ADMINS project — update

After a busy, rewarding and challenging year, Paco launched the main trial for ADMINS on the 18th November 2020. It was closed on the 10th January 2021, with 134 student respondents completing all parts of the trial.

A key takeaway from the research was that respondents preferred the ADMINS Chat-bot they trialled over the existing online form, when disclosing their disabilities and needs to us. (Links to research papers to follow.)

ADMINS Chat-bot "I have a prosthetic leg …" (screenshot)

Chetz Colwell undertook accessibility testing before our main trial, and I’ve followed up by contributing accessibility bug reports and fixes to the Microsoft WebChat Javascript library.

Below I’ve summarised some of our technical achievements and some challenges we faced.

Technical achievements

  • Richard developed a structured data-format to load the conversation into the Chat-bot. This gives us flexibility to customize the conversation-flow, without changing the code;

We developed …:

  • A custom “patient”, adaptive speech recognizer for the Chat-bot, built on MS Speech Cognitive Services (live-demoed!);

  • And, a [LUIS model][] to classify multiple disabilities and health conditions from a potentially long, multi-sentence disclosure by a student.


  • Incomplete documentation; documentation only dealing with simpler use-cases; out-of-date documentation;

  • Issues encountered with speech-to-text accuracy when using low bandwidth phone calls (Paul)

Read more in various blog posts from early February 2021.

I’m very proud of what we achieved throughout 2019-2020, and the COVID crisis!

Thanks to :~ Tim, Kate, Paco, Wayne, Jo, Kevin, Peter, Rich, Paul and our consultant students.

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