Accessibility Innovation in Higher Education Through Telepresence Robots




Silvera, Alexis

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In this project, I will examine the use of telepresence robots to increase accessibility into physical classroom environments. Despite the supports we provide at UVic, students with special needs for access are underrepresented on our campus and alternative online programs charge three times our tuition, making obstacles even harder for accessing higher education. The 3,775,900 Canadians with a disability, or 1 in 7 people, consist of 13.7% of the total population. For half, the cement ramp, where it does exist, does nothing in terms of assisting them in gaining access to a physical location as their health issue may not be related to lower limb mobility. This JCURA project will entail implementing and evaluating one element of an accessibility pilot on campus in partnership with the Centre for Accessible Learning and the Technology Integration and Evaluation Research Lab. The goal is to determine its impact on the quality of learning experience and to gather the perceptions by instructors and learners in the classroom. Other applications will also be studied. For example, these telepresence robots can also support a variety of situations beyond supporting learners who cannot attend in person for a variety of health and other reasons, such as extending our reach into the community, supporting collective class observation of remote spaces, or bringing in specialists to interact with our students in various classroom environments.



cyber proxy, accessibility, telepresence robot, robot-mediated communication