IBM’s Watson Assistant is keeping students at Mohawk College informed as they head back to school

By September 18, 2020

male student at laptop with teacher

Students at Mohawk College now have quicker access to details about programs, applications and financial assistance thanks to IBM Watson Assistant, a virtual assistant that uses natural language processing to understand questions it receives and to provide accurate and relevant responses.

Watson Assistant helping Mohawk College stay connected with students

Located in Hamilton, Ontario, Mohawk College educates and serves up to 32,500 full-time, part-time, apprenticeship and international students at three main campuses and learning hubs across the city. Following the onset of the pandemic in March, the college adapted many of its programs to be delivered through a blend of remote, virtual and in-person learning. Faced with these changes, students have had many questions. IBM Watson Assistant has been instrumental in making sure they get answers to those questions quickly and efficiently.

Mohawk adopted the virtual assistant after IBM offered it at no charge to help organizations, academic institutions, businesses and governments across Canada answer questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since launching on June 3, Mohawk Assist has received more than 10,000 questions from students who are eager to learn about everything from the college’s plans for the start of its Fall semester, to information about programs, the college application process and how to access financial assistance.

Young woman in a library studying

Mohawk Assist is just one more example of IBM’s continued support for college students across Canada.

The virtual assistant has been a welcome addition to the Mohawk team. Using advanced natural language processing capabilities in Watson Assistant, the virtual assistant helps provide students with quick and easy access to up-to-date information and support. This has been critical during this time of uncertainty and rapid change, and will continue to play an important role in the months ahead.

“The IBM Watson Assistant allows students to access the information they need, whether it’s how to register for a program or learn more about the college’s plans for the upcoming semester. The ability to easily monitor and update the assistant gives us the flexibility to modify content as our situation changes, which ensures the answers we provide are accurate and up-to-date. The IBM Watson Assistant is a great addition to our website.” 

  • Tracy Fitzpatrick, Student Services Representative

From the initial set up to the ongoing maintenance of the assistant, the support from the IBM team has been outstanding. Mohawk Assist is just one more example of IBM’s continued support for our college and students. The college is a partner with IBM on other initiatives including the IBM Skills Academy, Future Ready Premium Employer Programs and most recently, P-TECH, a tuition-free, industry aligned, two-year college diploma with workplace experience for students at Six Nations Polytechnic (SNP) STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) Academy in Brantford, Ontario.

IBM has also been a key supporter of many industry partnerships and applied research projects.

Portrait photo of Blog Author Cebert Adamson

Cebert Adamson
Dean, Continuing Education, Academic Quality, Library and Centre for Teaching & Learning
Mohawk College