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Westie is leading the way for students.

Paisley's university has recruited its first virtual member of staff - a West Highland Terrier.

Westie, the chatbot dog, has been launched to help prospective students apply successfully and enrol at the University of the West of Scotland.

The friendly pooch, who is presented as a space-travelling stylised version of the popular breed, engages with students in a two-way conversation on Facebook Messenger to support them from enquiry right through to enrolment.

According to UWS, the new virtual assistant guides students through key enrolment processes, connects them to on-campus advisors, and is available 24/7, 365 days a year to answer questions about UWS, student life, campus services, funding advice, housing, and more.

Westie is a product of artificial intelligence and supervised machine learning, and the university says the chatbot dog is part of its range of digital services for students.

Bre Edwards, UWS's director of student life, said: "One of our top priorities is to offer our existing and prospective students a very personalised experience.

"Automation is one of the many tools that can help us to personalise and tailor services.

"By interacting with students via their preferred method of communication, we are taking an innovative position in the UK to deliver timely, on-demand assistance to every student interested in pursuing postsecondary education at the university. "Importantly, Westie will also be able to answer many of the frequently asked questions that we receive.

"He will therefore free up the capacity our support teams to provide an even higher level of personalised support to those who have more complex queries and requirements."

Bosses at UWS say it is one of the UK's most innovative universities. It is ranked by Times Higher Education in the top three per cent of universities worldwide.

?You can take Westie for a walk at www.facebook.com/UWSWestie/

CAPTION(S):

Man's best friend Tobian Forster, 25, who lives in Paisley, and is studying MSC Finance and Accounting, gets to know Westie

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Paisley Daily Express (Paisley, Scotland)
Date:Mar 16, 2018
Words:325
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