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Using robotics to connect remote learners

Dec 25, 2017

Remote students participating via robots, above, feel more engaged and connected than students participating via traditional videoconferencing, below, a new MSU study finds.
Credit MSU

Researchers at Michigan State University have come up with a way to help "distance learners" get more engaged in the classroom.

More and more students are sitting at home using a computer to connect with teachers and their classmates. But many feel disconnected.  

Christine Greenhow is an MSU associate professor of educational psychology and educational technology. She’s been experimenting with using robots to establish connections between students and instructors.

Greenhow says students are able to move their screens to directly look at others in the classroom.  

“When we look at students participating in this online course that were on campus, they felt more connected to their colleagues,” says Greenhow.

Greenhow says the next step is to see if more engaged distance learners also score better on tests.