Using Telepresence Robots for Hybrid Learning – Almost Like Being There

This exploratory study examined telepresence robots’ role in helping remote students perceive a sense of embodiment, social presence, and engagement in a hybrid classroom. The study used a convenience sample of four undergraduate courses with two instructors and 69 total students, 43 in-person and 26 remote. Eight Ohmnilabs telepresence robots were interspersed within a classroom. Remote students participated in class by signing into a robot, giving them some autonomy of where their robot body was located in the physical classroom. At the end of the term, students were surveyed using the Telepresence and Engagement Measurement Scale (TEMS) and provided written feedback about their experience. The TEMS measured embodiment, social presence, psychological involvement, and three indicators of engagement: behavioral, affective, and cognitive. Embodiment and social presence were positively correlated, as were embodiment and behavioral engagement. No significant difference between in-person and remote students’ perceptions of social presence, but a significant difference was found between the groups’ perceptions of engagement. The instructors were surveyed about their experiences. Although there were ongoing technical issues, the overall experience was positive for students and faculty. In this session, we will share details about the study’s findings and discuss recommendations for future studies with telepresence robots in a hybrid learning classroom.

Hickenbottom, K. & Wicks, D. (2022). Using Telepresence Robots for Hybrid Learning – Almost Like Being There. In L. Langran & D. Henriksen (Eds.), Proceedings of SITE Interactive Conference (pp. 59-63). Online: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).


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