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Intelligent Agents

Intelligent Agents send an automated email when instructor-defined criteria are met. For example, instructors can email students who have not logged in recently, whose grades have fallen below a certain level, or who have viewed (or not viewed) specific topics in Content.

Create an Intelligent Agent

  1. Select Edit Course.
  2. Select Course Administration
  3. Select Intelligent Agents
  4. Note: If Course Administration page is set to show tools by category (the default), Intelligent Agents will be under the heading 'Communication'.  If the Course Administration page is set to view by name, then Intelligent Agents are listed alphabetically.

  5. The Agent List page will open.
  6. Select New.
  7. Enter an agent name (required) and description (optional).
  8. Select Agent is Enabled if the agent is to be active as soon as created. This setting only applies if the agent  is set to run automatically on a schedule.
  9. Determine the criteria the agent looks for, for example:
    • To have the agent to send an email to a student who has not accessed the course recently, select Take action when the following course activity criteria are satisfied, and enter a number in the User has not accessed the course for at least [#] days field.
    • To have the agent to send an email when a student views or interacts with a specific item in the course, click Create and Attach in the Release Conditions section. Choose a condition that must be met from the options on the Condition Type menu, and then specify the actions the student must take in the Condition Details section. Click Create when done selecting release conditions.
    • Note: If using the "Receive Grade" condition, students who are exempt from a grade item will not be included in the condition. This is because there is no grade for them to receive. Determine how the agent sends email when its conditions are met

    • Select one of the “Action Repetition” radio buttons to set whether the agent sends email once or any time the conditions are met.

Note: Attachments can be added to automated email messages when creating and editing intelligent agents. The intelligent agent email template contains an Attachments area that enables instructors to upload a local file or available course files, or record audio. Attachment size is based on the email attachment size setting for the organization.

Scheduling an Agent to run automatically

  1. For an agent to run automatically, select the "Use Schedule" checkbox.
  2. Select Update Schedule.
  3. The Update Agent Schedule window will open.
  4. Set the frequency and dates in the fields provided.
  5. Note: If an agent is set to only run once, it will ignore future situations in which its conditions are met.

  6. Select Update.
  7. Enter the replace string in the “To” field of the automated email to be sent. (Options for replace strings listed below.
  8. Enter a subject and message for the email sent by the Intelligent Agent. Special replace strings can be used in these fields as well.
  9. Select Save and Close.

Note: Intelligent Agents will be disabled once the course is inactive.

Editing an Agent

  1. On the Agent List page, select the name of the agent to edit.
  2. Enter any changes.
  3. Select Save.

Testing Your Agent with a Practice Run

This “practice run” will generate a report of what students would have been caught by the agent. In a practice run, no emails are sent. The list that is generated indicates who would have been contacted with the given parameters of an agent, which allows instructors to test how a particular agent and settings would impact students.

  1. On the Agent list page, select the dropdown arrow next to the name of the agent.
  2. Select Practice Run.
  3. Select Run.
  4. On the confirmation page, select Done.

Running an Intelligent Agent Manually

If the agent is not set up to run on a schedule, it will need to be run manually.

  1. Select the dropdown arrow next to an agent on the Agent List page.
  2. Select Run Now.
  3. A confirmation dialog box will open, select Run.

Intelligent Agent Settings

By default, intelligent agent emails come from "System - No Reply" and the reply-to email is "system_noreply@brightspace.com". It is recommended that this email is changed to an email that is monitored by a person

  1. On the Agent List page, select the Settings.
  2. Check "Set custom values for this course".
  3. Enter the name the email should appear to be from . For example, "Professor Vincent".
  4. Enter the reply-to email address that students should reply to. For example, "ProfessorVincent@depaul.edu".
  5. Select Save.
  6. Note: Name and reply-to email address are global settings for all intelligent agents. They cannot be changed at an individual agent level.

Replace Strings for Intelligent Agents

Replace strings are specially formatted codes that can be entered into automated emails; they replace the need to enter information that might change from student-to-student. For example, to send a personalized message to each student in a class of 60, use the replace string {InitiatingUserFirstName}, and the names of the students will be filled in automatically.

See the table below for all of the replace string options and the text they generate. In the course, select What replace strings can I use in the subject and message under the email subject text box to see a list of replace string options.

Replace String Generated Text
{InitiatingUser} The user who performs the action that meets the criteria (for use in address field).
{OrgName} The name of the organization
{OrgUnitCode} The code for the course (i.e., WRD_103_103_0990)
{OrgUnitName} The name of the course
{OrgUnitId} The id for the org unit
{InitiatingUserFirstName} The first name of the initiating user
{InitiatingUserLastName} The last name of the initiating user
{InitiatingUserUserName} The username of the initiating user
{InitiatingUserOrgDefinedId} The ID number of the initiating user
{LoginPath} The address of the login path for the site
{LastCourseAccessDate} The date the initiating user last accessed the course
{LastLoginDate} The date the initiating user last logged in

Here is a sample email using replace strings:

    Dear {InitiatingUserFirstName}, You did not logged into the {OrgUnitName} course site in the last week. Please remember that regular participation in course activities is essential for success in this course! 
    Please log in to the course site as soon as possible. 
    See you in class, 
    Dr. Vincent DePaul

In the example above, the name of each student and the course title will automatically appear when the email is sent. The bold text in the example below indicates what was added based on the replace string in the above example:

Dear John,
You did not logged into the Composition & Rhetoric II course site in the last week. Please remember that regular participation in course activities is essential for success in this course!
Please log into the course site as soon as possible.
See you in class,
Dr. Vincent DePaul