New Academic Year Begins on September 1 as Usual

The Russian Minister of Science and Higher Education Valerii Falkov has held an online meeting with the rectors of Russian universities on the preparation of educational organisations for the new academic year in the context of the prevention of the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19). During the meeting, the minister announced several important innovations for universities for the coming academic year. During the meeting, the issue of the start date of the new academic year was also mentioned. The minister noted that universities have the right to independently decide whether they will start the educational process in September.

Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs of South Ural State University Andrey Radionov told about how and when the academic year will begin for SUSU students.

– When will the university start its work, in what mode will the classes be held?

– In connection with the decision of our country's leadership that 90% of Russian universities will start the academic year as usual, South Ural State University will be no exception. From September 1, all the entrances of the university will be open, and at each of them there will be temperature measuring devices for staff and students. However, we will not be able to practice the social distance of 1.5-2 meters, and in this case wearing a mask will be obligatory when being on the Campus. Education at the university consists of two components: teaching and discipline activities. There is no substitute for personal communication between a student and a teacher or professor. Therefore, it will be wrong to transfer the educational process of Bachelor's degree students to a distance format. In addition, giving lectures online, for example, for future engineers, can worsen the quality of their training, while studying the humanities remotely will be quite possible for students. The experience that we gained in the period of April through June, implementing the educational process remotely, will be used at the university in the future.

– Will Master's degree students also study in intramural mode?

– As for Master's degree programmes, the introduction of new technologies has shown their usefulness for students. Students, as a rule, find interesting work for themselves, study and work at the same time. And even if we organize the educational process in the evening, it is not always convenient for them to get to the university to listen to a lecture and return home late at night. Distance learning technologies will allow them to attend classes from anywhere in the world. Therefore, in the future, we plan to conduct classes for Master's degree students both at the university and broadcast them via our Electronic SUSU system on the Internet, so that all those willing could attend classes at the university, and those, who do not have the opportunity to attend, could listen to the lecture online.

Since the introduction of the high-alert regime, the educational process and then the interim and final attestations were held at SUSU in a remote format. At the moment, the university is taking measures to prevent the new coronavirus infection: wearing masks, keeping distance, regular airing and disinfection of the premises, a thermal camera is located at the entrance, a register of the health status and contacts of employees is kept in each subdivision.

Marina Kovyazina; photo by Oleg Igoshin
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