School of Humanities and Social Sciences hosts the RoKoNairo project team from University of Koblenz-Landau

By CTW Team

On Friday, February 18, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) through Prof. Josphine Arasa, Associate Professor of Psychology, hosted five representatives; Dr. Fabian Wolff, Dr. Claudia Quaiser-Pohl, Dr. Wilfried Echterhoff, Lea-Christin Wickord, and Mirko Saunders, from University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany under the RoKoNairo project.

Sponsored by the Germany Academic exchange Program (DAAD), the RoKoNairo project aims to enhance diversity and intercultural competence among psychology students, to enable them deal with dimensions of diversity, concepts of intercultural competence and cultural differences as well as acquire intercultural and digital competencies using telepresence robots. The project is a partnership of three institutions; USIU-Africa, University of Koblenz-Landau and University of Nairobi.

The team lead by Dr. Fabian Wolff (RoKoNairo Project Lead) paid a courtesy visit to Prof. Freida Brown, Interim Vice Chancellor, then proceeded to LT7 in SHSS to demonstrate to students, staff and faculty under the Department of Psychology how the telepresence robot works. The telepresence robots are machines on wheels equipped with a webcam, a microphone, a screen and a loudspeaker.

Basically, the telepresence robots which can be controlled remotely via the internet will enable interactions between the person operating the robot and people within range of the robot via a video conference. Participants in one seminar room can move around autonomously in the other seminar room and interact with the people physically present there. In this way, among other things, particularly personal intercultural encounters are to be made possible. In addition, the robots will be used to allow lecturers and students giving short talks or presentations to be present in both seminar rooms at the same time, thus contributing to an increasing breakdown of boundaries between the two seminar rooms.

Moreover, as part of the project, ten students and one faculty from each institution will participate in the planned seminars of 4 sessions of 6 hours each starting Summer this year. Additionally, one student from USIU-Africa will go to University of Koblenz-Landau while a student from University of Koblenz-Landau will come to USIU-Africa for one month as part of an internship experience in the project. Later in the year two faculty from the Department of Psychology will travel to Germany as part of the activities in the project to evaluate the project with the other partners.

Also, present at the event was Prof. Munyae Mulinge, Ag. Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic & Student Affairs, Prof. Martin Njoroge, Dean School of Humanities and Social Sciences among others.

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