Sociology course engaging incarcerated students via robots featured

Nurse in classroom

Anne Nurse, professor of sociology and anthropology at The College of Wooster found a new way to engage with incarcerated students at a local facility in her criminology course this spring. After the pandemic prevented Nurse from bringing Wooster students to the River Juvenile Correctional Facility as part of program she’s worked with since 2006, she brought the incarcerated students into the classroom via Ohmni robots, allowing them to engage with the class and move about the room virtually. Nurse’s creative method to bring her students together was featured in Inside Higher Ed earlier this month.

“A lot of incarcerated youth want to go to college, but they’re just not sure how to do that, and we’re able to bring that to them and show them what college is like,” Nurse told Inside Higher Ed. “It’s an opportunity for them to experience being a college student. Especially because they’ve been so isolated over the last two years, I think it’s really meaningful that we were able to take them out of that space and into our space.”

The robots, also used in the past by Wooster’s Education Department, allowed the incarcerated students to tune in and control the robots camera while an image of them appears on the screen and to participate in classroom and small group discussions. The program offers a form of civic engagement and community-based learning for students on and off campus.

Robots in classroom









Published March 21, 2022.

Posted in News on March 21, 2022.

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Closely affiliated with the Anthropology program, sociology majors at The College of Wooster take core courses in research methods and theory.

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Use problem-solving and research skills to explore and understand communities and cultures in every part of the world.

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