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Becky the chatbot offers her first university place


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Leeds Beckett University’s newest recruit, Becky the chatbot, has offered her first place to a new student. At 11.32pm yesterday (Wednesday 16 August) she offered Ikhlas a place on the BSc (Hons) Computing course.

Becky Chatbot

Since her launch yesterday, she has spoken to 127 people and offered at least 15 places to students going through Clearing. Of the 127 people who have communicated with Becky, 65 were about Clearing and the rest were in relation to term dates, accommodation, the application process and life in Leeds.

The chatbot, available both on desktop and mobile, uses a series of menus or keywords to guide students through the Clearing process and is available 24 hours a day.

The bot uses keywords that the prospective students type in the chat line to assess which courses they are interested in studying, then requests details of their qualifications and exam results, before making them a provisional offer.

A chatbot is a computer programme that holds natural language conversations, mimics human conversation and reacts to spoken or written prompts.

Speaking about the bot, Dougal Scaife, Head of Digital Experience and Engagement at Leeds Beckett, said: “We know that our prospective students already use lots of messaging software for communicating with their friends such as Snapchat, WhatsApp as well as texting, so developing a chatbot was a natural evolution in order to engage with our prospective students in a medium that’s ubiquitous, familiar, and comfortable for them.”

Chris Watts, Director of University Recruitment at Leeds Beckett, added: “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.  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.”

For more information about courses available at Leeds Beckett during Clearing please visit www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/clearing

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