Education and Outreach

Accessible & Assistive HRI Lesson

Developed with support from a TeachAccess Curriculum Development Grant, this lesson includes several components: lecture slides, three options for one-hour activities, a 5-10 hour homework assignment and some standalone homework questions. Feel free to mix and match to suit your class size, lecture style, and teaching preferences. If you have feedback or suggestions, feel free to reach out to me at All materials are (c) 2021 Elaine Schaertl Short, but you may feel free to use, modify, or share these materials as long as you attribute them to Elaine Short and include a link to

You can download a .zip of all of the files here or the individual components of the lesson below.

  • Introduction and Notes (PDF)(RTF)
  • Lecture slides and three options for one-hour activities (PDF)(PPTX)
  • Homework assignment and auxiliary homework questions (PDF)(RTF)


Social Assistive Robotics
(Socially Intelligent Assistive Robotics)

This is a heavily research-focused class, for graduate students and senior undergrads potentially interested in pursuing a PhD or other research position. There are three main goals for students for this course:

  • To become familiar with a wide variety of research at the intersection of human-robot interaction and assistive robotics.
  • To learn about software tools, computational techniques, and ethical considerations that enable this work.
  • To build a strong foundation in research methods and prepare to be a successful robotics researcher in the future.

This class is currently being offered in Fall 2019.

Assistive Algorithms

This class will be more practice-focused, for graduate students and senior undergrads interested in developing intelligent assistive technologies. In this class, students will learn about the range of algorithmic approaches to sensing goal-directed human behavior, determining appropriate assistance, and providing that assistance. Through hands-on projects and assignments, students will become familiar with these techniques, in applications such as cognitive orthotics and reminder systems, socially assistive robotics, prosthetics, assistive manipulators and smart wheelchairs.

This class will be offered in Spring 2020.