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Amesite Platform for Wayne State Uses AI to Find Content

The Ann Arbor-based software company has teamed up with Wayne State University on a new AI-driven platform that combs the web for materials that could be of use in automotive tech courses and other related topics.

The artificial intelligence software company Amesite has announced a new AI-driven online learning platform for Wayne State University, Warrior TechSource, to help alumni and tech professionals learn about emerging technologies in automotive engineering and other tech-integrated industries.

According to Amesite CEO Ann Marie Sastry, the platform used by Michigan's third-largest university has most of the functions other common virtual learning tools have, such as video conferencing to enable communication with live course instructors. However, she said the software stands out with its use of AI to find content related to lessons on tech subjects.

Sastry explained that the AI reads hundreds of thousands of articles about recent developments in automation, manufacturing and artificial intelligence, among other related tech topics. The platform then suggests the most informative readings for each lesson. Sastry compared this function to how music streaming platforms like Spotify work to suggest songs for users based on past listening habits.

“The AI looks at the course material and says, ‘I found this article that’s related from a qualified source. I’m going to put this in the course feed,’ and the instructor can click a button and include it,” she said. “These subjects are generating new news every day.”

Similar to other educational AI tools that focus primarily on menial tasks such as grading tests and curriculum development, the Amesite platform can also grade short-answer or multiple-choice assignments and send notifications to students. Sastry said this allows instructors to focus on teaching and student engagement, while the AI “takes up the administrative work."

Wayne State University Dean of Engineering Farshad Fotouhi said the tool has mainly been used in courses that focus on automotive engineering, which teach students about emerging technologies used to power autonomous vehicles and electric cars.

According to recent aggregated research on Amesite's blog, the automotive industry faces sweeping changes that could change workforce expectations in the coming years. Fotouhi believes auto-tech professionals must familiarize themselves with concepts such as electrification, autonomous technology and connectivity to bring themselves up to speed in an ever-changing industry.

“Course topics around mobility, communication between vehicles and infrastructure, vehicle-to-vehicle [communication], electrification technology, manufacturing and industry 4.0 technology – these are constantly evolving,” Fotouhi said. “With the platform, they can look at the literature and news articles and share those with students so they can be up to date and provided with context about that.”

Fotouhi said the new platform has proven itself useful so far, adding that the university has plans to expand the use of the platform moving forward. He noted that the tool can be used more broadly to teach about tech topics in other increasingly digitized fields.

“We needed to develop workforce development courses and training courses online, and we thought their platform is more suitable than some of the other platforms that are out there,” he said. “It can be offered to somebody from business, the School of Medicine, law school, somebody who wants to learn about blockchain, or from nursing who wants to learn about data science.”
Brandon Paykamian is a staff writer for Government Technology. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from East Tennessee State University and years of experience as a multimedia reporter, mainly focusing on public education and higher ed.