DailyPost 361


The multifarious of Artificial Intelligence, AI, is no longer a topic of debate. It is permeating into every walk of life.  AI teaching assistant is fascinating & has the capability to redefine education & learning itself.  It is one of kind shot in the arm for  Massive Online Open Courses, MOOC,  both by way handling present volume of students & the likely capability of its reach to humungous levels. Might be, one day it would provide  a sustainable solution to the challenging issue of at least workable knowledge globally.

 Ashok Goel, a Georgia Tech Professor  needed help. His regular Computer Science class has few dozen students but  his online class has 400 students , globally, using the course at different times. Unlike the questions being answered in a class,  MOOC queries had to be answered online, that to 10,000 questions over one semester itself,  way beyond his two human TAs could handle. Just 15% were able to complete the course.  This necessity lead to the creation of Jill Watson.

 She is an artificially intelligent teaching assistant  with the capability of handling the routine queries. He & his teaching assistants could devote their time & energies for thoughtful & creative queries & issues. Teaching is directly proportional to personal attention.  Scaling of personal attention could do the magic in MOOC system.

Goel conceived AI Jill Watson. She resides at Piazza, the online Q&A platform used by Georgia Tech. Jill assists Goel’s students in the physical class with around 50 students, The heavily attended online version is heavily dependent on it.  The routine, mechanical queries are automatically taken care, even without the students even knowing of it.

Only at the end of the first semester on the job in April 2017, Jill’s existence was revealed.  Elated Goel feels tweaking the AI was “almost like raising a child.”  This can be the game changer. He wants to transform Jill into a start up. Innovation can make her a teacher for millions of students worldwide. Disrupting classes.


    Sanjay Sahay

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