WTAMU is using artificial intelligence to better reach students

August 28, 2018

CONTACT: Michelle Hamilton, 806-651-2051, mihamilton@wtamu.edu

COPY BY: Brittany Castillo, 806-651-2682, bcastillo@wtamu.edu

WTAMU is using artificial intelligence to better reach students

CANYON, Texas – This fall, a chat bot named Thunder is available to all undergraduate students at West Texas A&M University through the easy accessibility of their cellphones. The bot uses artificial intelligence (AI) to alert students of important deadlines, campus happenings and even answer questions about University programs.

Thunder is run by AdmitHub , an educational tech startup in Boston that utilizes AI to guide students through a successful college experience by catering to their needs and schedules. In 2016, the company created a virtual assistant for a college admissions office to send alerts, but they discovered it was also a way to manage thousands of conversations much more easily through one technological database.

“This is pretty exciting technology. We’re using AI to not only get information out to students, but also provide them a resource to get answers on their own terms. It goes to all undergrad students unless they opt-out,” Michelle Hamilton, director of communications for Student Enrollment, Engagement and Success, said. “Important information can get lost in an email inbox, so we’ll use Thunder to remind students of important dates by meeting them where they’re at -- on their phones.”

Chat bots have the ability to automate campaigns and provide personalized support to students with information about all things from financial aid to parking. Thunder is especially student-friendly because it provides the flexibility of casual conversation with the intelligence of all campus resources.

“We want Thunder’s messages to be like another friendly conversation in a student’s texting inbox, and a resource they can use when they have a WT question that doesn’t warrant an office visit or phone call,” Hamilton said. “We’re eager to use this for all students this semester.”

—WTAMU—


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