About Common Supporters

Table of Contents

November 19, 2021

What are Common Supporters?

At the University of Tokyo, student supporters called “Common Supporters” are involved in support services such as technical support, consultation, and trouble-shooting for online classes and web conferences. Support is provided in forms of live chat service via a widget in utelecon, Zoom, and email. For details, please see “Support Desk”.

Regarding the chat service, automated responses are generated by chatbots before connecting to Common Supporters. Common Supporters are also responsible for chatbot maintenance.

As of November 2021, about 40 students in the University of Tokyo are working as Common Supporters. These students range from first-year undergraduates to doctoral students, and come from a variety of fields of specialization. They are interested in information and communication technology and strive to improve university experiences. They work together and make use of their knowledge while mastering relevant technology.

History

In March 2020, in response to the spread of a new variant of coronavirus, the University of Tokyo began to examine the possibility of conducting classes online. In the beginning, faculty members responded to technical problems and individual inquiries that were not covered by the articles on utelecon by email.

However, there were limited faculty members who could respond to emails alone, and it became necessary to establish a sustainable system for inquiries and problem solving. Therefore, we decided to introduce student chat support, and recruited Common Supporters to be involved in its construction and operation.

Construction and implementation of the chatbot was started in April 2020. The automated chatbot service was introduced along with live chat operator service in May.

System modification and additional staff recruitment were then carried out in seeking to expand support. Specifically, in February 2021, remote support via Zoom was started in addition to the chat service. In March, e-mail correspondence was transformed into an inquiry form, and students began to get involved in the aforementioned services.

Common Supporter is mainly operated by UTokyo faculty members of Information Systems Division and University Center for General Education and Research (Daiso Center). In establishing the Common Supporter system, we have received professors’ cooperation from the Organization for the Advancement of Liberal Arts Education, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (KOMEX). To provide expert knowledge and support in the university’s information services, we also collaborate with the faculty members of the Information Technology Center and the Division for Information and Communication Systems.

List of External Presentations and Interviews