tutors could not keep up with the chatter.

As Dr. David Kellermann puts it, “when one student reaches out and asks a question and you miss it: that’s a lost opportunity to connect with that single person”. The university staff realised they needed a way to reach out to these numerous students, and quickly turned to Microsoft and Antares Solutions for the answer.

THE SOLUTION

QBot, and more

A chatbot is an automated program that conducts a conversation, through text or speech, and delivers a contextual response. When added to Microsoft Teams, the chatbot, Question Bot rapidly boosted student engagement and assisted with personalised learning in the classroom. As each student learnt the course material at their own pace, the education chatbot was able to adequately support each of them by providing them with a platform that engaged with them according to their learning preferences.

The university bot answered questions faster and more comprehensively, freed up educators’ time to focus on individuals, and helped make students feel a part of a learning community.

UNSW’s School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering experienced a 900% increase in discussion posts after we integrated QBot into Microsoft Teams for them. Features were then added, building off the foundation of the education bot. Moving beyond the capabilities of a chatbot, the technology stepped up to another level, incorporating personalised study packs, student scorecards, and the automated marking of student papers.

THE RESULTS

Results from staff and students were overwhelmingly positive

The simplified flow and structure of information, aligned with student and course formats, provided faculty more time to spend on meaningful work and quality engagement with students, rather than trying to keep up with asked and answered questions. As students were responsible for their own learning and absorption of course material, QBot provided an avenue that empowered them to make their own choices in achieving their learning goals. This introduced the personalised learning model into their studies by increasing their engagement with the course, as challenging topics and areas were quickly resolved with appropriate guidance.

Once additional features of QBot were implemented, results improved even more greatly as students received personalised and optimised study packs which were able to increase the pass rate from 65% to 85% for the engineering course. Since this time QBot has been developed even further, with the solution able to complete automated marking of student papers, and provide complex analysis of student data.

The unprecedented technology improvements had and continue to have a positive impact on culture, and opened new doorways to information exchange and learning, allowing students to reach their full potential.

“The technology is there to facilitate and make us more efficient so we can have more quality engagement with students.”

Dr David Kellermann, UNSW Lecturer

NEXT STEPS

If you want to know more about QBot, or what was implemented at UNSW

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