CSUSB Alert: The San Bernardino campus remains closed today as regional power disruption continues.

The regional power disruption that began on Wednesday, July 24, at 1:50 pm continues to impact the San Bernardino campus.  

The San Bernardino campus will remain closed today, Thursday, July 25. 

Facilities Management is working to ensure that generators in critical areas are operating. 

Essential staff with questions on whether to report should contact their appropriate administrator.

The Palm Desert Campus remains open and operational.

 

Main Content Region

Chatbot

Cody Coyote

Ask Cody

Ask Cody isn’t just your average FAQ bot, he's a next-generation conversational assistant powered by the latest generative AI technology. By drawing knowledge from various CSUSB websites and databases, Ask Cody offers human-like, quality responses to questions about admissions, financial aid, parking, and other campus resources. His vast knowledge base allows him to provide accurate, meaningful answers, making him an essential resource for the students, faculty, and staff. Since Cody operates 24/7, he can provide assistance to students even when campus is closed. Additionally, by handling repetitive questions often asked through calls and email, staff in student-facing offices can spend more time focusing on more nuanced, individual situations. 

History

The first exploration into Large Language Model (LLM) generative AI was the building of a chatbot that could answer questions regarding student and class statistics, available via Actions On Google. The initial practical application was a conversational tool that provided answers to financial aid questions: our first website-available bot. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, the chatbot team quickly built additional chatbots for Admissions, Registrar, Parking, and more.

Since then, all the department chatbots have been unified into a single bot, Ask Cody, and the team continuously works to utilize the best technology. In February 2024, the next major step saw Ask Cody made available in the myCoyote portal, allowing users to be greeted by name, as well as identify users by their role (staff, student, or faculty). Utilizing role information allows for a more refined content query, and provides more relevant answers. This lays out the foundation to eventually achieve a more personalized experience, where Cody can answer questions about an individual’s unique situation.

What Cody Knows

Websites

Using Google’s VertexAI platform, Ask Cody can utilize content from multiple campus domains. By providing Vertex with a list of websites or pages to index, it will structure each page’s content to build a semantic and meaningful understanding of the web content. This allows Cody to take a user’s question and return the highest scoring content as a response based on their word choice and relative meaning.

Databases

Using Google BigQuery, we store multiple campus databases:

  • Academic Programs
  • Campus Directory Information
  • Department Information
  • University Calendar

Both of these sources are stored in what’s known as a Vector Embedding Database. This is a concept where you take a piece of data and have an LLM transform it into a list of numbers: a numerical representation of how the LLM understands that data in a semantically meaningful way. Perform this process to embed each data point in each table, and you’ve created a Vector Embedding. You can read more about vector embeddings from either Google Cloud or OpenAI.

 

example of chatbot interaction

How you can help Cody

While the chatbot team is always reviewing conversations and looking for ways to make the bot better, there are ways you can help Cody improve as well!

Users: We’ve recently added a mechanism for users to leave a thumbs-up or thumbs-down reaction as feedback to a chatbot response.  Please feel free to utilize this feedback option, as it helps gain insight into how you feel about particular responses.  If the chatbot was helpful to you, please share the chatbot with classmates, colleagues, etc.  The more campus community members that use the bot, that creates more statistics and information the chatbot team can use to improve the chatbot.

Web Editors: Since Cody relies heavily on website information to ground most of its answers, the state of every campus website is very important.  Please make sure that all of your website pages are recently updated, and with the most current content as possible.  Please also be sure that you are not duplicating content that exists elsewhere on your website.  Only describe information that “belongs” to your department content, and reference external content via hyperlinks to the appropriate department web page.

Lastly, we have a feedback form available for individuals to leave specific comments and questions regarding the campus chatbot.  Feel free to fill it out, and if you’d like a further discussion into how it works and what you can do to help improve it, we’re more than happy to meet with you!

Disclaimer

Ask Cody uses generative AI technology to formulate final responses to users.  While the chatbot team has gone through great lengths to make sure each response is backed by factual data, no genAI technology is perfect, and can make mistakes.  The chatbot team continuously evaluates interactions to find ways to improve performance and quality, but please be sure to consider verifying important information as well.  Please be aware that your conversations with Ask Cody on the website and through myCoyote are archived for purposes of improving response quality and user experience. Conversations conducted through websites are anonymous, while those conducted through myCoyote are not.