Deployment of Intelligent Agents

By Hanika Bhojwani-Chen

Why did I implement the strategy?

I use many Learning Management System (LMS) tools in my courses, varying them based on the course delivery modality. For reminding students of upcoming deliverables and timelines, I rely on LMS tools – news and calendar. This works well for my synchronous (face-to-face and hybrid) classes because I always remind students in-class to check the news page and course calendar.

Currently (Fall 2020), I am teaching an asynchronous course. The main challenge I faced in the first two weeks was that students were not logging in to the course, and hence my postings on the LMS (reminders on news page, calendar or any other information) were not being viewed. I knew that graded assessments would start coming due soon. I reminded students (via email) to subscribe to course notifications but still, I did not have much success. I could have emailed reminders to the entire class, but I wanted to target only those students who had ‘not done the work’.

Therefore, I did not want to send blanket emails to all students. Mass emails can be annoying for those students who are on track with their timelines. I realized that since it is an asynchronous course, and a new modality for many students, maybe students just forgot to login to the course as there is no scheduled class on their timetable.

What did I do?

I went through the Academic Continuity Toolkit (a Centennial-specific collection of resources to support faculty teaching during the pandemic) looking for ‘something I could use’. Thanks to the amazing COLT team for putting all the resources in an easy to learn-easy to use format. I came across ‘Intelligent Agents’ tool and tried it. For trial, I created a reminder notification email to be sent 2 days before the closing date of a graded discussion board – specifically to those students who had not posted to the graded discussion topic.

How did it work out for me and my students?

Many students emailed me back, thanking for the reminder notification. I was impressed with the outcome as a large number of students made their posts on the graded discussion board after receiving the reminder notification I had created using intelligent agents. Subsequently, I set up various intelligent agents for different deliverables in the asynchronous course. My purpose for using this LMS tool is to remind students (not overwhelm them with emails and information) so they are on track to succeed. Intelligent Agents can also be used to give students ‘a pat on the back’ when they do well (similar to awards tool). At the end of the day, my goal is student success (same for all educators). We all try to do the best we can using whatever tools that work in our specific situations; but by sharing best practices we can enhance collective knowledge and together we can prepare our students for career success.

About Hanika Bhojwani-Chen

I teach in The Business School at Centennial College. As an educator, my teaching goal is to make my students think and to guide them to success through their individual learning experience. It is my intellectual responsibility to make my students embrace critical thinking and independent thought. I believe in continuous improvement and ‘good’ can be made ‘better’. My three passions are – business education, teaching/learning and edtech.