Campus chatbots

Bolton College

The cost of providing a generative artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot to everyone in a Further Education (FE) college can be prohibitive. Monthly fees exclude all but the most affluent communities from accessing generative AI chatbot services, thereby exacerbating the digital divide. Many FE colleges are financially constrained, and students and teachers are missing out on services that could be incredibly useful to them.

This project will develop a campus chatbot platform that can be accessed online by any college. A user-friendly interface will allow students and teachers to create and train their own chatbots using documents relevant to their learning or teaching needs, without any coding skills or prior AI knowledge. Individuals will be able to share their chatbots with others and discover and use chatbots created by their peers or teachers within a safe and secure online platform. Chatbots will facilitate self-directed learning, as users will be able to create and use chatbots on any topic and update them as they learn new information. The project will give access to personalised and interactive learning support without financial barriers. Learners will be able to use chatbots to ask questions, clarify concepts, receive feedback, test their understanding, and access additional resources on any topic they are studying.

The project will leverage an open-source large language model to generate natural and coherent responses to user queries, based on the documents used to train the chatbot. There will be no charges as the chatbot will not use external application programming interfaces or services to generate responses.