Reading College students team up with Pexip to create a chatbot – FE News

Computer science students at Reading College (@Activate_Learn) have teamed up with a video communications company, Pexip (@pexip), to participate in project-based learning.

Pexip held a Masterclass with our Level 2 ICT students in December, introducing the company and focusing on how companies approach project planning in the IT sector.

The masterclass also introduced a project-based learning opportunity for students, supported by Pexip, which began in February. Project-based learning allowed students to plan, design and build a chatbot application, using Pexip’s own version as an example. A chatbot is a computer program designed to encourage conversation with users, usually over the Internet, for example, by communicating with visitors to a website.

Working in small teams, the students had to research all the products and services that Pexip offers to its customers. They then had to gather requirements, identify roles and responsibilities, prepare a project plan, and design, develop and test a virtual chatbot, which responded to customer requests for Pexip’s products and services.

Finally, students had to prepare and present a final presentation.

Final presentations took place recently, with the winning team (Team PENDS) receiving a certificate and prizes from Pexip.

This is just one example of how the Special Education and Industry Knowledge Exchange Program (ISTKEP) works at higher education institutions. SMEs can also offer internships to teachers, co-create our curriculum, get involved in project-based learning, participate in employer forums and advisory boards, and offer internships to students studying T-levels.

ISTKEP was commissioned by Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership. It is partly funded by the European Social Fund. The three-year program will run until December 2023.

Activate Learning works with three partners to deliver this program: Activate Learning Education Trust, Newbury College and Windsor Forest Colleges Group.

As a government white paper highlighted in January 2021, there is an urgent need to bolster current industry skills and knowledge for continuing education students and transform post-16 education and training.

The aim of this project is to work in partnership with small and medium-sized employers in the science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) industries in Berkshire to help young people acquire the skills they need to get a fantastic local job. opportunities and closing the current skills gap.

Manahil Younis, one of the finalists, said, “Participating in this project gave me an opportunity that looks good on my CV, so when I apply for jobs, they can see the qualification and experience that I have. ai, which will help me to go further.

“I was able to improve my leadership and communication skills and I was able to bring my team together and help them work together and get them working on everything on time.”

Mike Hatfield, Director of Engineering at Pexip, said, “This was Pexip’s first time partnering with an educational institution, and we were excited to see for ourselves how Activate Learning helps young people develop skills relevant to the modern world of work.

“Finding new talent is a challenge, so we are proud to support initiatives that provide technical learning paths for local talent. Several of our software engineers have mentored and advised students in the development of a chatbot application as part of their project-based learning.

“I was encouraged by the work done at Reading College to develop relevant skills with the students. Pexip engineers enjoyed guiding the groups, advising them on areas such as teamwork and testing , as well as answering questions about their own professional backgrounds I would like to thank Chris, Sajeeth and the team for giving us the opportunity to partner with Activate Learning.

Sajeeth Nair, Lecturer in Computing at Activate Learning, said: “I would like to thank the Pexip team for helping our students develop the skills they need in the workplace. Their engagement with us has been fabulous.

“Thank you also to the students for their involvement.”

Chris Craig, Project Coordinator for the ISTKEP Project at Activate Learning, said, “We are extremely grateful for the support and knowledge that the Pexip team has provided to our Level 2 ICT students during this academic year.

“With their encouragement and critical feedback to the teams on the project, our students were able to prototype fantastic chatbot systems and learn more skills around teamwork, planning and delivering project work, from the creation of chatbot and the presentation in front of a group of people.

“We look forward to continuing this relationship with Pexip over the next year and expanding our students’ learning through their industry expertise.”

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