Robotics talk-shows, live from the Teaching Lab

TU Delft lecturers are experimenting to make remote education as lively and interactive as possible. One of such experiments is a live talk-show format, an idea by Joost van de Loo of Robo Valley. Seven students can be physically present in the studio, which is currently set up in the Teaching Lab. The rest of the 100 MSc students for the Robot Dynamics & Control course (RO47001) by Martijn Wisse, professor in bio-robotics, will follow the broadcast via Zoom. The NewMedia Centre has set up a control room to switch live between the images from four cameras, including one ‘walking camera’, and the professor's presentation screen.

The talk-show is divided into short blocks of 15 minutes with a short break in between. Each block focuses on one aspect of the assignments that the students have to complete, for example, the first broadcast of Robot Dynamics & Control also covered ‘quaternions’. The lecturer always explains the material concisely in about 10 minutes, occasionally interrupted by questions from the host. There is also a doctoral candidate at the table, who, in the role of experienced student, asks questions based on their own experience with the assignment. This experienced student also keeps an eye on the Zoom's chat channel, and picks out questions that the lecturer can respond to.

Presently,  this live lecturing format seems to be achieving its goals. The students report that it is easier to keep their attention. It also feels much more natural for the lecturer to teach directly to the host - and to the seven students present. “It is wonderful not to have to talk to a computer screen”, says Martijn Wisse. “Moreover, the students present are more motivated and  that gives me energy while also  motivating everyone involved in the broadcasts.”