Why force us to adopt a terrible chatbot in lieu of quality end-user support?

lindsayrichardson@cunet.carleton.ca
[email protected] Posts: 6 🌱
edited November 27 in Product News

Back in October, our institution was informed that D2L will be transitioning their end-user clients to the Brightspace Virtual Assistant (BVA) be December 31st, 2023 and decommissioning their legacy support portals and workflows in 2024.

Since then, our team has been testing out the BVA and its functionality leaves something to be desired, to say the least!

Here is a 13-minute video capturing my attempt to get the BVA to tell me how to delete a submodule: https://mediaspace.carleton.ca/media/D2L%2BBVA%2BFails/1_avefnmq2 . I strongly encourage you to watch it on 2x speed; it's painful.

Here are a few other qualms we have with the BVA:

The BVA says that it’s Carleton’s D2L assistant; it is not.  

It takes several interactions to get to a live agent.  

The language on the contact us buttons are misleading.  

After you choose a contact us option, there is no way to change your mind and go back without starting over. 

Responses are just cut and pasted from an instruction page and often irrelevant. 

Visual display is confusing. When the “answer” articles appear, it’s not clear what to click on and how to continue the conversation.  

Answers are often irrelevant and missed the Carleton context. (Ex. “Q: How do I take a quiz?” > “A: <provides article on Access quizzes in New Content Experience (we don’t have this enabled)” or “How do I access Zoom?” > A: “No information found”.  

Documentation that the BVA points to is wordy, long, poorly formatted (numbered steps are sometimes missing or numbers appear where bullets should appear). This makes content hard to follow 

Documentation by D2L is not specific enough. I asked “How do I submit a link in an assignment?” The answer was to provide a tour of assignments (which did not mention submitting links) 

The BVA does not ask what role someone has which means it often provides answers that won’t work for the user. For example, when I said I couldn’t see my course it showed how to activate course which a student can’t do. 

Once it has provided a response there is no option to ask a related follow-up question or provide clarification. This means you have to start all over every time you want to talk to the BVA. 

Incorrect and irrelevant information often provided 

Hovering over the icon does not provide information about what the icon represents. 

Clicking contact support does not let you choose how you would like to get help.  

Can’t type to ask for help from a real person or contact information from the bot. The first step is to input a question but when you ask to speak to someone it just indicates they can’t help. 

Requested an email back about adding Zoom links, took a few hours and sent a link pointing to the wrong section of our support page 

The UI is very clunky and can appear as though the user is stuck in a loop  

To other institutions who have enabled BVA in their LE, what have your experiences been with it? I'm very concerned about the level/type of support our end users will be getting.

Some additional questions I still have are:

  • Are issues from BVA easily escalated/sent to our service desk?
    • Right now D2L Support sends tickets to us when it's out of their scope. I don't sense that will happen here…
  • What happens when a student says "I'm in crisis" or signals mental health crisis in some way. Are they defaulted to Brightspace Support pages? 
  • Is the D2L Live Support team shrinking? (i.e. will we have reduced access to live human support?)
  • Why is the chat icon so very very very small? It's not noticeable/is barely discernible and we can't link to the chatbot in any way. 
  • Have they done any accessibility testing with the chatbot? 

Answers

  • Hi Lindsay,
     This is important and detailed feedback. 

    Our goal with this tool is to meet Brightspace users where they are when they need help. Providing an assistant tool from inside of Brightspace that appears all across the platform means that Students and Instructors don't need to go looking for help, it's right there where and when they need it without pulling them away from the tasks they need to complete inside of Brightspace. Keeping answers included directly inside the LMS (Brightspace) and programming the tool to reflect Carleton’s unique processes helps us to keep users focused on what they need to accomplish, fast.

    We've seen a positive impact on the internal helpdesk ticket volume of many of our clients already and have improved overall experiences for users by partnering to customize the experience and solution offered by the assistant. At this time we have set the date for your next meeting to review the detailed feedback here in the Community and from your email sent yesterday. I do want to make sure we respond to your high-level questions here that may also apply to others too.

    We’ve listed your questions and some answers following:

    • Are issues from BVA easily escalated/sent to our service desk? Right now D2L Support sends tickets to us when it's out of their scope. I don't sense that will happen here…
      • Yes-tickets from BVA still flow into the ticketing system. The introduction of BVA does not change your escalation options or the way these questions are tracked through the service desk.

    • What happens when a student says "I'm in crisis" or signals a mental health crisis in some way. Are they defaulted to Brightspace Support pages?
      • BVA has the option to include custom messaging (a custom category) that would direct students to the crisis communication contact specified by your school.
      • If/when a student or instructor etc. contacts a support agent indicating a crisis, they are directed to the same crisis communication contact specified in your support workbook.

    • Is the D2L Live Support team shrinking? (i.e. will we have reduced access to live human support?)
      • No. There is no plan to reduce the live support team. The intention is to help reduce users’ wait times in an electronic queue by connecting them with resources that address frequently asked questions.

    • Why is the chat icon so very very very small? It's not noticeable/is barely discernible and we can't link to the chatbot in any way.
      • The current size of the tool has been selected to prevent the risk of distracting or obscuring access to other tools inside of Brightspace. While it wasn’t the smallest of the options designed according to Brightspace User Interface Design Patterns, the current icon was deemed least disruptive to workflows outside of the need for connecting with BVA.

    • Have they done any accessibility testing with the chatbot?
      • Yes- BVA is designed to support accessible experiences and continues to benefit from iterative accessibility testing and improvements with users of many assistive devices.