Robot students at Southeast Community College

robotgrant
The robots are docked in the library at the Lincoln Campus.

The next time you’re on Southeast Community College’s Lincoln or Beatrice campuses, you may see a “robot” trolling the halls. They are actually students from Learning Centers in Falls City, Nebraska City, Plattsmouth, and Wahoo taking classes via the robot. Instead of distance learning where students are typically confined to one room, this enables the student to travel throughout the campus.

“Many students are not able to attend credit classes at a distance due to work or family obligations,” said Holly Carr, coordinator of the Falls City Learning Center. “The robots enable a classroom experience with the convenience of attending at a local learning center.”

The robot program is funded through a Rural Development Grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. SCC was awarded $120,582. So far, six learning center students have taken advantage of the program at the Lincoln and Beatrice campuses.

Christopher Cummins, director of Instructional Technology and Virtual Learning at SCC, tested the robots prior to the start of classes. He says overall it’s been a success with some minor issues.

“The robot is designed to take some punishment, so it’s pretty sturdy,” Cummins said. “We had a (robot) student fall over in class. The camera fell off and the student’s view was in portrait mode until they put the camera back on. One of the students just picked her back up. Students in the classrooms and in the halls are constantly snapping selfies or wishing the student ‘good luck’ on their way to class. It’s been very positive.”

Students interested in taking a class via the robot technology should contact Cummins at 402-437-2865 or a Learning Center coordinator to check availability and to request a course.

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For more information contact:
Andrea Gallagher
Marketing Specialist
402-323-3395
agallagher@southeast.edu