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A Twitterbot Pilot Service (2016-17)

Teacherbot FAQ

Who is Teacherbot?

Teacherbot is a digital tool developed by Information Services (Learning, Teaching and Web Services Division) and the School of Education at The University of Edinburgh. Teacherbot is currently available as a Twitterbot and its content is fully customisable. It can be used to answer questions about seminars, exam deadlines and anything else you can think of.

What is a Twitterbot?

A Twitterbot is a program used to automatically reply to user queries on the microblogging platform Twitter. It works based on a hand-crafted knowledge database which contains question/answer pairs. Using key words and phrases, the program recognises user input, searches for the appropriate question/answer pair in the database and responds to the user. Teacherbot will not respond to any user input – it has to be addressed by its username to work.

Can I employ Teacherbot?

If you are a member of The University of Edinburgh and you would like to employ Teacherbot for university services, you are welcome to do so. You can contact us at teacherbot[@] or send us an email via the contact form here.

How can I use Teacherbot?

You can use Teacherbot for services within The University of Edinburgh. How you use Teacherbot exactly is completely up to you. It can be a helper tool to answer frequent questions about a course or seminar, it can be used to engage with students and take on a social role – the ideas are only limited by your imagination. For a case study, have a look at this article written by professor Sian Bayne who applied Teacherbot within a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) setting.

Can I build my own Teacherbot?

Yes! We provide you with tutorials and hands-on workshops where you will learn all the skills you need to build your own Teacherbot. It is easy to add knowledge to your Teacherbot database and maintain it. We are there if you need help – but the idea is that you get creative and write the Teacherbot knowledge yourself!

Do I need coding skills?

The code behind Teacherbot is written in AIML, a markup language similar to XML. AIML is easy to learn but if coding is not your thing, don’t worry. We use a GUI interface provided by Pandorabots which allows you to craft your knowledge database using natural language. This way, you can create a Twitterbot without needing to code. We also provide tutorials and hands-on workshops for you to get familiar with Teacherbot.


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