What is an Intelligent Agent and how are they useful

Brightspace has an option for the lecturer to notify their course students in an automated way about changes or actions to perform in the course they follow. This tool is called Intelligent Agent.

Why are Intelligent Agents useful?

An Intelligent Agent is an automated notification system that activates whenever certain criteria are met. Once the criteria are met, the Intelligent Agent will send a specific email to the user(s) that met the defined criteria. For example, an Intelligent Agent can be set to send the students a reminder to access course content if they have not been active in the last 7 days. This could help the student to be more engaged in the course and assist the instructors to know about irregular activity events among the students.

Intelligent agents enable to automatically send emails to students based on certain criteria. Intelligent Agents work well with release conditions, but there are many other useful uses. You can set up an Intelligent Agent that activates:

  • When a student has not visited your course in Brightspace for some time
  • When a student has not shown activity in your course in Brightspace for some time
  • When you want to send a reminder to your students a couple of days before a deadline

An Intelligent Agent sends emails using email addresses or replace strings. You can decide to run the Intelligent Agent manually or automatically.

When the Intelligent Agent is configured to run automatically, it will run around 9 p.m.

Remarks when using Intelligent Agents

Use Intelligent Agents in the right amount. If the students receive too many emails from Intelligent Agents, they are less inclined to look at them closely. Think of other ways to communicate, such as an Announcement or a personal email.

The bigger the group of students, the more useful Intelligent Agents can be.

As a teacher, you are the only one who can see the name and description of Intelligent Agents. Therefore, it is possible to number them, and include in the description when, to whom, and why the Intelligent Agent sends an email.

Consider in advance whether the intelligent agent should work automatically or whether you want to run it manually.

Consider in advance who will receive the email: the students, you, or both:

  • If you expect a lot of emails back, then set up a rule in the inbox to place emails of the intelligent agent directly in a separate folder
  • Students can reply to the email sent by an Intelligent Agent. In Settings, you are able to fill in a name and email address of the sender
  • In View History, it is possible to see to whom the emails are sent

When exporting a course, the intelligent agent does not get copied with it. When copying an intelligent agent to another course, the settings have to be set up and activated again.

Possible uses

Below, an example situation in which an Intelligent Agent is used. All steps to take when creating an intelligent agent can be found in the article How to create an Intelligent Agent.

Example: No course activity

  • Why: to see which students are not active in the course
  • When: weekly check (or less often)
  • How: set as criteria the number of inactivity days after which the student will receive a notification
  • What: this intelligent agent will send an email to you or the student when he/she has not accessed the course for the set time period

Be careful using intelligent agents that assess if the student has not accessed the course for a certain time period. Sometimes students have valid, personal circumstances to not enter the course for some time. Daily reminders of inactivity are not desirable in that case.

Example Why When How What
Welcome To welcome new students after the first session of the course Daily, during the first two weeks of the period Select User has accessed course during the past 1 day(s) Send an email when students enter the course for the first time
Missed first week

To help remind student who missed the first week that they possibly are running behind

At the end of the first week Select User has  not accessed course for at least 5 day(s) Send an email if a student has not entered the course in the first week
Successful completion of the first week  To reassure students that they have completed everything and encourage them to keep going If a student has completed all activities of the first week Using release conditions (when a student completed all activities) Send an email if a student satisfies the release conditions
Low quiz score To encourage students to improve their score Within 24 hours of assessing the quiz Using release conditions (when a student scores low for a specific quiz) Send an email to encourage students and make suggestions for the next quiz
Improved quiz score To congratulate students with their improved quiz score Within 24 hours of assessing the second quiz Using two release conditions (when a students scored below a certain score on the first quiz, but above a certain score for the second) Send an email to encourage him/her to keep going this way

Now you know more about what is an Intelligent Agent!