Robots to Help Online Students Attend Lectures
As part of a trial scheme by the University of Aberdeen, four classroom robot assistants namely, Alvin, Anna, Ahmed and Abha are helping online students take part in lectures and hold discussions with teachers and other students. Currently, the robots are being used to help deliver lectures at the University’s Institute of Applied Health Sciences (IAHS) that offers various courses to students in over 100 countries across the world. The robots act as webcams, microphones and speakers for the online students, and attend lectures, do lab work and even perform field visits.
Dr Kirsty Kiezebrink, a senior lecturer at IAHS, remarks that the feedback on the programme has been overwhelmingly positive. ‘Our online students are reporting that they feel closer to discussions taking place in the classroom,’ she explained. ‘The current trial will assess whether this novel teaching method can help student retention rates and make for a more engaging learning experience.’
The students can see and hear everything happening in the class with the help of the robots which will also light up to alert tutors if the students have any questions or doubts. The light-up facial features can signal either confusion or contentment at the reception of clarification to their queries and doubts.
While it is too early to see if this is a viable teaching method, Dr Kiezebrink is hopeful. ‘We will continue to assess the value in using the robots as we look to enhance the learning experience for our online students,’ she added.
News and Image Source: https://digit.fyi/robot-classroom-assistants/