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Saturday, July 27, 2019

Using AI to Help Students Learn "How to College" | Connections - EDUCAUSE Review

Artificial intelligence can help students learn "how to college." This sets them on the path to graduation and to success far beyond the college or university.

Dawn Medley, Associate Vice-President of Enrollment Management at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI writes, From before our students even set foot on—or return to—our campuses, we are helping them learn "how to college." In doing so, we are setting them on the path to graduation and to success far beyond our college or university.

Photo: PhonlamaiPhoto / iStock / Getty Images © 2019
Wayne State University, much like the city in which it is located, is undergoing a transformation. In six years, the Detroit-based university has increased its graduation rate from 24 percent to 46 percent. That makes Wayne State one of the fastest-improving higher education institutions in the country. I have been fortunate to be a part of this team since 2016, when I was hired as Wayne State's associate vice president for enrollment management. Over the last few years, we have learned much about how to address the problems holding our students back. Across so many of our initiatives, one common lesson stands out. This is also a thread that, unfortunately, binds many US public colleges and universities together in their struggle to make good on the promise of higher education.
What is this lesson/thread/problem? We don't teach students "how to college."...

Clearly, we must teach students how to better navigate college as a system. Consider the following common scenarios:
  • A teenager, the first in her family to be accepted into a college, grows frustrated with the byzantine financial aid process and simply gives up before her first day of class.
  • A sophomore struggles to find an affordable place to live off-campus.
  • A working mother repeatedly skips class because she is unable to find short-term care for her children.
As higher education institutions across the country become more and more diverse, students are increasingly facing these kinds of barriers...

"W the Warrior" is not a passive assistant. When records indicate that a student has yet to submit an important document (e.g., a high school transcript), the chatbot will message the student, offering both a reminder and further assistance. When students approach the chatbot asking for help, W assists them by providing not only answers but also guided questions. Machine learning allows W to provide better answers to students' questions as more students interact with it.
Read more... (PDF)

Source: EDUCAUSE Review