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Bots in Online Courses

Using Bots in Online Courses

We’d like to share a few considerations regarding the use of bots and online courses. A bot is a computer application that operates on behalf of a user or program. Normally used to automate certain tasks, bots can run without specific instructions from the user. When engaging bots online, it’s important to consider the technical requirements as well as their effectiveness and ethical use.  

Considerations can include: 

  • Information Gateways 
    Does the bot gather information regarding online participants and then share that information automatically? For example, does a note-taking bot gather the comments of all students in the class and then email notes to all students?  
  • Accessibility 
    Is the bot available for mobile users? Is it compatible with screen readers, or are there transcription and captioning options available? Or is the bot only available for Mac or PC users and not across all platforms? 
  • Usability
    Will students’ grades depend on them mastering or participating with the bot? If so, what type of support and training would be beneficial?

It’s a good idea to carefully consider the pros and cons, or tools and features, of a bot before engaging one with your course.