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Whilst most of the teachers at Bolton College rely on tea and biscuits to keep them going throughout the day, their latest recruit, Ada, relies on a power cable and cognitive technology.

The Transformation

A new virtual assistant and chatbot called Ada has been transforming the way students engage with Bolton College and has been programmed to respond to over 2,000 student questions in a range of different categories. The chatbot, which is already enhancing teaching, learning and assessment, is simplifying student-facing services, enabling students at Bolton College to access information and insight at a much quicker pace.

The Technology

Ada relies mainly on IBM’s Cognitive Platform and Watson Conversation Service – an application that understands natural-language and responds to students in human-like conversation. Equipped with this software, Ada can respond to general enquiries from students regarding Bolton College and can address more specific study related questions, quickly and easily. Within seconds, students can find out what lessons they are expected to attend and can keep tabs on their own attendance at college. At a more advanced level and with the power of IBM’s cognitive software, Ada has the ability and knowledge to respond to subject specific questions in English and Maths at GCSE level.

Aftab Hussain, the college’s Learning Technology Lead has been heavily involved in the introduction of Ada and says that the “Watson Conversation Service is representative of a new generation of cognitive technologies that help us simplify student-facing services. It transforms the way students get information and insights that support them in their studies.”

The Outcome

Ada fully supports how Bolton College operates and has already generated a positive return on investment and long-term savings for the college. Using the power of cognitive technology and embracing IBM software, schools and college’s can engage students through different communication channels and can enhance the learning experience for their students.

October 4, 2017