Robotic Student Engagement in Class: What Do You Think You See?
Abstract: The purpose of this case study was to explore how graduate students’ embodiment in a robotic surrogate was related to their social presence and engagement in a synchronous hybrid course. Using a mixed methods design, we collected data on the students’ perceived social presence, embodiment, and engagement, and conducted classroom observations to collect data on observable engagement. Using linear models and thematic analysis, we sought to identify relationships between social presence and embodiment, and their engagement in the course. Our findings suggest that non-verbal communication with one’s robotic body is a dominant form of engagement in synchronous learning contexts, and frameworks for studying presence and learning in such settings should account for both embodiment and social presence.