Conversational agents in MOOCs: reflections on first outcomes of the colMOOC project

Stavros Demetriadis, Santi Caballe, Pantelis M. Papadopoulos, Eduardo Gomez Sanchez, Allison Kolling, Stergios Tegos, Thrasyvoulos Tsiatsos, Georgios Psathas, Konstantinos Michos, Armin Weinberger, Christian Winther Bech, Anastasios Karakostas, Costas Tsibanis, George Palaigeorgiou, Matthew Hodges

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) provide a powerful means for informal online learning that is already popular, engaging great numbers of students all over the world. However, studies on MOOCs’ efficiency frequently report on the high dropout rates of enrolled students, and the lack of productive social interaction to promote the quality of MOOC-based learning. Conversational agents (CAs), on the other hand, appear to be a promising artificial intelligence (AI) technology with the potential of acting as catalysts of students’ social interaction, a factor known to beneficially affect learning at many levels. Within this context the “colMOOC” project has proposed and developed an agent-based tool and methodology for integrating flexible and teacher-configurable CAs along with relevant learning analytics services in MOOCs platforms, aiming to promote peer learning interactions. This chapter concisely presents the overall rationale of the project, the agent-based tools developed, and provides reflections on the first project outcomes emerging from four different pilot MOOCs offered so far. Early conclusions analyze the challenges for integrating a teacher-configured agent-chat service in MOOCs, provide helpful guidelines for efficient task design, and highlight promising evidence on the learning impact of participating in agent-chat activities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntelligent Systems and Learning Data Analytics in Online Education
ISBN (Print)978-0-12-823410-5
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameIntelligent Data-Centric Systems


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