Singapore Institute of Technology

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The implementation of chatbot-mediated immediacy for synchronous communication in an online chemistry course

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-30, 06:18 authored by Jamil Jasin, He Tong Ng, Indriyati AtmosukartoIndriyati Atmosukarto, Prasad Iyer, Faiezin Osman, ching yee pua, Wean Sin CheowWean Sin Cheow

 Low student engagement and motivation in online classes are well-known issues many universities face, especially with distance education during the COVID-19 pandemic. The online environment makes it even harder for teachers to connect with their students through traditional verbal and nonverbal behaviours, further decreasing engagement. Yet, addressing such problems with 24/7 synchronous communication is overly demanding for faculty. This paper details an automated Question-Answering chatbot system trained in synchronous communication and instructor immediacy techniques to determine its suitability and effectiveness in attending to students undergoing an online Chemistry course. The chatbot is part of a new wave of affective focused chatbots that can benefit students’ learning process by connecting with them on a relatively more humanlike level. As part of the pilot study in the development of this chatbot, qualitative interviews and self-report data capturing student-chatbot interactions, experiences and opinions have been collected from 12 students in a Singaporean university. Thematic analysis was then employed to consolidate these findings. The results support the chatbot’s ability to display several communication immediacy techniques well, on top of responding to students at any time of the day. Having a private conversation with the chatbot also meant that the students could fully focus their attention and ask more questions to aid their learning. Improvements were suggested, in relation to the chatbot’s word detection and accuracy, accompanied by a framework to develop communication immediacy mechanics in future chatbots. Our findings support the potential of this chatbot, once modified, to be used in a similar online setting.


Journal/Conference/Book title

Education and Information Technologies

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Project ID

  • 7027 (R-MOE-A401-D002) Machine Learning-mediated Immediacy for Synchronous Communication in Online Classrooms

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