TRinE Story: Graduating with a TR

In this TRinE story, a student from the University of Akureyri talks about their experience of using a telepresence robot to attend a graduation ceremony.

“The year was 2018 and I was finishing my master’s degree in educational technology at the University of Akureyri. In the spring of 2018, I realized that I could not attend the ceremony of my graduation at UNAK because I would need to attend a meeting in another continent the same day. In the beginning I had come to terms with the fact that I would miss my graduation ceremony. But in a conversation with the staff at The Center of Teaching and Learning we figured out that maybe it would be possible for me to attend through a telepresence robot they have. Before I left the country, we had a meeting and discussed how the ceremony could be changed a little bit so that the robot could drive up to the stage where I would receive my master’s degree certificate from the hand of the rector of UNAK. But the telepresence robots at UNAK do not have any hands to receive the documentation physically, so we had to improvise. It was decided that we would give virtual “five” instead of a typical handshake, this was before covid, and that the real document would be mailed to me.  On graduation day, I dressed up like I would have done if I was in Akureyri. Just before I logged into the robot, drove to the main hall and on my way, I met a lot of fellow students and we got to have a nice conversation. I felt like I was there. I drove into the main hall and parked at the front where it would be easier to drive up to the stage, before I had talked to one of the staff members who was going to be in my reach if I needed some assistance. Just before they called out my name, I started to drive to the stage just like I would do if I was walking there like the other students. Everything went well, I graduated and had no problems doing it in the form of a telepresence robot.

The University of Akureyri was implementing the usage of telepresence robots in education, which had opened a lot of opportunities for students and staff, and this was the first time someone graduated in the form of a telepresence robot at UNAK.”

first hand experience (anonymous)

Photo Credits: University of Akureyri

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