Online education offers new possibilities for educators to reach a wider audience, resulting in a greater variety of learners in terms of age, ethnicity, geography, socio-economic status and educational background. These technological developments play an important role for a fairer access to education. Unfortunately, research shows that learners in online courses lack individual support, which results in high attrition rates. Conversational agents are able to offer individual support to learners depending on their needs. Despite a growing body of research on the design and use of conversational agents in online education, a helping hand for educators to create their own agents is still missing but necessary in order to scale conversational agents in online education. The objective of this research-in-progress paper is to design and evaluate a method that helps mainstream educators to create their own agents. Using a design science research approach, we first gather requirements from learners and educators as well as from theory. Next, we create our method and evaluate it by accompanying educators. Based on these insights, we refined it and built a web interface for our second evaluation. The early findings indicate that our method is able to empower educators to design conversational agents.
Winkler, Rainer; Hobert, Sebastian; and Appius, Matthias, "Empowering Educators to Build their Own Conversational Agents in Online Education" (2020). ECIS 2020 Research-in-Progress Papers. 53.
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