L. Klopfenstein, A. Bogliolo

University of Urbino (ITALY)
Chatterbots, or bots, have recently enjoyed a dramatic comeback: these automated agents, communicating with users through the exchange of simple text messages, have overtaken most online messaging platforms and are increasingly used to provide means to access information or to make use of services. Because of the pervasive popularity of messaging platforms, as they represent the main driver in smartphone usage across all demographics, bots represent an attractive development platform with direct access to a large number of users and a very low access barrier.

Many bot platforms allow the creation of special hyperlinks that invoke a particular dialogue with the bot. These hyperlinks can be presented to users digitally as URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers) or visually as QR Codes that can be embedded in digital media or bound to a physical object or a geographical location. In both cases, hyperlinks may carry additional information, providing valuable context, while enabling a seamless transition to the conversation with the bot.

In this work we describe a system that makes use of an automated data collection bot that delivers quiz questions to users. Hyperlinks are used to determine the question asked, for instance ensuring their sequence or tying them to a specific document. The system can work both synchronously during live events and asynchronously through persistent links.

We also present two large-scale events during which this system has been used to co├Ârdinate online educational coding quizzes and describe the implemented system in detail, illustrating its effectiveness and its gaming mechanics, and also discussing strengths and weaknesses of the proposed system. We argue that the bot-aided coding quiz and its game mechanics could be applied profitably to many other educational events or data collection tasks.