IIT Guwahati team develops Artificial Intelligence-enabled Chatbot ‘ALBELA’ to teach and support first year students of Electrical & Electronics Engineering (EEE)

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Guwahati: The world of technology is rapidly changing, and one must adapt to it quickly in order to survive in the race of ‘survival of the fittest’. A team of postgraduate students from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati, along with their faculty members are developing an Artificial Intelligence-enabled Chatbot – ALBELA – to teach and support the first year students of Electrical & Electronics Engineering (EEE). The researchers are from the Department of EEE.
Hence, an AI Chatbot is projected to be a suitable mechanism also capable of addressing the queries and doubts that each of the approximately 850 students pursuing EEE at the Institute may have.

Talking about the Chatbot, ALBELA, Prof. Praveen Kumar, Professor, Department of EEE, IIT Guwahati, said, “We have been working on its development since last 7 months with a team of dedicated 7 research scholars of the department. Earlier we did the trial runs of the Chabot, and started using from this academic session onwards. The response from the students has been overwhelming and we hope that this will become the new normal in near future. Prof. Rohit Sinha, Head EEE Department, and the team IBM have extended their continuous support for this activity.”

How is ALBELA helping students at IIT Guwahati?

Providing an easy interface to find details of classes and tutorials:
Students can find their class schedule, tutorial schedule, examination queries, and more through a simple AI-based chat window. Students at times may hesitate to approach an instructor regarding their queries, but, with this chat-based system, students can clear their doubts, both technical and non-technical.

Doubts related to course content:
First-Year students can have numerous doubts related to content such as preferred textbooks, reference books, notes, sample questions, etc. The Chatbot is trained to answer all the queries related to the above.

An easy and fascinating interface:
Use of Chatbot to clear doubts of the students can be fascinating to students, increasing their interest in the subject. This may result in better learning outcomes, with the students enjoying the course even more.

Explaining the working model of the Chatbot, Prof. Samarendra Dandapat, Professor, Department of EEE, IIT Guwahati, said, “The team is developing the analytical problem solving skill. It will be helpful for the students to learn how to solve analytical problem related to the course. Within next one year, we will extend it to biomedical signal processing, electrical machine courses.”

With features like lecture schedule, faculty information, examination queries, course curriculum, the Chatbot also has a unique feature of extracting useful information from unstructured data, i.e., it can scan any format of documents – PDF or Word and provide results relevant to the query asked.

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