SAVE THE DATE - Virtual Monthly Meeting on Monday, August 2, 2021, at 9 A.M. (CET)

October 2022 Newsletter

October 2022

Open Access

You might have seen scholarly publications online labelled with Open Access (OA) and you were not sure what it means. The main aim of Open Access is making papers, books, reports and other kinds of publications (also data) open and available to everyone. Those publications are available online and free to download without payment or registration. Such publications make scholarly information and output widely available. It also “increases visibility and reuse of academic research results” (What is Open Access?).

Source:

What is Open Access? What is open access? (n.d.). Retrieved November 2, 2022, from https://www.openaccess.nl/en/what-is-open-access

October 2022

GitHub

GitHub, the Internet hosting service which uses the “octocat” as its mascot. But What is GitHub and what makes it so great?

GitHub is a hosting service for a variety of different projects, but it is mainly known for hosting software projects.  In fact, “GitHub has in recent years become the world’s biggest collection of open source software” (Finley, 2015). Due to an extensive archive and database for codes, GitHub can be a valuable source for all kind of projects, including the VISION project.

Source:

Finley, K. (2015, June 29). The Problem with Putting All the World’s Code in GitHub. Wired. Retrieved November 2, 2022, from https://www.wired.com/2015/06/problem-putting-worlds-code-github/

Let’s Build from Here. GitHub. (n.d.). Retrieved November 2, 2022, from https://github.com/

 

September 2022 Newsletter

September 2022

International Conference: ÖFEB (Austrian Society for Research and Development in the Educational Field)

Sandra Hummel, the project coordinator and team member at the University of Graz, presented VISION’s chatbot at the ÖFEB (Austrian Society for Research and Development in the Educational Field) Congress taking place in Graz from September 20th to 23rd. She discussed the educational benefits of a chatbot to the teaching/learning process by enabling personalized and adaptive learning.

The presentation received very positive feedback, especially from students with special educational needs. Thank you for showing interest and please keep in contact so that we can optimize the tool to your needs.

Photo source: “ÖFEB Kongress 2022_EW (16)” by Pädagogische Hochschule Steiermark (2022) is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

September 2022

Chatbot Workshop

At the end of September, we had a 1-hour online train-the-trainer style workshop to learn what the project’s chatbot, the Visionary, can already do, how we can work with it in courses and how students can benefit from it.

This format was very successful, and we will keep it for further training of staff using the Visionary. We are currently planning on offering these workshops every 4-6 weeks as a support for teachers who want to make use of the Visionary.

August 2022 Newsletter

August 2022

The Human in the Loop

What is the “human in the loop”?

Our Chatbot Tutor is smart, but it might not always know the answer. Therefore, we are developing a “human in the loop” function to make sure all user questions are answered. The way it works is that any time the bot doesn’t know the answer to the questions, it will forward it to the creator of the course, the teacher. The teacher will then answer the question using the same chat function. Questions and teacher answers are then saved and forwarded to the bot. This is done in order to further train the bot. The question-answer pairs that are generated from the communication between the learner and the teacher are then added to bot’s knowledge base. Pretty clever!

This has just been implemented and we are excited to test it out!

August 2022

Chatbot Tests


The team met online to test our trusty Chatbot Tutor to see how well it deals with responses that are intelligible. Good job Chatbot. Thanks for passing it on to the human in the loop.

July 2022 Newsletter

July 2022

Chatbot Quiz Function

Chatbot Quiz Tool for Exam Prep


The latest advances in the Chatbot are focused on the creation of quizzes that contain questions with multiple choice options for exam preparation. The web interface is easy to use for the teacher.

When student wants to study for an exam, they can call up the quizzes available in the course. The Chatbot performs automatic feedback after the student chooses the options by giving positive reinforcement with “Correct!!” or providing the correct answer. At the end of the quiz, the score that the student has achieved is displayed and saved in a database and will be used for a performance report.

The Feature is currently in the testing stage and we hope to make it available to end users soon.

July 2022

E-Course Activities in Development Phase

E-Course Activities in Development Phase

Now that the learning outcomes, course objectives, course structure and timing have been established, Uni Graz and UvA are working hard on creating interesting, useful and practical activities for future E-Course participants. Currently activities include:

  • short readings on artificial intelligence in teaching and learning in higher education
  • tutorials on the Authoring Tool and Chatbot Tutor
  • how-to video content
  • practice and application exercises
  • reflection

We can’t wait until it all comes together. It is going to be a wonderful course!

June 2022 Newsletter

Let's Chat! Chatbot Testing Interface

June 2022

Chatbot interface

Students at TUD and Uni Graz are working on feeding and training the Chatbot Tutor in both German and English. The process is simple. Students first make contact with the Chatbot through Telegram. Next, students ask the Chatbot questions about a predetermined course. If the bot answers the question correctly, the student moves on. If the bot is unsure of the answer, the student enters the question and answer into a database which will then be updated by TUD so that the bot can answer the question next time. This process tests the usability of the interface, the accessibility of the dissemination channels offered by the AI, the use of hardware resources on the servers during the training, the interaction of the students with the chatbot, and the occurrence of errors and exceptions, the causes, and the AI decision making process. Plus, chatting with a bot and watching it learn in real time is quite entertaining! Oh, what the future will bring.

International Conference: Digitalization in Higher Education

June 2022

International Conference

The VISION team was thrilled to finally meet in person and present the project to all our guests at the event: Digitalization in Higher Education. We heard from various presenters including Lasse Rouhiainen (best-selling author and international expert on artificial intelligence, disruptive technologies and digital marketing),  Dr. Martin Ebner (TU Graz), and  Dr. Michael Kopp (head of the Center for Digital Teaching and Learning at Uni Graz). We also heard from each project partner and the Dean of the Faculty of Environmental, Regional and Educational Sciences at Uni Graz. Thanks to everyone for coming and participating in fruitful discussions afterwards!

May Newsletter

UvA's Requirement Review Process

May 2022

Requirements Review

What goes into creating the Smart Authoring Tool and the Chatbot? The first order of business is a requirements review! Here is the process UvA went through in order to carry it out.

  1. They collected state-of-the-art and state-of-practice data.
  2. They checked the feasibility of the set of desirable requirements with the VISION technical development partners at TUD and Smart-Study.
  3. Based on their input, they filtered a subset of desirable and feasible requirements.
  4. From these requirements, they constructed a set of features.
  5. They proceeded to construct mockups of these agreed upon features.
  6. They sent them to the development team for review.

And the process continues! Stay tuned.

What is SCORM?

May 2022

SCORM

The courses in the Smart Authoring Tool are exported as SCORM packages. But what are these SCORM packages and what are the benefits of them?

SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) is an international standard for e-learning courses. If a course is published in the SCORM format, most learning management systems (LMS) will be able to read it and to show the content inside.

Before the SCORM standard was established, courses that were created in one LMS could not be used in another. In 2001, the SCORM format was established as an advanced standard and is the most common standard for e-learning courses. The SCORM Standard is a list of requirements for eLearning courses. Once the requirements on the list are met, the courses work on any platform and thus become shareable.

Thanks to the SCORM standard, the AI-based courses created as a part of VISION can be used across all of the LMSs of the University of Graz, TUD, and UvA and whichever universities use VISION in the future!

April Newsletter

Natural Language Processing and the Chatbot

April 2022

There are different types of chatbots commonly developed for customer support. Chatbots based on regular expressions and word recognition are developed for a specific purpose. The VISION project’s chatbot is based on natural language processing or NLP. NLP is a branch of artificial intelligence that helps computers understand, interpret and manipulate human language. NLP uses elements from many disciplines including computational linguistics.

An understandable interface is currently being developed at TU Dresden for teachers to feed the knowledge base for the chatbot to provide answers to students about the organization and content of the course. This tool will be integrated with the Smart-Authoring tool.

Below is a provisional interface to feed a knowledge base to the chabot to provide answers to sentences written by students in natural language.

 

This makes it easier for teachers to avoid having to familiarize themselves with NLU concepts such as intent, entities and domains. It will also allow students to ask questions about the course and its content without having to reach out to the teacher.

Ultimately, the chatbot will be able to have more in depth conversations with students to answer specific questions about the content. To do this, it will pull information from its knowledge base.

March Newsletter

March 2022

Quizzes and Other Assessment Tools Added to Smart Authoring Tool

February 2022

Smart-Study  and the University of Amsterdam (UvA) have been working hard on the features of the Smart-Authoring tool, specifically for creating formative assessments and quizzes. Firstly, the teams looked at existing tools and their designs including Adobe Captivate, Lectora, and Articulate. The UvA-team came up with some pros and cons for each tool. For example, Adobe Captivate had a large variety of questions and a basic look while maintaining enough customization. Lectora offers even more customization but is way too complicated for new users. Articulate shows a clean default look and is intuitive but lacks the customization VISION might need.

Using this feedback, UvA created mockups. The goal was to create a first draft design that could be used to start developing the formative assessment feature within the Smart-Authoring tool. The design philosophy is to create an intuitive tool that is easy to use while still offering enough customization if needed.

Smart Authoring Tool Developments

February 2022

February Newsletter

February 2022

Smart Authoring Tool Progress from Smart-Study

February 2022

Smart-Study presented their progress on the Smart-Authoring tool to the team in a virtual meeting. The team has been making great progress and will soon be ready to start testing courses from the partner universities. We were all quite excited to see the ideas come to life and evolve!

January Newsletter

January 2022

TUD Begins Testing Bot Functions

January 2022

Currently about 150 students have started to work with a preliminary version of the VISION Chatbot Tutor while studying educational technology in the lectures of project member Prof. Dr. Thomas Köhler from TU Dresden. In addition to practical usage, students also reflect on their experiences with AI technology in form of a essay as part of their written examination to develop an even better understanding of future teaching technologies as they progress. We are very excited to start seeing the results of the preliminary testing!

Consortium Meeting One

December 2021

Although we had planned our first consortium meeting to be in person in Dresden, COVID changed everything once again. We were, however, not bitter! We met online to discuss the project and made the most of it. We talked about our risk assessment strategy, began developing questions for our chatbot and covered some administrative items. The entire team is hoping that one day soon we will meet in person.

December Newsletter

December 2021

Here is a look at our December newsletter, which wraps up the first six months of the project.

Sneak Peek of UI for Smart Authoring Tool

November 2021

Hot off the press from Smart-Study, here is a first look at the visual layout for the Smart Authoring Tool! These initial mockups help the team put visual layout ideas onto a canvas so that everyone is on the same page. Graphical design, colors and other similar concerns will be discussed at a later stage.

Chatbot Functions

October 2021

Mapping out the chatbot functions is the first step in understanding how all of the elements will work together to create our great Visionary!

International Research Day at Uni Graz

October 2021

VISION team members from Uni Graz presented VISION at the annual Research Day in front of faculty members and students. There the team discussed the goals of the project and inspired a conversation about the future of education in an ever changing digital landscape.

Planning the E-Course

August 2021

UvA and Uni Graz sat down (virtually) to discuss the initial ideas for the E-Course structure. These ideas were visualized in a mind map to present to the larger team. Off to a good start!

Visualizing the Chatbot Workflow

July 2021

Setting the structure of the workflow is an extremely important step! Below is an idea of our team’s initial workflow ideas. Perhaps this will change and evolve, but we are off to a good start.

Building a Chatbot

June 2021

Building a chatbot tutor is extremely exciting, fun, interesting and yes, complicated! Our goal is to create a chatbot that can simulate student-teacher interactions through a messaging application embedded directly in the LMS. As we begin building this bot, we have to find out what elements will be most important to teachers when using the bot and how we can adapt the bot to ensure its implementation in every course, language and at every university. As we move forward, we are starting to understand all the moving parts that will help make this a success.

The Launch of VISION

June 2021

Vision Kickoff Agenda

After much hard work, the day has finally come: VISION has launched! While the kickoff meeting was not in-person (as we had initially planned), we were able to engage in productive conversations and get to know one another through two days of online meetings. We covered administrative details and dissemination and began our first detailed technical talks for the three intellectual outputs. The entire consortium is looking forward building the chatbot, smart authoring tool and the e-course.