Teaching Tool: Using Intelligent Agents to Foster Student Success

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Monitoring student progress and activity in an eConestoga course shell is a key responsibility in teaching. However, these tasks often require significant Faculty time and can challenge approaches to providing consistent student support. One effective solution is using the Intelligent Agent tool, which can save time and enhance instructor presence by facilitating better communication for student engagement and personalized feedback.

What is an Intelligent Agent?

An intelligent Agent is a tool in eConestoga that monitors a course for a particular activity that matches specified criteria. These criteria can be a range of things, including log-in activity, course and assessment progress. Intelligent agents can also be used to craft customizable messages that are automatically emailed to individual learners when they complete a particular task.

How can an Intelligent Agent Support Your Teaching?

Let’s look at the various applications of this tool and how it can be utilized to support your teaching and student success.  

Student Engagement

You can set the tool criteria to identify students with low engagement in the course, potentially indicating they are a Student At-Risk. Agent correspondence can encourage students who have not logged into the course for several weeks or have not viewed a particular module or content page to re-engage with their learning.

Assessments

You can set the criteria to recognize when a student has missed an assessment and email them a reminder of when it was due. You can also include information about the Program’s late policy and provide supportive encouragement to complete the missed task.

Reminders

You can also use the tool to remind students about upcoming course deadlines or notes to help them stay on track. This could entail emailing them a few days before an assessment is due, reminding them of the last opportunity to participate in a discussion board before it closes, or reminding them to maintain progress on a group project. You can customize the messaging based on your students’ needs and your expectations.

Professor Feedback

Once your agents are active in the course shell, you can review the run logs to identify students who meet the designated criteria. This will provide valuable insights into students needing additional one-on-one support and referrals to college support services.

Tool Set-Up

Setting up this tool and the specific criteria takes time initially, but once your set-up is complete, they run in the background of your course. You can also copy the tool and its settings into future course shells. Be sure to adjust the settings to align with your existing shell.  

Please refer to the Faculty Support resource video on how to set up this tool.

Learn More

To learn more about the setup and technical uses of this tool:

  • Email eConestoga Support with your questions.
  • Attend daily eConestoga Support Virtual Drop-In. You can find details on the eConestoga Homepage.
  • Refer to the Instructor Documentation on this tool from the D2L BrightSpace Community.

By exploring the use of Intelligent Agents, you can automate routine tasks, enable personalized communication and provide timely student interventions that enhance the overall learning experience of your students.

Marcie Chaudet

Marcia Chaudet, Ph.D. (Biological Sciences), has worked in post-secondary education since 2010, supporting faculty and support staff with their teaching development. For the past ten years, Marcia has taught in the biological sciences in both university and college sectors. Marcia specializes in approaches that support students learning in hybrid and online learning environments and empower faculty to take risks in their online teaching.

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