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WOW News: Attending class as a robot

And a 30-plus class at Texas A&M University at Galveston were all gifted with Fs
University Business, June 2015

Attending class as a robot

There’s a new attendance option for online students of Michigan State University’s educational psychology and educational technology doctoral program: They can come to class via robot. Instead of sitting in on a stagnant videoconference, the robots allow students to scan the room remotely and feel physically engaged. The robots, from Revolve Robotics and Double Robotics, consist of iPads mounted on pedestals. Students use a home computer to rotate and tilt the iPad for full-classroom view. For professors, the classes feel more cohesive and there’s less of a barrier between online and in-person students, says John Bell, associate professor of counseling, educational psychology and special education.

Universal failure

The 30-plus students in a strategic management class at Texas A&M University at Galveston were all gifted with Fs—regardless of individual performance and before the spring semester was complete. Professor Irwin Horwitz claimed the class’s bad behavior, including alleged cheating and disrespectful language, drove him to this decision. He then resigned from teaching the course for the rest of the semester. University officials chose not to uphold the Fs, and instead students will earn grades based on work completed throughout the semester. A new professor was appointed to finish the course.

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