HSE on Coursera: This is only the start
The 11 educational courses completed in the first year of HSE's cooperation with Coursera won an audienec of 300,000. The courses' lecturers talked about how they succeeded in doing this at a round table at HSE.
The eleven courses (seven in Russian, four in English) that ran on the Coursera platform in 2014 will soon be added to by another eleven. One of the new courses, Institutional Economics, launched in September, and another two, Economics of Transition and Emerging Markets and Cultural Philosophy, are set to launch in November 2014.
HSE's expanded presence on Coursera is the University's strategic decision. As Vice Rector Sergei Roshchin said, blended learning, i.e. combining online and offline studies, is one of the dominant trends in contemporary education. But, in order for IT to be effectively involved in the learning process, courses like those available on Coursera, should not be 'discrete' or one-offs, they should be regular, ongoing events.
What the numbers show
About 290,000 people signed up to HSE's first 11 courses in 2014, with a completion rate of between 1% – 17%. The most popular course was Introduction to Neuroeconomics: How the Brain Makes Decisions for which about 75,000 people signed up and about 7.4% of those completed successfully.
The most dedicated students were those in the Financial Markets and Institutions, and Documents and Presentations in LaTeX courses – completed in full by 17% and 10% (respectively) of those who enrolled. (The average proportion is 5% on Coursera).
HSE's Centre for Institutional Research carried out a survey of people signing up for and leaving courses, which paints a picture of the average participant, or types of participant. Of the people signing up for HSE's Coursera courses 57% were men and 43% women, apart from two courses, Core Concepts in Data Analysis, which saw 70% men, and Understanding Russians which was 60% women.
Participants' median age was 29, with the predictably large difference between Russian and English language courses – those involved in English-language courses were on average six years older. 69% of those involved in Russian language courses were from Russia, and 24% of those involved in English language courses were from the United States. Overall, HSE's courses offered via Coursera attracted participants from 132 countries. Most of those signing up for Russian-language courses had a BA or specialist's degree, and those signing up for English-language courses had MAs.
Coursera: Not just enlightenment, but education
Professor Nikolai Berzon, who developed HSE's first course for Coursera, Financial Markets and Institutions, believes that Coursera's classes offer more than a learning opportunity. He says they – potentially – could be incorporated into University courses.
Most of the HSEs first courses were introductory, and some found them too easy and some too difficult. Mira Bergelson, who developed the course Understanding Russians: Contexts of Intercultural Communication, noted jokingly, that many participants misunderstood the title, and as a result intercultural communications specialists signed up for the course – but so did people who expected it to 'explain to them how to act with Russians.'
Mira Bergelson compared Mass Open Online Courses (MOOC) with the universities of the Middle Ages, where how and who was teaching mattered more than what was being taught. Teachers' names and charisma mean a lot to Coursera students.
Boris Mirkin talked in detail about how his complex data analysis course was developed, concluding that he would like to develop more for the project.
On June 18, the third International Partners’ Week ‘Academic Agility: Preparing Students for an Uncertain Future’ began at HSE University. The event brings together representatives of more than 30 universities from 16 countries, including France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey, the USA, Finland, the United Kingdom, and China. They have all come to Moscow to learn more about the kind of learning experience HSE University can provide, as well as to discuss practical challenges and solutions regarding international mobility.
On May 23-24, following the Days of the International Academy of Education held earlier this week, the General Assembly of the International Academy of Education took place at HSE University Moscow. The assembly brings together education researchers and experts from all over the world, and this is the first time that the biannual meeting was held in Russia. Over the course of two days, members discussed joint projects and publications and met newly inducted members who had the opportunity to introduce themselves and present their research. Members also took part in small group discussions on a variety of topics, including digital literacy and math education.
On May 20, the Days of the International Academy of Education commenced at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. Experts from all over the world engaged in identifying global education policy trends will hold a series of meetings, master classes, seminars and open lectures. They will share their experience with Russian researchers, instructors and education policy makers over the course of three days.
The more a student engages with various activities on campus, the higher their odds of success post-graduation. According to a study by HSE researchers, not only academic but also research and social engagement, such as participation in student organisations and events, can be linked to the development of critical thinking skills which are essential for general wellbeing as well as career advancement.
HSE’s Online Specialization ‘Advanced Machine Learning’ Receives Outstanding Educator Award from Coursera
HSE's English-taught online specialization, ‘Advanced Machine Learning’, which was created in partnership with Yandex, became the first course in Russia to receive the Outstanding Educator Award in the category of ‘Innovation’ from the global online platform Coursera.
On February 24, 2014, HSE launched its first course on the Coursera online education platform. Along with St. Petersburg State University and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, HSE was one of the first Russian universities to host a course on the platform. Now HSE ranks among the top ten universities with the highest number of courses available on the platform, offering 91 courses which have garnered 1.6 million subscriptions.
Global online platform Coursera has launched the Data Science Academy project - a guide to the world of data science with a selection of the best online courses, specializations, and online master's programmes from world leading companies and universities. The English online course ‘Advanced Machine Learning’, developed by HSE in cooperation with Yandex is among the Academy's courses.
The first meeting of IOE Expert Committee, which includes six international experts in education from five countries alongside three Russian experts, was held on October 19-20. The Committee gave an independent assessment of the Institute's activity and recommendations for finalizing its development strategy until 2024.
High school students’ membership in certain social media groups can be used to predict their academic performance, as demonstrated by Ivan Smirnov in his research. The analysis of school students’ membership in groups and communities was used to detect low-performing and high-performing students.
In July, HSE is launching two English-taught courses on Coursera. Enrollement for the courses is still open. The full list of online courses offered by HSE is available on HSE MOOCs page.