Software agents have long been used in educational environments to provide learning support. This paper describes an agent-based approach in a value-added online discussion forum system to facilitate enhanced interactions. The system deploys a multi-agent architecture in which four types of agents collaborate with one another to undertake tasks delegated by teachers and students. This multi-agent architecture has enabled several tertiary educational institutions in New Zealand to build a shared discussion platform that integrates their current learning management systems. Based on the monitoring of student activities, the system presents many advanced functionalities such as formation of formal answers to repeatedly raised questions (FAQs), delivery of useful messages to appropriate individuals, and organization of study groups with compatible students.
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