Leveraging Generative AI to Enhance Student Support Services

Kavitta Ghai
July 11, 2023

When I entered college in 2015, the very first thought I had was “Wow, this campus is HUGE.” Transitioning from a 2,000-person high school campus to a public university with over 26,000 students was jarring to say the least. By the second week of freshman year, I had thoughts about dropping out simply because it was that overwhelming to navigate this brand new territory. I talked to academic advisors, my professors, and anyone else I could find on the website who might be able to help me, but it was to no avail. I needed ongoing support and I honestly felt embarrassed walking into an advisors office every time I had a question. It felt like I was isolated and left to figure out college by myself. I easily could’ve become part of the statistic of almost 50% of college students that don’t make it to graduation.

However, one fateful decision to join the business club on campus changed my entire educational trajectory. When I finally found a community of other students, all the sudden it felt like I had the resources I needed to keep going and finish my degree. If I ever had doubts or questions about how to navigate college, I now had a group of people I trusted to help me figure it all out. Having a student perspective on my issues was part of the solution, but the majority of my stress relief came from having a dedicated and ongoing place to ask my questions inside of our business club’s group chat. It never felt like a burden to send a quick message from my phone to the group chat and ask where a building was located or how to add a minor to my degree. Moreover, I no longer felt like a burden for having a barrage of questions because I saw other students who needed that same help, too.

This experience led us to creating Nectir, a place where every student can find the real-time support they need to succeed and get their degree. By combining cutting-edge generative AI technology with a human-in-the-loop interface, our goal is to give every student on campus a personalized learning environment that meets their modern needs. In classes that implement Nectir, data shows that it is able to increase the class average by an entire letter grade.

Our focus is on improving the student experience by creating a community in every class that is supplemented with generative AI. Students use their Nectir class channels to ask and answer each other’s question, or chat with their AI Learning Assistant which is personalized to answer course-specific info about lecture materials, due dates, practice problems, and more.

The cherry-on-top is the unfathomable amount of time saved for instructors, TA’s, and support staff. Our AI Learning Assistant, Soma, can be used to create personalized AI chat bots that can answer questions 24/7 for any member of the campus in over 90 languages. Here’s where your creativity comes into play—what emails or support tickets do you wish would answer themselves? What questions do you see reappear dozens of times per week? Imagine students being able to chat with intelligent AI any time of the day to instantly find the info they need about financial aid, academic advising, mental health resources, or registration information. Nectir’s AI Learning Assistant can intake an entire campus website and give every department an infinitely-scalable help desk. Best of all, it takes less than 5 minutes to setup.

It may sound too good to be true but this is the unparalleled power of generative AI when thoughtfully applied to education. The technology is here to give every student their own personalized AI Learning Partner that lives right within their virtual classroom community. Providing the right resources is half of the problem, but Nectir solves the other half of the equation by making support genuinely accessible to students.

Soma, our personalized AI Learning Assistant, inside of a Nectir class channel. All an instructor needs to do to get started is upload their syllabus and any other class materials they choose. Students can interact with Soma and ask course or campus-related questions 24/7 by tagging @Soma in their message.
Kavitta Ghai
July 11, 2023

This is the future of education.

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