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Introduction to Conversational Interfaces

Learn how and why conversational interfaces have developed and the ways in which this exciting new technology is evolving.

5,395 enrolled on this course

Introduction to Conversational Interfaces
  • Duration2 weeks
  • Weekly study2 hours
  • 100% onlineLearn at your own paceHow it works
  • Digital upgradeFree

How do you know if you’re talking to a human or a machine?

From corporate chatbots to our everyday interactions with Alexa and Siri, conversational interfaces (where a computer can reply to instructions using natural language) have become increasingly commonplace – and hard to spot.

On this course, you’ll get an introduction to conversational and voice-based interfaces, discovering how they developed and what people working in this field think about them.

You’ll explore how they can be designed and developed effectively and responsibly, and learn about the skills and design thinking you need to develop a successful conversational interface.

Featured in the UK government’s The Skills Toolkit collection.

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  • Week 1

    What are conversational interfaces?

    • Welcome to the course

      Welcome to this two-week introduction to conversational interfaces. In these steps, we will be introducing you to what we will cover in the course and how we will go about it.

    • Types of conversational interface

      Here we will explore different kinds of conversational interfaces from chatbots to voice assistants and learn about the history of how these have developed.

    • What does it takes to make a conversational interface?

      What skills are needed to create a great conversational interface and what kind of roles are needed in a team? We'll talk to experts in this field about the kinds of qualities required and we'll explore some useful tools.

    • Approaches for good conversational interface design

      This activity asks the learner to consider how principles of good design can be applied to conversational interfaces.

    • End of Week 1

      We will wrap up the learnings from this week.

  • Week 2

    Meet the makers and explore considerations and challenges

    • Welcome back

      In these steps you'll explore the week ahead, who you will meet and what you will learn and we'll take a look at Google Duplex.

    • Building trust in conversational interfaces

      Behind every conversational interface, makers need to navigate an array of questions that might arise during the design process. In these steps, we will explore ethics and hear from our experts on key areas of consideration.

    • What's next for conversational interfaces?

      Voice activation is increasing, with improved technology and user behaviour. In these steps we'll hear from our experts about where the technology is heading and what creators need to be thinking about.

    • Wrapping up

      Let's recap what you've learned during this introduction to conversational interfaces and point you to some further learning.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe what conversational interfaces are and how the technology works at a basic level.
  • Summarise the main developments and history of conversational interfaces.
  • Compare different types of conversational interfaces and identify good use cases for the technology.
  • Explain the benefits of using a conversational interface. 
  • Identify the skills required to create a good conversational interface.
  • Discuss the ethical considerations around designing conversational interfaces.

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone interested in new technology, with a focus on exploring conversational and voice-based interfaces and how audiences engage with them, whether you’re a student or looking for a career in computer programming.

You might also be interested in the other courses in the Essential Creative Technologies collection from UAL Creative Computing Institute, Lancaster University and the Institute of Coding.

What software or tools do you need?

To take part in this course you’ll need a device such as a laptop or tablet with access to the internet.

Who will you learn with?

Mick Grierson is Professor of Creative Computing at UAL Creative Computing Institute.

Who developed the course?

UAL Creative Computing Institute

The UAL Creative Computing Institute (CCI) offers innovative new courses, research opportunities and a public platform to explore computer science and creative practice.

Institute of Coding

The Institute of Coding is a family of learners, businesses and educators creating a new way to develop the digital skills needed at work and beyond.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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What's included?

UAL Creative Computing Institute are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible
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