Computer Science


Brown, David

Advisor Department

Computer Science and Statistics




software; engineering; course catalog; digital assistant; application

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.


Personal voice-interactive systems have become ubiquitous in daily life. There are many of these digital assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. The chances are high you have access to one right now. This technology has reached a point where the context of a conversation can be maintained, which is a vast improvement over earlier technology. Interactions without conversational context can limit interactions greatly and this was the case for previous digital assistants. Every time someone would say something to an assistant, it was like they were constantly changing operators on a customer service line. The assistants can now remember context and typically provide an informational response. With these new forms of digital interaction, there are new opportunities for creation and ingenuity. I chose to make an application on the Google Assistant platform to build on my previous experience working with the Amazon Alexa. Google’s platform calls its applications “Actions,” similar to “Alexa Skills.” My Action connects the University of Rhode Island’s course catalog and the Google Assistant. Having created the application for both visual and audio interfaces, the Action can be summoned by any Google Assistant device – including smartphones, smart speakers, and smartwatches. My action allows a digital assistant to look up course information of the University of Rhode Island courses. It will also answer general frequently asked questions about the University. During this project, I followed proper Software Engineering practices. This includes appropriate diagrams and documentation. The assistant application is written in JavaScript, communicating between the URI server, the assistant device, and the Google Cloud. To make the application I constructed many example inputs a user could enter and programmed how these inputs would be parsed. This application will continue to be available after the conclusion of this project. Next time you are itching with a URI question, just say, “Okay Google, talk to URI Course Catalog!”

Test_Plan.pdf (112 kB)