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AskNigel chatbot launches on UNG website

2020-05-11-AskNigel chatbot new
The AskNigel chatbot uses artificial intelligence (AI) equipped with information from the UNG website to help students find answers to commonly asked questions. At launch, it had almost 7,000 questions in its brain.

University of North Georgia (UNG) students will have another avenue to connect virtually with university resources.

The AskNigel chatbot uses artificial intelligence (AI) equipped with information from the UNG website to help students find answers to commonly asked questions. The more the chatbot is used, the smarter the AI will become and the bigger its "brain" will be. At launch, it had almost 7,000 questions in its brain.

"We enabled the chatbot ahead of schedule and added the live chat function to help serve our UNG community in this time of uncertainty during this COVID-19 crisis," said Joanie Chembars, director of web communications at UNG. "And we were able to do this so quickly and efficiently thanks to the work and leadership of Stephanie Dooley, who was the project implementation lead."

She explained the original purpose of AskNigel was to improve student retention during the freshman and sophomore years by providing them better access to university resources. For example, a student can type in a question about financial aid, and AskNigel will provide an answer from its "brain."

"AskNigel will also give you the opportunity to connect with a live agent if one is available," Chembars said.

AskNigel was funded by a federal Title III grant, said Dr. Carol Adams, associate vice president of academic affairs and dean of University College at UNG. She explained the Success Oriented Academic Reform grant's purpose is to help first-year students connect with resources at UNG. AskNigel is an extension of that initiative, Adams said, who is project director of the Title III grant.

"Our traditional-aged students are so comfortable with technology, and they prefer to use it instead of picking up the phone," she said.

Chembars said the chatbot will open automatically near the bottom of a web browser for all first-time visitors. On a user's next visit, AskNigel will be shown as a bubble.

"All you have to do is click on the bubble and AskNigel will appear," Chembars said, adding it has extra features that UNG may utilize in the future. "We can include it in an app or link it to Facebook Messenger. This is an exciting addition to our site for our UNG students."

UNG follows Section 508 Standards and WCAG 2.0 for web accessibility. If you require the content on this web page in another format, please contact the ADA Coordinator.

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