Adaptive Conversational Agents for Study Skills Development

The development of effective study skills has been shown to be pivotal in shaping the success of students. Within this project we will develop novel conversational agents to aid learners in the development of effective study skills.

  • How can conversational agents be adapted to student needs and personalized based on their preferences?

  • What design factors can influence the reliance on and engagement with the conversational agents?

  • How can conversational agents help students in the processes of study planning, goal setting, and goal monitoring?

Assessing Student Wellbeing Through Interactions With Conversational Agents

Our society has constantly dealt with stress induced by rapid social, cultural and technological change. Prolonged and high levels of stress in students can affect several physiological and psychological bodily functions. Coping with stress is crucial for a healthy lifestyle, and in turn, affects the safety and wellbeing of students. Studies have highlighted the severe shortage of trained counsellors, professional psychologists, and psychotherapists, to meet the growing demand for mental health support across the world. The COVID-19 outbreak has exacerbated this, affecting the mental health of several people. The student population is particularly vulnerable due to the sudden and radical changes in on-campus education. In this project, we aim to build conversational agents that can help tackle specific mental health problems (for example, stress and anxiety) and improve wellbeing of students. How can we seamlessly assess student wellbeing through interactions with conversational agents in educational contexts?

Conversational Agents for Ethics Education

The importance of imparting ethics education to engineering students has been highlighted in recent times. Prior work from the COMET project has found that the learning objective of ‘instilling a sense of engagement, care and sensitivity towards the ethical dimensions of engineering’ underlines a majority of such initiatives. However, little is currently understood about how one can effectively teach ethics as a small component of an otherwise technical or design-oriented curriculum. Conversational agents can potentially serve as an effective means to overcome existing challenges in ethics education. In this project, we will explore the role of conversational agents in supporting education, as well as the ethics underpinning and surrounding the use of conversational agents for education.

Scaling-up Student Supervision With Intelligent Conversational Agents

One of the challenges that teachers around the world are currently facing is the growing classroom sizes. Traditional methods that were meant for student supervision scale poorly to such contexts, and teachers thereby cannot be expected to interact directly with each and every student in the classroom. Having said that, students have been shown to benefit from direct interaction with their teachers and when direct formative feedback is made readily available. In this project, we will explore how conversational agents can support student supervision to tackle this problem.