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What is this research study about?

The CSIRO and Curtin University are seeking people who are interested in being involved in the remote programming and/or testing of a new chat-bot technology for use by tertiary students to facilitate their participation in university education.

A chat-bot is a type of conversation agent where you can talk about different topics and it responds to you and gives appropriate information. The response is drawn from a ‘brain’ which is developed to contain information relevant to the people the chat-bot is talking to, through an app on a smart device or through a webpage.

This project aims to develop the content for an appropriate chat-bot brain to support individuals on the autism spectrum who are undertaking higher education. The brain will also include information to promote mental and physical health autonomy while studying. The chat-bot will provide relevant resources sourced from student support services and health services. Additionally, the chat-bot could serve as a personal conversation partner for users to practice interaction techniques and communication strategies for various social scenarios, such as: talking to a stranger or course co-ordinator, engagement with a health professional or getting lost on campus. The chat-bot will be available for downloading on your android phone, if you have one, or accessing through the web.

Why should I help?

The findings of this study will be used to develop a chat bot that will help tertiary students who on the autism spectrum to navigate the campus of Curtin University in Perth, WA to plan their study and exam commitments, and look after themselves while studying. If this chat bot for Curtin University students proves to be successful, the technology will then be made available for other universities.

Who can take part?

The research team of this study is keen to have input from anyone who has thoughts about the information and resources that a tertiary student who is on the autism spectrum might need or use to assist them in undertaking tertiary (post-school) study.

You might be a person on the autism spectrum, or you might be the family member, friend, carer or teacher of a person who is on the autism spectrum.

For example, you might be a person who is on the autism spectrum and you are either

  • at high school and considering studying at university, TAFE or a tertiary college
  • or you are currently studying at university, TAFE or a tertiary college
  • or you’ve competed studies at university, TAFE or a tertiary college
  • or you have wanted to undertake studies at university, TAFE or a tertiary college but you have not yet done so.

Alternatively, you might be the family member, carer, friend or teacher of an autistic person and that autistic person is either at high school and considering tertiary studies; or is currently doing tertiary studies; or has competed tertiary studies, or has wanted to undertake tertiary studies but has not yet done so.

Who is conducting this study?

This study is funded by the Autism Co-operative Research Centre for Living with Autism.

Researchers from CSIRO are leading this study in collaboration with the Curtin University Specialist Mentoring Program and the Autism Academy of Software Quality Assurance.

What will I be asked to do?

You will be asked to log into a remote programming portal where you will find instructions on how to program the chat bot with content provided by mentees and mentors of the Curtin University Specialist Mentoring Program. You can also suggest additional content that you think may be relevant to tertiary students.

When and where?

You will receive log in details by email and can log in from anywhere to program the chat bot. The portal will be open until 10 June 2019 and you can log in as often as you wish during that time.

To find out more about the study and register to participate please contact David Ireland at CSIRO

Please feel free to forward this information to others who might also be interested in participating.

Phone us to discuss how we can help you.

Call 1800 277 328

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