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A group of colleagues with a silver homemade robot in between them.A group of colleagues with a silver homemade robot in between them.

How can we use AI to supercharge RMIT Online?

RMIT Online held an internal event which brought together team members for two days of collaboration around the power of AI.

Last month, RMIT Online held our third Connection Sprint - a two-day internal event with the goal of reflecting, planning and cross-company collaborating. This Connection Sprint’s theme was focused on how AI could not only impact but supercharge the business.  

Over the two days, team members were assigned hackathon groups to work on ideas or problems that challenged or interested them, and allowed for them to explore and engage with different kinds of artificial intelligence.  

The hackathon provided a unique opportunity for staff to connect with colleagues they don't usually work with, and foster collaboration and innovation. To ensure a successful experience, we had four dedicated mentors, including Thoughtwork’s Nigel Dalton joined by technical mentor - Will Calvert, business mentor - Sarah Kerr and collaboration mentor - Fabrice Chatain. Participants could reach out to them for guidance on technical aspects, business operations, collaboration, and innovative thinking. 

The Mentor's Award, celebrating the team that truly embodied the spirit of the hackathon through collaboration, spirit, and teamwork, was presented to the lucky winners: Team 9 - The Blind Spot Bot. 

Team captains: Amy Wilson & Hassan Koshin  

Team members: Gillian Lee, Melanie Minchin, Brodie Rowlands, Naomi Spencer, Dominic McAuliffe, Rosanne Morrison 

silver paper robot in the middle with a man an woman next to it looking excited


Can you tell us what your winning idea was? 

Hassan: We developed an AI bot to minimise the lack of transparency and communication between internal and external stakeholders when a course is cancelled. The AI bot initiated triggers and automations which was a catalyst in our comms plans. 

Amy: How to use AI to improve comms between stakeholders - recognising varying factors contributing to course cancellation and communicating to RMIT Online teams 

Naomi: The Blind Spot Bot (BSB)! It does exactly what Amy and Hassan described, and we’ve rolled it out straight away! 


Can you explain how you came up with your idea? What was the problem you saw?

Amy: We realised that in many cases a lot of people were missing out on important information. Although there are processes documented on our Confluence page with people changing roles and heavy reliance on messaging/emailing several teams, notifying people about course cancellations wasn’t very efficient. 


What were some of the things you learnt during ideation? 

Hassan:  During the hackathon's ideation phase, I learned two crucial lessons. Firstly, understanding the target audience's needs and challenges is vital for creating effective solutions. Secondly, collaborative brainstorming with diverse participants generates a wide range of innovative ideas. Additionally, I discovered the importance of incorporating feedback, iterating on ideas, considering feasibility, and prioritising user-centric solutions. These insights significantly influenced our ideation process and contributed to the project's overall success. 

Naomi: I learnt that through our mixed team collaboration (as identified by Hassan) we were all experiencing the same issue in different ways and IT systems we use. This helped articulate the best path forward and tool to use for the building stage. 


What solution did you build and how was it implemented? 

Amy: We decided to use our existing platform on as we had records of course cancellations. We knew that we could send emails to notify people, but it wasn’t very efficient. Instead, we used an integration with Slack that can notify a channel, so everyone gets notified at once. Because it is helpful for people to know that a course is being considered for cancellation, we now have two notifications, a message to give a “heads-up” that the Program Manager and School are considering the cancellation and a message to announce the official cancellation. 

Naomi: It turned out that integration was key! AI integrations between our different systems allowed us to link platforms to break out of the communication silos we were working in. It may not be ‘big AI’, it was ‘little, yet effective AI’—Our Blind Spot Bot (BSB)! 


And finally, what was your winning reason as to why you thought your idea could help supercharge RMIT Online?

Amy: The solution we are using for notifying course cancellations can be used across several processes in RMIT Online meaning we break down the “blind spots” and keep everyone informed of anything that affects their role. 

This article was originally published on 28 June 2023