Online students who use innovative robots feel more engaged and connected to the instructor and students in the classroom, according to the first study of Michigan State University's (MSU) robot-learning course.
As part of the course, robots stationed around the classroom are equipped with mounted screens controlled by remote users, letting them pan around the room to see and talk with the instructor and in-person students.
The study found robot learning generally benefits remote students more than traditional videoconferencing, and enables the professor to look a robot-learner in the eye instead of at a screen full of faces, says MSU professor Christine Greenhow.
She notes the technology also has implications for telecommuters working remotely and students with disabilities or who are ill. "The main takeaway here is that students participating with the robots felt much more engaged and interactive with the instructor and their classmates who were on campus," Greenhow says.
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