- Telepresence technology is reshaping some higher ed classrooms, letting students, professors and experts from all over tap into a more authentic classroom experience.
- The virtual collaboration tools allow students to directly interact with experts and even classmates in face-to-face virtual settings, with some Harvard Business School students, for example, taking online classes from home that are filmed in a television studio.
- Some schools are using robots to act as proxies for remote students, both in the classroom and in fields like health care where hands-on experience is valuable.
Bringing in experts via conferencing software has been a staple of many face-to-face classrooms for a while now, but bringing outside and collaborative experiences to synchronous online classes, which can feature hundreds of students. Telepresence technology now makes it possible for online students to have meaningful, real-time interactions with instructors, and each other. As Campus Technology points out, the capability to network and make connections among peers in class is often cited a major component of graduate-level education.
Similarly, in face-to-face classes, robot proxies can help students with heath or distance challenges feel closer to their classmates and the physical space, allowing instructors to read facial and body language and respond in more intimate ways.