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Chatbots are a personalized tool for student engagement

Chatbots are rapidly transforming higher education – and now they can become a key driver in increasing student engagement and building school spirit. 

Creating a sense of belonging and community has become increasingly important as universities move into a hybrid approach of online and in-person teaching for upcoming semesters. Past studies suggest that students who feel they belong tend to seek out and use campus resources to a greater extent, which furthers their success. 

Here are 3 ways the University of California, Irvine is keeping their student body engaged through chatbot technology 

Peter the anteater is available 24/7 x 365

UCI is using their chatbot, Peter the Anteater, to engage with students 24/7 and make their interactions speedy, accurate, and interesting. Students’ questions often arise outside of business hours and one of the best things about chatbots is that they are available around the clock for your students to seek out answers at times when staff members are unavailable. In fact, 62% of UCI’s conversations happen out of hours and 23% of all conversations happen over the weekend!

Using student workers effectively

Peter the Anteater allows student workers to get more creative! We recently caught up with Ronald Whitenhill, Associate Director of High School Outreach who said 'you want to develop the students, skill set wise, and allow them to be creative in some spaces. It's not always the answer to have them pick up the phone and answer the question the same way over and over, when we can allow technology to do that.'

Bots have unique personalities

Peter the Anteater is available to chat with students and can advise them on local food spots, the cost of UCI's famous boba, and many other campus traditions. Take a look at what Bryan Jue, Sr. Associate Director, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, and Ronald Whitenhill had to say about creating Peter the Anteater's unique personality.

Here are some tips on how you can personalize your bot

  • Establish a tone of voice – use slang, lingo, humor, wit and don’t forget emojis!
  • Create a distinct personality with a human-like name
  • Design a relevant avatar – check out at what Santa Monica College did with Chirp Bot!

oh yeah…and have fun with it!