?Ask Matty? gives answers

Aston Tan

Students with questions about their academic life can now go to CSUN’s very own Matty the Matador.

‘Ask Matty’ is a new question and answer system now featured on the CSUN website. In the style of the search engine, Ask Jeeves, users type in a question and the system searches through its database of replies to find the most relevant response.

‘Academic Affairs wanted one place a student could go to get their questions answered,’ said Information and Communications Specialist Juliette Diggs. ‘The idea for the project rose out of needs that students had.’

She added that the system was designed to tackle questions as wide ranging as where one would go to park on campus and how to change majors.

Diggs said she was hired to take on the project almost a year ago.

‘It was daunting’hellip; It took about nine months to get all the data together,’ she said, describing a campus-wide collaboration between various organizations like the University Corporation, the Matador Involvement Center and herself.

‘We worked with the A.S. to make this possible’hellip; We met with every single office department in CSUN,’ she said.

Diggs said the various departments compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions, which were then submitted to her. The responses were reformatted into what she called a ‘student-friendly way’ and then stored in a database ready to be pulled out when the Ask Matty resource is used.

According to Diggs, the database will be closely monitored and constantly updated with new responses so as to continually remain relevant.

Currently, Diggs said the site has received 5,525 hits from the time of its inception in Oct. 22 through Nov. 16.

From there, she has received 31 e-mails from users who could not find the answers they were looking for.

The numbers, she said, looked promising.

The ‘Ask Matty’ resource is available at www.csun.edu/askmatty.