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New Curtin MOOC explores exciting future world of robots

Media release

Curtin University’s latest Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) will explore the exciting and in-demand subject of how people communicate and interact with robots and bots in everyday life, both now and in the future.

The Curtin University Internet Studies team for the XSeries MOOCs (L-R): Dr Gwyneth Peaty, Dr Eleanor Sandry, Associate Professor Tama Leaver and Associate Professor Katie Ellis.
The Curtin University Internet Studies team for the XSeries MOOCs (L-R): Dr Gwyneth Peaty, Dr Eleanor Sandry, Associate Professor Tama Leaver and Associate Professor Katie Ellis.

Communicating with Robots and Bots is a free four-week course and one of three in an XSeries of related MOOCs titled From Digital Technologies to Social Media.

The MOOC is delivered through the edX online learning platform and will teach learners about how robots and bots are being developed to populate our homes, workplaces and social spaces, as well as the online spaces we frequent.

Course Coordinator Dr Eleanor Sandry, from Curtin’s School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry, said the MOOC offered an opportunity to learn about how people communicate with robots and bots and what the future holds for human-robot communication and collaboration.

“The course consists of four modules and begins by delving into the challenge of defining what a robot is, as well as providing an introduction to bots,” Dr Sandry said.

“The course goes on to explore bots, chatbots and socialbots in detail and considers how people communicate with these programs in online spaces, as well as some ethical questions these interactions raise.”

Communicating with Robots and Bots also considers robots in the home, such as assistive and care robots, robots in the workplace, including those designed to share people’s workspaces, as well as robots encountered in public spaces, such as autonomous vehicles.

Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Professor Jill Downie said the increasing presence of robots and bots in our lives meant this MOOC was both relevant and useful to learners as they prepare for the world of tomorrow.

“This MOOC will be of value to people around the world who want to learn more about the relationship between people and robots in the home, at work and in broader society,” Professor Downie said.

“These online courses offer even more flexibility to students, professionals and global learners wishing to build on their skills, pursue a passion or enhance their qualifications.”

The XSeries MOOCs are facilitated by the Curtin Internet Studies team of Dr Eleanor Sandry, Associate Professor Tama Leaver, Associate Professor Katie Ellis, Associate Professor Mike Kent and Dr Gwyneth Peaty.

Communicating with Robots and Bots will run in self-paced mode from September 17, 2019, so participants may enrol and complete it at any time. More information is available here: https://www.edx.org/course/communicating-with-robots-and-bots

Curtin is the only university in Western Australia in the edX Consortium.