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Gaming and Communication: HSE University at VK Fest in Gorky Park

This weekend VK Fest took place in Gorky Park — an open-air spectacular featuring musicians, bloggers, and speakers, as well as entertainment and educational projects for a young audience. The 2023 Festival took place in five cities: Vladivostok, Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg, Sochi and Moscow. This is the second time VK Fest has been held in Moscow, and both times HSE University has taken part in the event.

The concept of this year’s event was based on the contrast between online and offline activities, meaning that there was plenty to choose from and no one felt bored. Traditional games were held offline, while a VR quest and a tour around the HSE metacampus took place online. Both worlds combined in an intelligent robot assistant Kesha, who was brought to the festival by his creators from MIEM.

Yulia Remezova, Director of e-Learning at HSE University noted that HSE was the first university in Russia to open an online campus and present it in virtual space. At VK Fest, HSE offered guests the opportunity to complete a quest in the virtual space of the online campus so they could see the advantages of online learning.

Yulia Remezova

Director of e-Learning at HSE University

‘There is a library in our virtual campus, a coworking space where you can meet, drink coffee, play chess and chat with other students. There is a sports ground. Every visitor to the HSE pavillion can put on VR glasses and immerse themselves in the metaverse, take a walk there, collect various objects, see how it all works, and at the end get a prize. Now there are over 1500 students studying at our online campus, and we have opened admissions for 21 online degree programmes - 18 master's and 3 bachelor's.’

Anastasia Zemlyakova

Head of the Partnerships and Special Projects Unit

‘Following the experience of last year, when VK Fest was held in Moscow for the first time and we were still experimenting with formats, this year we focused on gaming activities and interacting with visitors.’

Polina Malykhina

Event manager at the HSE Office for the Development of Intellectual Competitions

‘Our department has prepared a lot of interesting activities and games for the VK Fest, and every hour participants can win HSE merch: hoodies, power banks, notebooks, slippers, suitcase tags and sticker packs.’

Guests of the HSE pavillion shared their impressions of the festival with HSE News Service.

Artem Ildenbayev said that this year he decided to enroll on an online master's programme, as you can combine your studies with work. ‘I liked that this specialisation is applicable to what I am currently doing — computer vision,’ the student noted. ‘I have no fears or concerns, as  I know I’m going to get the knowledge I need, and I trust HSE.’

Roman Le

‘I study at Yaroslavl State Pedagogical University. Now I’m having a short break, and I plan to continue my studies in a year. I decided to come by HSE pavilion, where I played tic-tac-toe. I liked it.’

Gordey Zlygostev

‘I'm from Tyumen, but Moscow is my dream city. I have always loved it and wanted to study here. I applied for three HSE programmes — ‘International Relations’, ‘Asian and African Studies’ and ‘Law’. Most of all I want to get enrolled on the first of those. I came to the festival just to relax and learn more about the HSE online campus.’

Daria Sukhotina

‘Everything seems very cool at the festival. My friends and I came here because we like to play arcade games. And this time I was lucky: I managed to grab an HSE mascot – a crow in a master’s cap.’

Kirill Slobodskov

‘I live in Surgut. This summer I graduated and came to Moscow. At HSE pavilion I got interested in VR, and in particular in VR-modeling technology. To be honest, I’ve rarely seen this elsewhere. Recently, we went to an exhibition of VR technologies here in Moscow, but it was not done as well as it has been here. I rate it 10 out of 10.’

Tatiana Izrailova

‘I came to the festival to listen to music and walk. My brother is applying to HSE this year, and I'm going to study medicine, I've been preparing for this for many years. I'll definitely tell my brother that I visited the HSE pavilion and how impressive it was.’

Kirill Amiridi

‘I'm from Krasnodar. I've always wanted to get to VK Fest, I've heard a lot of positive reviews about how cool it is. I’m an athlete, a two-time champion of the Krasnodar region. My father taught me to always strive for victory and continue moving forward. I hope to succeed in different games here.’

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