TRinE Story: Reasons for using a TR at an University

At the University of Akureyri, telepresence robots (TR) have already been used for teachers and students since 2016. There are different reasons why the use of TR is preferred or even necessary compared to on-site visits. In this TRinE story, users tell us about different types of reasons.

“My due date was actually on the same day as the class, so I had a doctor’s order to stay close to my hospital and not drive to Akureyri. Of course, the teacher understood my dilemma and told me to book a TR for the class. I was happy for this possibility because I had the chance to both stay at home and show up for class.”

Having a Baby

first hand experience (anonymous)

“I chose Akureyri University because of the flexible learning and the telepresence robot, I live on another continent so I knew that I would not be able to show up at school in person, but I still wanted to be able to know my fellow students and the teachers.”

Living on another continent

first hand experience (anonymous)

“I have a huge fear of flights, so the thought of having to fly to Akureyri for Lota gave me a LOT of stress my first semester. I thought about renting a car and driving to Akureyri (I don’t own a car myself), which would have been doable for the first Lota but not really the next ones because of winter weather. It was also very expensive so I gave up the idea and started thinking I should drop out of my studies because I was getting so stressed. I talked to my teachers and one of them calmed me down and told me about the telepresence robots and how I could use them to meet up for the Lota. I was so relieved that I wouldn’t need to drop out and could meet up and participate in all the work in the Lota. I started by getting a letter from my teacher allowing me to use the TR’s in their class and then I applied for a TR at the helpdesk. I even had a training session to be sure that I could control it. I am so thankful for this opportunity.”

Fear of Flights

first hand experience (anonymous)

“I am quite anti-social and get a lot of anxiety when meeting new people or I need to be in a place I don’t know. This has limited my life many times and kept me from doing things I really wanted to do. I have dropped out of university before because I really couldn’t force myself to show up to class. When I talked to someone, I know about this they pointed out that at Akureyri University they had flexible learning which meant that you only needed to show up 2-3 times onsite each semester. And the biggest thing was that they had some kind of robots you could drive around instead of showing up in person. And even though I found the thought of driving a robot around a little bit worrying it got me thinking that I could maybe do it, get an education in the field I dream about!! I applied and got accepted and I talked to all my teachers about my situation and that I really wanted this but that I just couldn’t show up because of anxiety, but that if it was possible, I was willing to show up as a robot. I was so happy when they all told me that it was ok, and I booked a robot from the Centre of teaching and learning for all the Lotas during my first semester. I did the same thing for the second and third semesters and never had any problems after the first time here I was shaking. When the fourth semester started, I realized that I was not as scared of showing up, I knew the school and had worked with my fellow students on many projects, so I actually managed to show up for the Lotas for the rest of my studies. Now I have just started my third year and it is all because of the telepresence robots, I probably would have dropped out without them.”


first hand experience (anonymous)

“During my studies at Akureyri University I got diagnosed with cancer, it was an early diagnosis, but I still had to go through chemotherapy. My chemotherapy happened in Reykjavík and of course, I could not control the dates/times of it so it overlapped with the time I was to meet up in person at school. I contacted my teachers and told them that I would not be able to show up because of my chemo. One of them told me about the telepresence robots and to check if I could reserve one of them for the classes if I was up to it. I booked it and thankfully I was feeling ok on the day and could join my classmates for discussions and group work, I was even able to make a presentation of my work in one class (which was half of the grade for this work and only possible to do at that time). It was very strange to actually be in the hospital in Reykjavík with needles and all that stuff connected to you but at the same time to have a presentation in Akureyri and talk to my classmates there.”

In Chemotherapy

first hand experience (anonymous)

Photo Credits: University of Akureyri

Share your story!

Do you also have experience with telepresence robots in education? Contact us and share your story! We are happy to publish it as a guest article on our website.