Online Teaching Tip: Use Intelligent Agents to Keep Students Engaged and On Task

Keeping Students On Track and Engaged

In an online class, it’s often hard to keep students on track, especially students who aren’t used to taking this type of course.  If you use OAKS you can use the Intelligent Agents to help you help your students.

Intelligent Agents in OAKS

Intelligent Agents (IAs) will automatically send an email to students based on an action, or lack of action.


  • The easiest, and most helpful, thing to do with IAs is to remind students to log into the class.  With this IA, an email goes out when a student hasn’t had any course activity in X number of days (you choose).
  • Have the IA email students who have not yet turned in an assignment or taken a quiz to remind them to get it done.
  • We often focus on students who are not doing well, but it’s just as important to focus on those students who are.  Have the IA send a congratulations email or graphic to any student who gets a good grade (defined by you) on a quiz, assignment or discussion.  This is an amazing way to keep students engaged.

NOTE:  Unfortunately, at this time IAs only work with email and cannot send notifications via text.

How To:

  1. In your OAKS class go to Management > Edit Course > Intelligent Agents
  2. Select the New button
  3. Type in a Name for your IA in Agent Name
  4. Make sure the Agent is Enabled is checked
  5. Section 1: Criteria
    1. Choose the group whom you want to be eligible for the email.
    2. If you want to have them reminded to log into the class then check the box next to Course Activity, Take action… and then select the proper button.
    3. If you want to email the student when they have or have not done something in the class click on Create and Attach under Release Conditions (Learn more at  This video shows Release Conditions in Content but they work the same way throughout the class)
  6. Section 2: Actions
    1. Determine if they should get an email every time it happens (like when they don’t login within a certain number of days) or only the first time (as when they get a specific grade on a quiz).
    2. Then write the email.
      1. In To: Cc: Bcc: click on What special email addresses can I use? to show you filler text you can use to have the email automatically send to the proper person.
      2. In the Subject and Body you can also use these replacement strings to personalize the email.  Click on What replace strings can I use in the subject and message? to see these.
  7. Section 3: Scheduling
    1. Click the check box next to Use Schedule
    2. Now set the schedule parameters.
  8. Click Save and Close


The IAs are a great way to keep up with students without over taxing yourself.

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