#SUSUATHOME. What to Do in Self-isolation: Citizens of Chelyabinsk Acquire New Professions Online

In quarantine some people “lose their minds” because of idleness, but others tend to spend their time with benefit. Indeed, it is a great opportunity to do something what you have always wanted to, but never had the time for: self-education. Now, there are plenty of educational courses of all kinds! With the help of these courses you can improve your qualification and even change your whole career, and this is what the citizens of Chelyabinsk are making use of. Specialists in the field of distance education and online students told the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper about the specifics of such learning.

Alexander Demin, Director of the SUSU Institute of Open and Distance Education:

— Distance educational technologies at SUSU have been implemented since 2001. Our online courses are organized on our own Electronic SUSU online educational platform on the university’s server based on the LMS Moodle.

Thanks to the fact that all the courses of all the university’s academic staff, regardless of the form of learning and field of study, have been uploaded to the educational portal and have long been used by the academic staff in a mixed format, the university’s switching to the overall distance education took several days, that were needed to post additional materials and online events.

We use our own resources, which include the educational portal, system of online broadcasts (webinars), as well as virtual laboratory complexes. Having big experience in distance work, we possess all the necessary resources to conduct classes in a distance format, including the classes for students of the technical fields. We have virtual complexes which simulate laboratory classes as close to real conditions as possible.

The most important resource is our teachers who have mastered new educational technologies and are now actively using them in their work.

Alena Levina, Head of the Department of Management of the SUSU School of Economics and Management:

— Right after the New Year China closed its borders, and a number of our students did not have time to return here to continue their education in the second semester. That is why we launched distance education with some of the groups in the beginning of January. Of course, much more work was added for the teachers, since a necessity to reorganize the materials to the new format of learning arose.

In such format the contact with the students does not break. The classes are conducted in a very informative way. In the Electronic SUSU, there are many tools to diversify the process of studying. For example, one can use a joint demonstration of screens so the students and the teacher can simultaneously work on tasks and graphics. One can also check how the material is learned using mini polls that require students’ instant reaction. One can interact with students in a chat or in a live conversation. Each student is seen on the screen. One can also make separate rooms for working in subgroups and to discuss the results later in the common room. Students send assignments completed during the lesson and quickly receive the feedback. The same is with the home work.

The main plus of distance education is that the class attendance has improved. Electronic SUSU 2.0 is available on any device. By the way, you can immediately see if someone does not work during the class. That is why, just like at usual lessons, these students will not be able to simply evade the work. If for some reason a student could not attend the classes, s/he could familiarize themselves with the lectures later. All the lectures are uploaded to the system. The educational process is the same, the timetable did not change.

Anastasia Dmitrieva, 4th-year student of the Department of Ecology and Chemical Engineering of the SUSU Institute of Natural Sciences and Mathematics:

— Nothing has really changed since the introduction of the distance education. We still do a lot of work, the lessons are conducted according to the timetable, and we get a lot of home work. Video-communication classes are an interesting experience. I like the fact that now we are having good feedback with the teachers. You can quickly get an answer to any question, a checked homework, and you can make all the corrections right away. In the full-time mode one would have to wait for the next lesson with the same teacher.

I do not have problems with adapting to the new form of education. I understand that I do need these classes, because during the last year at the university I need to get the maximum amount of information. So, I just sit and work.

Of course, it is much easier to wake up and go to classes at home. But I really wish that the former mode of studying is resumed as soon as possible.

Source: Web site materials of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper
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