What Are ‘Intelligent Agents’?

‘Intelligent agents’ are a Brightspace tool that instructors can use to monitor student activity in a course without having to check on each student’s progress manually. Intelligent agents can automatically identify students who have (or have not) completed certain course tasks, and they can send personalized emails to those students. Agents can be used to recognize student achievement (e.g., a high score on a quiz) and/or to warn of potential problems (e.g., lack of online activity or poor performance on a quiz).

To create an agent, instructors need to specify the type of student activity they want the agent to monitor, schedule the agent to run, and decide whether the agent should send out emails.

How Can I Use Intelligent Agents in My Course?

Instructors can use intelligent agents to:

  • Send a welcome message to students when they first access the course,
  • Reach out to students who have not logged in to the course in x number of days,
  • Remind students that they have not yet viewed a particular content topic,
  • Let students know that they missed a deadline on an assignment or a quiz,
  • Send emails to students congratulating them on a high grade on a quiz or an assignment,
  • Contact students who achieved a low grade on a quiz or assignment and remind them of office hours and other available supports,
  • Acknowledge participation in a discussion forum, or
  • Congratulate students who have completed the last module or quiz in a course.

What Are the Benefits of Using Agents?

Using intelligent agents can benefit both instructors and students in the following ways:

  • Intelligent agents are an efficient way of monitoring course activity (no need for manual checks on student progress).
  • Agents allow instructors to easily identify students who may need extra support.
  • By using agents, instructors can devote time to other course activities and tasks (e.g. providing more individualized communication and feedback to students, where needed).
  • Because emails sent by agents can be personalized, they can boost student engagement (for information on how to personalize emails, see section on Replace Strings).
  • Agents can be created at the beginning of the semester, and then ‘act’ on behalf of the instructor throughout the term.