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News Introducing Beacon – a digital friend to Staffordshire University students!

Students from Staffordshire University will be introduced to a new digital friend this month who will support them throughout their studies.

Beacon will recognise students when they log in and students can choose to interact via text or voice conversation
Image: Beacon will recognise students when they log in and students can choose to interact via text or voice conversation

The new app will help us to build positive relationships with our students and even flag up those who may need additional support, so that we can better cater for their needs. Ultimately, we want Beacon to help us to provide students with the best possible experience.

Sue Reece, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience)

The University has teamed up with leading Cloud Services Provider ANS Group to become the first university in the UK to deploy an AI coach which uses intelligent Chatbot technology to provide round the clock help to its students.

Beacon, the digital coach app for mobile phones, will provide personalised and responsive information on student timetables, enables contact with personal tutors and provide answers to 400 frequently asked questions covering campus facilities and support services as well as other day to day services.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) Sue Reece said: “We are very excited about Beacon which is designed to help students get the most out of their University experience whether they live on or off campus.

“Beacon is just one of the innovative ways in which we are responding to the needs of our diverse student community. Developed to support the retention and progression of students, Beacon will nudge them towards actions and activities that will help their attainment.

“The new app will help us to build positive relationships with our students and even flag up those who may need additional support, so that we can better cater for their needs. Ultimately, we want Beacon to help us to provide students with the best possible experience.”

Beacon will recognise students when they log in and students can choose to interact via text or voice conversation. As its use among students increases, Beacon will become smarter and planned future development will include timely reminders about lectures and offer up advice on books and useful study aids.

Professor Martin Jones, Deputy Vice-Chancellor added, “We know that the majority of our students have a strong online presence and a preference for on-demand responses to queries. Beacon allows students to interact and get responses instantaneously any hour of the day or night.”

ANS’ Chief Technology Officer, Andy Barrow added: “Staffordshire University is a true trailblazer and is setting the blueprint for the future of higher education across the UK. Over time we expect AI to become interwoven into the fabric of the education landscape, becoming integral to revolutionising the student experience.”

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