South Ural State University is successfully implementing modern academic techniques, among which is online education. The SUSU Institute of Open and Distance Education, formed in 2004, helps in forming the university’s online academic space and integrate distance technologies into the activities of all of the university’s divisions.
Today the SUSU Institute of Open and Distance Education provides all willing students the chance to continuously increase their professional level, taking individual characteristics in to account. The online education system allows students to receive both basic and additional education in their main area of work.
We asked Aleksandr Demin, Candidate of Economic Sciences, Director of the SUSU Institute of Open and Distance Education, to speak with us about the successful development of online education technologies at SUSU.
– How was the 2017 enrollment campaign at the Institute of Open and Distance Education?
– The unique thing about the enrollment campaign was, of course, the increased number of international students. For example, this year, 100 people from Uzbekistan became our students. The process of submitting documents online has been developed to the highest level for quite some time now, so students from anywhere around the world can study with us. In addition, after the recently completed optimization of the university’s structure, applicants from such small cities as Asha, Ust-Katav, Satka, Ozersk, and Snezhinsk chose the online form of education. We had informational centers in these cities, where specialists explained how to submit documents. Overall, this year, 604 people became our students, which is 2 times more than in previous years.
– Did the university’s participation in the 5-100 Program affect the development of online education in our university?
– I believe that participation in the 5-100 Project affected the whole academic process at South Ural State University. The implementation of new teaching techniques is comfortable for both students and teachers. At this time, we are working on developing online courses for many users. Our main goal is to customize these courses. That is, the ability to choose an individual academic plan. This kind of course will adapt to the person, taking his individual needs into account, his schedule, his level of Russian language proficiency, etc.
Besides, we are actively working on implementing all of the university’s academic programs into the Electronic SUSU academic portal. This will help students refer to materials from their classes at any time and keep in touch with the professor. If the students do not understand something in the classroom, they will always have the opportunity to study it again independently using other resources.
– Speaking of distance education for teachers, tell us, what kinds of new programs are courses are available? Which are the most popular?
– Per tradition, we have continued to teach teachers new educational techniques and technologies. This includes practically-oriented courses which make it possible to figure out the online portal independently throughout the course of their education. We are continuing our project nte.susu.ru – new technologies in education for professors. Within this project, teachers share their experiences.
– Do you offer master classes to help the average teacher use online technologies in his work?
– Right now a transition is occurring from traditional continuing education. Of course, the online education format is very comfortable for our busy professors, but live master classes are also very good. Teachers are interested in hearing about real experiences in various narrow fields. For this we invite specialists from various cities and countries who share their experiences. Very often, these kinds of master classes become an important impulse for future work.
We are trying to create modern, in-demand courses. For this, we completed a survey among the university’s professors to understand what they think would be helpful. In addition, our program manager for continuing education, Elena Kolmychevskaya, works closely with employers, which helps us better understand the needs of employers of the real production sector.
– Do you keep an eye on the work of your colleagues from different universities? Are you planning on implementing anything new?
– The most interesting thing to us right now is specialists who customize online courses. For example, we were interested in the experiences of our American colleagues at the International Conference for New Academic Technologies EDCRUNCH in Moscow. It is entirely possible that we will create a partnership with them in the future. Many universities come to us with various requests from live stream recording to the creation of courses. We are happy to try and complete any orders. In addition, specialists from various universities come to us to complete internships. It turns out that we are already able to say quite a bit about online education and share our experiences.