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Prestigious school weighs use of telepresence robots in the classroom Johnny-Five, please come up to the blackbo

September 16, 2015 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Greg Nichols / ZDNet

Johnny-Five, please come up to the blackboard

After a successful experiment using telepresence robots with his own staff, Peter Hirst, Associate Dean for Executive Education at MIT Sloan School of Management, says he's experimenting with ways to integrate these bots into the classroom, albeit in a limited way.

"We had a realization that people could participate in a classroom environment remotely for a short time," says Hirst. "So we asked, is that good idea? Will it work? And then in a very MIT way we thought we'd run some experiments."

In 2014, Hirst began allowing his administrative staff at MIT to work remotely under a pilot program he helped design. "We've been seeing an increasing number of requests for people to get flexible work arrangements. And it made sense because a lot of our team are typically out of the office working with clients."

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