Robots at Aberdeen University are helping to give students a far more immersive education experience.
A trial taking place aims to bring online students closer to the classroom by using bots to deliver teaching.
The new additions – named Alvin, Anna, Ahmed and Abha – act as a webcam, microphone and speaker for online students taking part in classes from around the world.
Students can hear and see what is going on, ask questions and alert tutors while doing so.
The robots light-up facial features can signal confusion, or contentment when their questions are answered.
Nancy El-Shayeb is an MSc Clinical Nutrition student based in Malaysia.
She said: “Using the robots made me feel like I was in the classroom and meant that I could exchange ideas and take part in group discussions, which is very helpful in online learning.”
Following the successful launch of On-demand Learning, the university now delivers online short courses and degrees to students in over 100 countries.
Dr Kirsty Kiezebrink, senior lecturer in the Institute of Applied Health Sciences, is using the system in her lectures and tutorials.
She said: “The strength of using the robots is that it allows our online students to be co-taught with on-campus students, which is a relatively new model.
“So far the feedback has been very positive, with our online students reporting that they feel closer to discussions taking place in the classroom.”