Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Comedy Faqbot Project

Image from Public Domain
So this is the final of three project brainstorming posts related to the Systems Analysis / Software Engineering class I'm teaching this semester.  I've been wrestling with a chatbot that can answer some useful questions about online classes (and tell a few jokes) for some time.  This project is also bundled up with my student work assignment tracker.

Problem Description:

Courses that are run year after year build up a set of previously answered questions that it would be great if current students and alumni (and instructors) had access to.  One form is just to display these in static text, but another form would be to provide a chatbot interface that could participate in IM discussions.  Boredom is the mind killer when it comes to learning, a little bit of quality comedy might help?

System Capabilities:
  • Answer simple questions relating to an online course
  • Provide students with information about which assignments they have completed
  • Tell the occasional joke, riffing off what the student is asking
  • Handle much larger number of students for a single instructor
  • Provide an alternative form of access to a large repository of information
  • Provide some occasional light relief
Prototype open sourced here:

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