by Divina Paredes

Awhi the chatbot can help you find your National Student Number

Jul 12, 2018
APIsArtificial IntelligenceBig Data

A large potion of our calls from customers relate to looking up their National Student Number (NSN), says Lukasz Zawilski, chief information officer at NZ Qualifications Authority.

Thus, early this week, NZQA launched Awhi, the chatbot that will help students look up their own NSN.

“My aim is to find your NSN for you quickly and in a fun way,” says Awhi, on her NZQA page. “I also hope to continue to learn more NSNs and to expand my te reo on this journey.”

There are over four million possible NSNs, so Awhi (pronounced ahh-fee) is released in beta format, while she is “learning the ropes of how to remember all these numbers,” says NZQA.

Awhi can help current New Zealand secondary school students studying NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 with their NSN, which can be used to access the students’ learner login and NCEA results.

NZQA CIO Lukasz Zawilski

We are using AWS services and built it as an API so we could in the future front end it with things like voice services

The technology for Awhi (short for Awhina) took about three to four weeks to build, Zawilski tells CIO New Zealand.

“We are using AWS services and built it as an API so we could in the future front end it with things like voice services.

“It took us a few weeks to develop Awhi’s ‘identity and personality’, he adds.

Zawilski says the project is part of NZQA’s journey “to shift to being more learner centric and delivering our services online/digital”.

“This is part of our customer experience workstream and is about digital service delivery.”

“It is about understanding the service from the customer perspective – it’s about what service can be delivered, not the technology which is just the enabler,” he says, on insights he can share with organisations looking to deploy similar programmes. “How do they want to experience/use the service?” “The other key lesson is to get something out of the door early and learn from feedback,” says Zawilski, “which is why we built in the feedback mechanism on the same page – we want to learn from people trying it.”

NZA says it strives to enable ‘future state’ thinking to ensure it is responding to the needs of learners.

The chatbot is not a new concept and most people have used one online, it states.

In this case, Awhi is a digital tool NZQA says it has identified as an additional channel for learners to interact with them in order to access their NSN.

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