Universities are encouraging student-driven innovation on campus with Alexa hackathons, challenges, and class projects. Students are creating Alexa skills to help others find the nearest open restaurant, get the latest school news headlines, and study for upcoming exams. Here are some ways you can get students involved developing engaging Alexa skills for your campus and beyond.
Host a hackathon
Hackathons are a fun way to drive student engagement and generate new Alexa skills. In 12 to 48 hours, students from multiple disciplines across the university come together to design and create usable Alexa skills.
Design a technology challenge
Have more than a day or two? Run a challenge! A challenge poses a problem that students must solve using Alexa. How can we reduce stress? How can we improve learning? How can we cut waste on campus? Students have anywhere from a month to a semester to produce an Alexa skill that solves these needs.
St. Louis University's Innovation Challenge
What: A technology challenge where students solved a problem around campus leaverging voice technology.
Who: Undergraduates and graduate students from across the university
Length: A semester
Saint Louis University (SLU) runs an annual technology innovation challenge program open to all students at the university. This year’s challenge started with one question: How would you use Alexa to solve a challenge on campus? Working with the IT services division and the university’s department of innovation, students had a semester to build their Alexa skill. At SLU’s Study Day, finalists presented their ideas. The presentations included an Alexa skill designed to improve health literacy so patients are better prepared for doctor appointments. Another featured an immersive language learning Alexa skill that helps people learn Spanish and provides local news from these countries.
Incorporate Alexa into your course
You’re teaching the next generation of voice professionals. Give students an opportunity for hands-on learning by incorporating Alexa into your course. Students with a range of technical abilities can build functional Alexa skills as part of a class project.
Munich University of Applied Sciences Interdisciplinary Alexa Student Projects
What: Interdisciplinary study projects where students developed voice skills for Amazon Alexa.
Who: 128 computer science and tourism majors
At Munich University of Applied Sciences (MUAS), Professor Gudrun Socher wanted students to improve their digital literacy and collaboration skills. She launched hands-on interdisciplinary student projects where teams of four to six computer science and tourism majors collaborated to build 25 new Alexa skills. Each team was made up of people with different levels of technical expertise. Tech-savvy computer science majors worked to develop different back-ends for the Alexa Skills, while other team members focused on the interaction model.