Everyone is familiar with the dynamic between a professor and their students. It’s usually a skewed number, with one professor (and possibly the aid of a teaching assistant) to potentially several hundred students who are all demanding time, energy, and resources.

DXtera recently participated in a panel session at UNESCO Mobile Learning Week; an event that convenes education and technology experts from around the world. The session focused on the evolving nature of artificial intelligence in higher education and how chatbots can be used efficiently and effectively in the classroom.

What if there was an easier way to offload some of the administrative tasks of teaching, while still maintaining the same level of engagement and personalization in the classroom? There is, with the help of chatbots. Artificial intelligence has been around for a long time and is commonly used in business-to-business marketing and business-to-consumer marketing. But the emerging role of chatbots in higher education is the natural progression towards efficiency. Chatbots are not meant to replace peer-to-peer or student-to-professor relationships and interactions (regardless of how advanced technology becomes, chatbots will likely never fully address the needs of higher education), but rather, chatbots are intended to bring a conversational aspect to problem-solving in the classroom and beyond.

As the emerging generation of students takes residence in colleges and universities across the world, the need to meet their needs with technology is inevitable. The incoming freshman classes in coming years will have grown up in a world that thrives on cell phones, voice-activated search, and constant accessibility. Being able to get specific answers about their courses and alleviating the need for constant human involvement is the natural next step for higher education. Next Generation by Design and UOC is focused on transforming the way higher education institutions view and utilize data that is critical to the success of their student body. Examining data in real-time, scaling the use of AI and chatbots systematically, and making decisions that impact student retention and engagement (hand-in-hand with AI) is paramount to the success of an institution, and in turn, its student body.