Claudia Recchi, CEO and Co-Founder of Edsights was interviewed by Gordon Freedman, www.NLET.org, about the development of the EdSights Chatbot:
Freedman: What made you think about developing a new tool for students and campuses?
Claudia: We realized that there were so many retention technologies out there but none of them involved students in the conversation. Most student success platforms collect data ABOUT students but rarely FROM students directly. Carolina and I saw this as an opportunity to tackle student success from a different angle.
Freedman: Was there anything in your college years that steered you toward developing a new technology?
Claudia: Yes, as international students in the US our college experience was hard to navigate. For example, we didn’t know that we had advisors we could reach out to or that there were clubs we could join. In a sense, our college experience was very similar to that of a first-generation college student. We didn’t have a family who could help us navigate college and if we had a question, we didn’t necessarily know who to turn to at our school. Had we had a technology like EdSights available to us, our college experience would have been a lot smoother.
Freedman: What did you bring to this process as young designers and developers who might think differently from more traditional campus technology developers?
Claudia: Our chatbot is very friendly and does a good job at engaging students. I think having a young team is essential for what we are doing. It has helped us build a tool that truly captivates college students and is able to keep up with this generation’s evolving needs. I also think that the older generation is often scared to ask students what they think or need because they have this misconception that students don’t know what’s best for them or don’t want to share it. At EdSights, we understand that if we want to make a difference in the student experience involving students in the conversation is key. To get to the core issues that students are facing, listening to them is crucial.
Freedman: What's your impression of the range of campus technologies and how user-friendly, or unfriendly, or annoying they are?
Claudia: I’d say most widespread campus technologies are not particularly user-friendly, but I am confident that this will change.
Freedman: You are helping make campuses and students work better together today, what do you think the future of students and higher education might look like - more less equal?
Claudia: I think newer technology can help college campuses make their human resources more efficient, but I don’t think technology will be able to substitute the one-on-one human help that students need today, more than ever.
Freedman: How do you see AI improving EdSights and improving how it is used and how desirable it is to use?
Claudia: One of the reasons why traditional campus technologies don’t collect real-time student data is because collecting and processing non-cognitive data at scale has traditionally been very hard to do. Now with AI powered chatbots we are able to talk to millions of students at the same time, process non-cognitive data and turn it into actionable insights. The best part is that the more we engage with students, the more we improve our predictions, interventions, and insights.