One the most enjoyable pieces of writing (and collating of research, videos, news articles, images etc) about robots this year has been my collaboration with Gwyneth Peaty to put together the Curtin Net3X MOOC Communicating with Robots and Bots.

The MOOC opens today. It’s self-paced and free to access, so anyone can give it a go to see if they’re interested.

Reasons it was fun to work on? Well, it was a great opportunity to set aside some of the formality of academic writing (not that I am that formal in many things I write) while still discussing my favourite topics, robots and communication. It was also good to be working with other people, Gwyneth on the actual course content design, but also the whole MOOC team at Curtin, who were excellent, helpful and made the whole thing a pleasure (in particular the video creation with Brendan, which is not something I feel that comfortable with, in spite of the fact that I’m automatically videoed every time I give a lecture).

As Gwyneth has reminded me, these are the robots that started our collaboration in many ways:

Whiteboard robots

The humanoid robot is the first robot Gwyneth ever drew for me (I think). I responded with my non-humanoid robot and its thought bubble, “Why is that robot like a human?”. The dog (robot?) came along shortly after. They’ve been through a few changes, some of which you might be able to see in the sidebar posted through the robotothers Instagram account.

It would be great to see people try out the Communicating with Robots and Bots MOOC. I’d love to know what you think and if there are issues in the content just let me know and I’ll see what I can do to fix things. The main hashtag for the MOOC is #curtinnet3x, and there are some additional tags if you’re taking part and posting your ideas for robots, #net3xfirstrobot and #net3xfinalrobot.