Over the past decade, educational institutions have increasingly offered online, web-based courses. While there has been a great deal of research comparing the effectiveness of online and traditional courses (Young, 2006), there has been less research on how to use instructional design strategies to increase student engagement, student satisfaction, and achievement in online courses (Gunter, 2007). Research has shown that instructional immediacy can increase cognition and student success (LaRose & Whitten, 2000).
Educators teaching online have turned to various technologies to improve student-to-instructor interactions. Personal response systems, teleconferencing tools, and computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) environments have been used (Soh, Khandaker, & Jiang, 2008). Educators have used chat sessions to facilitate communication, as well. However, students often are required to meet in a chat room or teleconference during predetermined times. While having synchronous meetings does improve student-to-instructor interaction, these systems are largely passive (Soh et al, 2008). Artificial intelligence is a technology that can provide immediate responses to user questions and it can adapt to individual users needs. This paper will discuss what artificial intelligence is and how artificial intelligence has been used. It is hypothesized that the use of artificial intelligence in education can increase student success and engagement.
Artificial intelligence can be defined as the science and engineering of creating intelligent machines, computer programs in particular (McCarthy, 2007). There are multiple branches of artificial intelligence or AI, as it will be referred to for the remainder of this paper. Logical AI refers to what a program knows about the world in general and the facts of a particular situation in which it must act. Goals are represented by mathematical logical language and the AI acts by deducing which actions are appropriate for achieving its goals (McCarthy, 2007). Search AI programs study large numbers of possibilities. A chess playing computer is an example of a search AI program. There are pattern recognition AI programs. These types of AI programs are programmed to compare what it sees with a pattern. There are AI programs that can plan or learn from experience (McCarthy, 2007). These examples of various AI program types are not exhaustive.
A number of individuals and organizations have created AI programs specifically for educational use. Tutorial and language AI programs are popular in education. In particular, there has been several studies regarding the use of typed versus spoken tutorial agents. The military also uses artificial intelligence systems to train soldiers. While this use is not a traditional university type educational use, it could be argued that it is educational. The following section will describe selected studies.
Intelligent tutoring systems have been a popular...