Case Study: How LAPU Created the Classroom of the Future with Nectir AI

Kavitta Ghai
May 1, 2024
"It almost felt as though I was sitting and chatting with the author of the textbook."¬†‚ÄĒ Dr. Craig Brewer, Assistant Dean at LA¬†Pacific University

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Welcome to the classroom of the future. Imagine having unlimited dedicated AI Assistants for each of your classes to serve as tutors, debate partners, writing coaches, and anything else you can think of that your students need. With Nectir AI, you can create personalized AI companions that truly understand your curriculum and provide support to your students accordingly. Students get 24/7 guidance tailored just for them, while you offload tedious tasks - pretty much the ultimate win-win.

LA¬†Pacific University is one of the first schools in the nation to integrate custom conversational AI¬†technology into every class across campus to provide their students with the most modern learning experience on the market. In today's case study, we'll go over how they built their AI¬†Assistants for each class and onboarded their entire campus in a matter of weeks. Nectir AI gives educators the power to create personalized AI Assistants tailored to their curriculum to provide 24/7 guidance to students through interactive conversations. Seamlessly integrated into your LMS class page, your AI Assistants will offer instant feedback, clarify concepts, and identify knowledge gaps all based on your syllabus ‚Äď elevating learning outcomes for students while reducing your workload. This is the future of education for us all and we're thrilled to deliver it to you today.

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This is one of LAPU's AI Course Assistants for PSYC 680. Here in the settings, staff and faculty can customize the prompt to tell the Assistant exactly how to behave and interact with the students.

Introducing Nectir AI at LAPU: Los Angeles Pacific University (LAPU) has taken a significant step forward in online education by integrating Nectir AI's conversational AI tutors, known as "Spark," into every course. This innovative approach aims to revolutionize the learning experience for students by providing personalized, 24/7 support tailored to their individual needs.

The Challenge: LAPU recognized the difficulty in providing timely, individualized guidance and feedback to every student in an online learning environment. Limited faculty resources and time constraints made it challenging to offer the level of personalized attention students needed to excel.

The Nectir AI Solution: To address this challenge, LAPU collaborated with Nectir AI to integrate AI-powered course assistants seamlessly into each course. These AI tutors, such as Spark, Lucas (for a Bible course), and PsyFy (for Psychology), are trained on specific course materials, assignments, and grading rubrics, ensuring they possess a deep understanding of the subject matter. With Nectir AI, LAPU can now utilize GPT-4 in a FERPA/COPPA compliant way to create and share custom AI¬†Assistants at the course, department, or campus-wide level. They can even select their knowledge scope to decide if the AI¬†Assistants have access to all of GPT-4's information or just the relevant topics/data they upload. As Mike Wilday, LAPU's Manager of Learning Technology Solutions, explained during the livestream, "We've chosen the Limited Knowledge [setting]...it takes all of the data and info that we've uploaded here, all these different files relating to the course...and then the Assistant can go out and pull additional relevant information from GPT-4 related to the [info we've uploaded for that course]". Campus-wide implementation of these custom course Assistants took only 6 weeks, including the LMS¬†integration. ‚ÄúNectir made the implementation of our AI Course Assistants quick and simple. We went from a pilot with two courses to full scale implementation in less than 6 weeks.‚ÄĚ - George Hanshaw, Director of Digital Learning Solutions & Assistant Dean at LAPU.

Engaging Students through Interactive Conversations: Nectir AI's conversational tutors engage students in dynamic, back-and-forth dialogues, asking questions to assess their understanding and providing personalized explanations based on their responses. Dr. Craig Brewer, an assistant dean and lecturer who piloted his Assistant, fondly named PsyFy, in his psychology course, shared his experience: "It felt really engaging and dynamic even for me as a faculty member." The AI tutors encourage students to apply concepts to real-life situations, promoting deeper learning and retention. As one student remarked, "I feel like if I wouldn't have stopped the chat, it could have kept going on and on and on, and I learned so much, but I just ran out of time."

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Students at LAPU now have a judgement-free learning partner to walk them through assignments, lecture topics, real-world applications, and more. They can also revisit conversation history at any time and pick up where they left off.

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24/7 Accessibility and Support:¬†A key benefit of LAPU's Nectir AI implementation is the round-the-clock availability of personalized learning support. Students can access their course-specific AI tutor at any time, even outside of traditional office hours. Dr. Brewer highlighted the importance of this 24/7 support ‚ÄĒ¬†"Many of my students sometimes struggle with just balancing life...they finally have the time to do [an assignment] and it might be the night before it's due and they're not sure how to get started. Well, now with [Nectir AI] they can plug that question in and say 'I'm having a hard time getting started on my paper, where do I start?'"

Empowering Faculty: Nectir AI not only enhances the student experience but also empowers faculty to focus on high-impact teaching and feedback. Dr. Brewer noted that the AI tutors can assist with technical aspects of writing, such as APA style: "What an amazing tool, especially for APA writing...this is a tool that can help you provide that APA writing feedback so you can focus more on the content." By handling routine queries and writing mechanics, Nectir AI enables faculty to dedicate more time to providing substantive feedback, fostering meaningful discussions, and creating a sense of community within the online classroom.

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The PSYC 680 Course Assistant is able to thoughtfully guide students through the entire assignment without actually doing it for them.

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Initial Results and Future Potential: The early results from LAPU's Nectir AI pilot are incredibly promising. Dr. Brewer shared that "about seven or eight of my students who utilized [the AI]...had a much more clear [understanding] after engaging in that activity, and had a strong sense of what they needed to do." LAPU and the Nectir Team plan to expand the AI's capabilities, including providing personalized feedback on student papers, offering grammar assistance, analyzing conversations to identify struggling students, and deepening the integration of faith and learning to achieve the elevated academic outcomes that LAPU laid our earlier this year.

Conclusion: By partnering with Nectir AI to integrate custom conversational AI tutors into every course, Los Angeles Pacific University has taken a significant step towards revolutionizing personalized online education and providing an experience that their students wouldn't be able to find at any other campus today. The 24/7 accessibility, engaging conversational format, and deep understanding of course content make Nectir AI a powerful tool for enhancing student success, engagement, and retention. As LAPU continues to leverage this cutting-edge technology, it sets a new standard for online learning, ensuring that every student receives the individualized support they need to thrive in their academic journey.

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Students can ask as many questions as they need and deepen their learning on their own time.

Get your class or campus started with Nectir AI today by contacting us for a demo and custom quote!

Kavitta Ghai
May 1, 2024

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