Innovation

A-Level Results Day: British University Uses Chatbot To Help With Clearing

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Leeds Beckett University is using Facebook Messenger to help students find the right courses in clearing

A British university is using a chatbot to help prospective students identify courses they can enlist for during clearing. 

A-Level result day can be a nervous and stressful experience for those who did not meet the conditions for offers at their chosen universities and instead have to look elsewhere.  

Some may not be able to find the course they wanted at an alternative institution or may be unsure about trying something different at a university with a better reputation. Most candidates spend months deciding on their chosen course but when they go through clearing, they have to decide on the spot. 

Leeds Beckett chatbot

University chatbot 

Leeds Beckett University wanted to make the process a little less taxing by using social media, a platform most teenagers are familiar with. 

Its chatbot uses Facebook Messenger’s technology to assess a candidate’s suitability. It detects keywords before requesting exam details and results before making a provisional offer. 

“We know that prospective students are undertaking more research prior to results day and are far more clear about both their course and their prospective career path,” said Chris Watts, Director of University Recruitment at Leeds Beckett.   

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“Unsurprisingly the majority of this research takes place online, with social media forming a key part of the relationship prospective students are building with institutions prior to accepting a place. 
  
“At Leeds Beckett we continue to be at the forefront of employing new technologies in meeting the needs of our prospective and current students and the launch of this chatbot to make offers to prospective students is a response to this. 
  
“The bot hasn’t replaced more traditional methods of communication, it’s merely an addition to the already excellent service we seek to provide to all prospective students. Our phone lines will continue to be open throughout the clearing process.” 

Other organisations using chatbots include Transport for London (TfL), which also uses Facebook to field travel enquiries. 

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