Got a question? Ask Waldo!

Waldo encouraged fans at the Portland State vs Weber State Women’s Volleyball game.

Weber State University’s artificial intelligence-powered Ask Waldo system was launched this year. Ask Waldo can help current and prospective students in a variety of ways including a new system that students can receive text reminders for important information concerning the campus.

“We have the ability to text reminders to students,” Jessica Oyler, associate provost of Enrollment Management and Student Success, said.

These reminders could include prompts to fill out FAFSA applications, accept potential scholarships and inform students of registration information. Oyler mentioned systems like Ask Waldo have been used by WSU in the past but had never been consolidated to this degree.

“We realized it would be nice to have a primary platform where we could track communication overall,” Oyler said. “But also have it be intentional so we don’t have 75 different offices texting students information.”

The artificial intelligence portion of Ask Waldo is mainly used in the chatbot. The chatbot is available 24 hours a day and can answer questions from a library of answers.

“It took forever to gather all of our common questions and answer some,” Oyler said.

She estimated the number of questions in the library to be over 1,000. Oyler and others continue to add to this library daily, populating the library with more possible answers to issues or concerns.

Oyler said the main focus of Ask Waldo was to assist students and give them a reminder at the proper times.

“Research in higher education has shown it can be helpful to provide a nudge to students,” Oyler said.

Ask Waldo helps WSU track communication metrics of campaigns. Oyler said this year was the first that Ask Waldo was used to inform students of their respective registration times via text as opposed to email.

“The first few days when registration was open we saw a higher registration rate than prior years,” Oyler said.

The metrics show that the Ask Waldo helped students register sooner than they had before.

Ask Waldo can be accessed on the front page of WSU’s website near the bottom right in a box labeled “Questions?”