Artificial Intelligence

North Carolina CCs Try Machine Learning for Digital Repository Searching

artificial intelligence brain

The North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) is experimenting with machine learning to understand how it might make recommendations for digital learning content. The system has allocated funding to test out a machine learning "brain" across its 58 institutions. The technology was developed by Tanjo, which describes itself as a company that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to enrich "human and machine interaction."

A press statement said that the brain would "continuously and automatically map, understand and organize information throughout the community college network." The focus would be on digital content maintained within the North Carolina Learning Object Repository. The system would come up with recommendations for virtual learning courses and resources and provide those suggestions to instructors through the repository website. Eventually, "brain-scraping bots" could be set up to notify users of new content relevant to their interests, and the brain could draft documents or create custom curricula for faculty based on the data they share. A second part of the project is expected to focus on materials used in professional development at the institutions.

"With so much content available to us across our network, it became apparent that we could do a better job of organizing and sharing that knowledge when and where needed more efficiently and effectively," said NCCCS CIO Jim Parker, in a statement. "Tanjo's machine learning technology allows us to improve our collective intelligence while simultaneously mitigating otherwise tedious and costly tasks associated with data-mining."

Parker said the system will reside under NCCCS control, preventing data from flowing outside the community college network. "The result," he added, "is a uniquely secure, cost-effective, data-intelligent system that we all benefit from and evolve with."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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