Hybrid Education: The Potential of Teaching and Learning with Robot-Mediated Communication
Blended learning, which combines online and face-to-face pedagogy, is a fast-growing mode of instruction as universities strive for equitable and alternative pathways to course enrollment, retention, and educational attainment. However, challenges to successfully implementing blended instruction are that social presence, or students’ ability to project their personal characteristics into the learning space, is reduced with potential negative effects on student engagement, persistence, and academic achievement. Instructors are experimenting with robot-mediated communication (RMC) to address these challenges. Results from a study of RMC at a large public university suggest that it offers advantages over traditionally used video- conferencing, including affordances for fostering students’ embodiment in the classroom, their feelings of belonging and trust, and their ability to contribute ideas in authentic ways.