The Robot Teaching Assistant

The Robot Teaching Assistant

More than 3500 students at BI have this fall been using an alternative to our traditional LMS to test student engagement. We have not been seeking attention for these experiments, but last week it was international news that our third-year students in strategy receive answers to their FAQs from a chatbot.

Read the article on EdSurge News here: A Siri for Higher Ed Aims to Boost Student Engagement

BI started collaborating with EdTech Foundry ( a couple of years ago. It has focused on defining needs and possible solutions for digital support in teaching and learning. The main goal has been to see how a learning management system can be something other than content management, and actually contribute to activating and engaging students in dialogue – without necessarily involving the lecturer in everything. At one point in our project, the solution was actually quite obvious to us.

Illustration - EdBot

Illustration – EdBot

Introduce the chatbot

This fall, students in four different courses have used the platform Slack ( as their learning platform. Over 3500 students have been included by the project. As a business school we have learned a lot about how the chat interface of Slack can support a different approach to teaching and learning. Every course has had its own “bot”, that have replied to the most important routine questions, that often take a lot of time and create distractions from the course content. What’s the curriculum? When is the exam? How does the work requirement work? Similar to the experiment at Georgia Tech (

Pedagogical triggers

As a part of our experiments with chat-bots in education we wanted to introduce the chat bot as the students personal assistant. With input from the lecturers, the bots have also been initiating activities and remind students of upcoming assignments and share content relating to the course. When including AI in this we believe this might give the Robot Assistant an extra edge in teaching and learning support.


Want to know more about the project?
Drop me an email at erik.b.nilsen(at)


Erik B. Nilsen
Advisor in Edtech and innovation
BI Norwegian Business School

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Advisor in edtech and innovation at BI Norwegian Business School. Focusing on how technology can enable both incremental and radical change in higher education.

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  1. Pingback: Bots, AI, & Education update #1 | George Veletsianos

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