Automate Engagement with Intelligent Agents!

The Intelligent Agent tool in mycourselink/D2L uses artificial intelligence software to send personalized automated email notifications to learners based on specific criteria or conditions determined by an instructor. Criteria can range from a congratulatory message on a well-done task to a friendly reminder about a missed assignment. Not to be confused with system-generated generic notifications, Intelligent Agents use customizable messaging and parameters designed around course activities.

Whether teaching online, hybrid, or in-person, instructors can use agents to facilitate timely and relevant communication at critical junctures to help boost engagement, keep learners on task, and gain insights into learner behaviour. In addition, instructors have access to engagement and performance reports that can help gauge when further action is required (e.g., reaching out directly to a learner) or if adjustments to an assessment or learning material need to be made.

Common Use Cases for Intelligent Agents:

  • Welcome to the course.
  • Login reminders.
  • Positive reinforcements.
  • Completed tasks.
  • Alerts about missing or late assignments.
  • Monitoring access to learning material.
  • Unauthored discussion posts.
  • And much more.

Setting up agents takes a few simple steps and includes options to add attachments and record audio or video messages. Once set up, agents can be exported and reused in other course sites instructors have access to.

Use agents judiciously as too many emails can lower impact and increase the chances of them not being read. It is also good practice to maintain a balance of positive and corrective messages. Agents can be used in conjunction with other tools such as Announcements, email, and discussions.

Let's Get Started

Step 1: Creating a New Agent

This section describes where to find the Intelligent Agents tool and the first step to creating a New Agent. 

  1. Click Course Admin on the Course Navigation menu.
  2. Select Intelligent Agents under Communication.
  3. Click the New Agent button.
  4. Enter a title for the agent in the Agent Name field (this is NOT the subject line of the email message).
  5. Add a description in the Description field (visible only to the instructor) (optional).
  6. Create a Category to keep agents organized (optional).
  7. Click the Check Box under Status to enable the agent.

Course Admin Screen

New Agent Image

 Step 2: Scheduling an Agent

This section describes how to set up a schedule so that the agent can run automatically.  Agents can be scheduled to run at specific intervals and/or run manually. The practice run feature allows instructors to “test run” an agent without a notification being sent to learners. When creating an agent to remind learners about an upcoming event, be sure to schedule sufficient time between the date the reminder is sent and when the activity is due.

  1. Choose one of the schedules under Frequency (for this example, we are using Daily).
  2. Enter a number in the Repeats Every field.
  3. Enter a time in the Scheduled time field.
  4. Enter the Start and End dates in the Schedule Dates section.

Tip: Add an end date to a schedule to ensure messages are not sent to students after the course has ended. Scheduled agents also become disabled when they are deleted or when a course is made inactive.  Deleted agents can be easily restored through the "Restore" function. Refer to the "how to" video playlist below for instructions.

Scheduling Screen

 Step 3: Setting Up Criteria

This section describes how to set the criteria and conditions for the agent. In this example, the target is any student who hasn't visited the Topic 1 content page. 

  1. Select the Users with a specific role radio button and select Student under Role in Classlist (this ensures co-instructors and teaching assistants are not sent unnecessary emails).
  2. Select one of the log in options under Take Action on Activity if creating an agent to monitor login activity. Note: Login Activity is referring to logging into the mycourselink platform and Access Activity is referring to logging into a course site.
  3. Click the Create button under Release Conditions to create a release condition based on a learner's activity or inactivity in a course.
  4. Select a Condition Type and Condition Details from the drop-down menu (appears after the Create button is selected). For this example, the Condition Type is "not visited a content page" and the Condition Detail is "Topic 1."
  5. Click the Create button to return to the previous screen.

Setting the Criteria

 Step 4: Action the Agent Will Take When Criteria is Met

This section determines the action that is taken and how often (eg., how many emails are sent) when the agent criteria are met. Email messages can include attachments and audio or video recordings.

  1. Select the appropriate Action Repetition setting under Repetition.  Most often the default option "Take action only the first time the agent's criteria are satisfied for a user" would be used.
  2. Click the Check Box “Send an email when the criteria are satisfied” under Send an Email (this will expand a section where you enter your message). 
  3. Enter {InitiatingUser} in the To: field.
  4. Enter a Subject in the Subject: field.
  5. Enter a message in the Message field. Note: Replace strings can be used to personalize a message. For example, to add a learner’s first name to the message type in {InitiatingUserFirstName}. Other relevant replace strings could be added such as the name of the course {OrgUnitName}, the date the learner last accessed the course {LastCourseAccessDate}, etc. A list of all available replace strings can be viewed in the Agent editor.
  6. Click the Save and Close button to save the agent.

Tip: To personalize the name that emails come from and the reply-to address that responses are delivered select the “Set custom values for this course” option under the Settings link on the Agent List homepage.  

Creating Actions Image

Additional Resources

The following is a collection of print and multimedia Brightspace support resources to help instructors learn more about Intelligent Agents.