Representatives of The Open University of Great Britain Mr. Ulrich Colb and Ian Dayer visited Kazan Federal University on March 26, 2014. The main goal of their visit was exchange of experience in the field of e-learning education.
Agenda included introduction of courses of open video-lectures by professors from leading universities of Great Britain and Russia and supporting system for distance-studying students in KFU.
Director of the Department of educational resources development Ms. Galina Ivshina told that pilot models of the project “System of open e-learning” were planned to be developed on the basis of Kazan University academic units such as Institute of Physics, Institute of Fundamental Medicine and Biology. In the case of success similar programs were planned to be opened in other units, in particular, in N.I. Lobachevsky Institute of Mathematics and Mechanics and in the Institute of Computer Mathematics and Information Technologies.
Mr. Colb was given the floor to speak about the features of the Open University of Great Britain at the end of the introductory part during which there was shown presentation on structure and activity of Kazan Federal University. Their University is relatively young. However, more than 350 thousands of students graduated it. The name of the university fully complies with the policy provided by its administration. “Open” means available for everyone who desires to receive education despite of place of living and level of knowledge at the time of entering it. Moreover, this term indicates that the University is ready to undergo any new effective innovations.
Open University is always ranked among five leading universities in Great Britain according to students opinion polls on satisfaction of education level. Presence of unique training resources base developed within the University, possibility to study in comfortable time frame and combine study and work appear to be key factors that help the University to achieve high results. Mr. Colb has also mentioned that due to the establishment of 13 regional centers, students shouldn’t come to the main campus of the University that is located in Milton Keynes to solve their problems.
Every academic program includes 3 levels (each level lasts for one academic year). It is significant to mention that the first year is an interdisciplinary and includes introductive courses to various disciplines. The University strives to create such conditions that students with poor basic knowledge will have possibility to improve it and feel comfortable. This is like a pre-university training in comparison with Russian realities. The following levels are specialty - oriented. Moreover, students can prolong period of studying from 3 to 6 year by splitting academic workload.
The University has 433 basic modules that build circa 35 thnd. different programs. Due to this the student can choose more suitable disciplines.
To make practical exercises students should only visit virtual laboratory on the official website of the university. It is evident that there is a number of experiments for which distance support is not sufficient but it is ample to visit campus for one week to the pursue this research.
Every student has a tutor to provide with control for implementation of different works. He is always available by phone and students can contact with him via social networks such as “Facebook” and “Twitter”. Moreover, we conduct online statistics of study of different disciplines by every student. The University tracks time spent by every student on study of any text, coursebook or multimedia resourse.
These are advantages of studying in one of the leading universities of Great Britain. In the future systems of studying in the Republic of Tatarstan could become almost distant. Decision on creating the same programs in Kazan Federal University was made on the basis of already existing resources. As it is known “E-University” program was developed on the basis of KFU that has its own unique base of academic resources, internal communication between students and professors and potential possibility to combine different courses in large list of academic programs.