askAri

Ask Ari

a Virtual Wellness Assistant

Ask Ari features an intelligent agent that engages students in a dialog about well-being issues and then facilitates the use of online educational and self-care strategies to assist these students in increasing their levels of personal functioning.

Such engagement between the students and VWA also may decrease the likelihood of the students developing issues that interfere with their academic functioning and overall wellness and health. It is also a gateway for students who need additional support, such as counseling or advisement.

Students connect to USC resources and learn self-care skills through videos, assessments, guided information, worksheets, and other activities.


Ask Ari was developed through a collaboration between the Office of Wellbeing & Education, the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, and the Office of the Provost. Our team consists of subject matter experts, research associates, and computer programmers. 

Ask Ari can be accessed at AskAri.usc.edu

 

About

Student wellness, resilience, and success are major issues and challenges for colleges throughout the United States. University resources are quickly being outpaced by student need. Many students seek counseling, but 75% of USC students don’t need treatment. They need accurate information, self-reflection, awareness, skills, and resources for issues like loneliness, sleep hygiene, healthy communication, and the difficulties of college life. The Virtual Wellness Assistant (VWA) software program features an intelligent agent that engages students in a dialog about well-being issues and then facilitates the use of online psychoeducational and self-care strategies to assist these students in increasing their levels of personal functioning. Such engagement between the students and VWA also may decrease the likelihood of the students developing symptoms that interfere with their academic functioning and overall wellness and health. It is also a gateway for students who need additional support, such as counseling or advisement. Students are able to connect to USC resources and learn self-care skills through videos, assessments, guided information, worksheets, and other activities. These activities will result in empowering students to develop skills needed for managing stress, connecting to others, and balancing college life.   

Further, many students will turn to the internet to find answers to their wellness questions. Unfortunately, much of this information is anecdotal, inaccurate, or not applicable to the USC population. VWA is a 24/7 research-based informational tool that provides accurate, up-to-date psychoeducation specific to the USC community, which has a high need and desire for such online wellness information. It is continually updated with evidence-based, peer-reviewed research. Current topics include sleep, healthy communication, stress, relationship basics, toxic relationship habits, and depression. Campus and local resources are recommended to help the user get further skill-development, connection, and engagement.  

Virtual Wellness Assistant was developed through a collaboration between the Office of Wellbeing & Education and the USC Institute for Creative Technology. Our team consists of subject matter experts, research associates, and computer programmers. 

VWA is currently being tested and we would love to hear your feedback! If you would like to participate in the testing phase, please signup.