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ERIC Number: EJ1093950
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1556-3847
Help at 3:00 AM! Providing 24/7 Timely Support to Online Students via a Virtual Assistant
Vu, Phu; Fredrickson, Scott; Meyer, Richard
Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, v19 n1 Spr 2016
With a dearth of research on human-robot interaction in education and relatively high non-completion rates of online students, this study was conducted to determine the feasibility of using a virtual assistant (VA) to respond to questions and concerns of students and provide 24/7 online course content support. During a 16 week-long academic semester, four hundred and seventy five interactions between the virtual assistant and learners in two online course sections were generated. On the average, the virtual assistant had 4.2 interactions with the students each day. Three hundred and twenty one interactions out of 475 (67.6%) were made during weekend hours, and 422 interactions (88.8%) were conducted between 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM - time the human instructor usually was unviable, thereby providing better and more efficient access for the students. The students were almost unanimous that they enjoyed/appreciated working with the virtual assistant, felt they had better and more immediate support from the VA than they had in previous online classes, and believed that the VA helped them understand the material better.
State University of West Georgia. 1601 Maple Street, Honors House, Carrollton, GA 30118. Tel: 678-839-5489; Fax: 678-839-0636; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A