Glasgow & West Scotland

Robot dons gown in virtual graduation ceremony

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Media captionAn iPad is attached to a remote-controlled car and dressed in a black graduation gown.

A robot has been used to confer degrees on three students who were unable to attend their graduation ceremony.

Staff at the University of Glasgow attached an iPad to a remote-controlled car and dressed it in a traditional black graduation gown.

Principal Prof Sir Anton Muscatelli performed the "capping" ceremony on the device as the students logged in via video conferencing technology.

The three online distance-learners were in Jamaica, Saudi Arabia and Scotland.

'Family commitments'

None of the students, who were on medical, veterinary and life science (MVLS) Master of Science (MSc) courses, had been able to attend the grand ceremony at the university's Bute Hall.

Sir Anton said: "I am delighted that technology has enabled our online distance learning graduands from different parts of the world who are unable to travel to Glasgow to take part in this live virtual graduation ceremony."

He added: "These online students have had to balance work and family commitments whilst studying for their masters degrees part-time, and whilst graduating is a huge achievement for any student, it takes hard work, focus and commitment to successfully complete your studies whilst juggling work, family and life.

Image copyright University of Glasgow
Image caption The virtual graduation ceremony is the first of its kind in higher education, according to the university

"Therefore, I am very pleased that we have been able to include our online distance learners in this graduation and we are proud to have them as alumni of the university."

The virtual graduation was the brainchild of the digital education team at the university, led by assistant vice-principal Prof Jo-Anne Murray.

She said: "This virtual graduation is the first of its kind in higher education and signifies the university's commitment to ensuring that our online distance learners are included in all aspects of the University of Glasgow experience."

Earlier in the week, 11 other students on MVLS MSc online distance degrees graduated in person at the University. They were the first online distance learning MVLS cohort to do so.