Penn State pilots distance learning with robots
- Campus Technology reports on a new pilot program at Penn State University which allows students to take courses via a robot controlled by mobile application. The robots can take elevators and travel to other buildings on campus.
- The robots, which allow students to monitor physical surroundings via remote link, come with built-in WiFi access, microphones and cameras to allow students a holistic in-class experience without physically being there.
- The school has been able to feature international lecturers, provide tours to prospective students, and will be part of an expanded pilot on how robots can further impact higher education.
Robotics is a major tool in many industries like health care, military defense, police and fire safety, and now, higher education. While technology is an extraordinary element in improving and increasing access to higher education, it is also an emerging barrier for some communities which have been long underserved and underexposed to these emerging assets.
For minority and low-income students whom have not had access to stable Internet, will they have the familiarity or confidence to use robots to take class? Will professors have the confidence to allow certain students to use, or to encourage them to develop these kinds of tools? These are questions that Penn State, and other campuses seeking dual missions of innovation and access, must answer to ensure that college remains as a hub for intellectual and social development for all kinds of people.
- Campus Technology Penn State students attend class via robot