Transformations in Education Model at HSE
HSE aims to be a globally competitive university both in research and in education, focusing on economics, social sciences, IT and humanities. Part of its mission is to provide international quality of education and to spread best international practices in Russian academic environment. In order to make its educational products better suited to the global audience, the university works both on the content of programmes and on their structure.
Traditionally, curriculum in Russian universities used to be rather rigid, with a very limited number of elective courses, and it made responding to the labour market's changing demands rather difficult. In order to ensure the employability of its students, HSE changed the model of its undergraduate programmes, allowing for more flexibility through individualised study tracks, early exposure to the professional environment and intercultural experience. This transformation was achieved through introducing the following key features of the education process:
- undergraduate courses are grouped into clusters of majors and minors: there is a number of structured minors (e.g. philosophy, economics, etc.) available to all HSE students, which also allows for greater exposure to students from other faculties;
- students have the opportunity to choose which competences they want to acquire and to get practical experience during their studies;
- research and project work became an integral part of the study process, empowering the students to immerse early into professional life;
- MOOCs can be incorporated into the students' curriculum, either through a «white list» specified by the Academic Council of the programme, or on a case by case basis.
Employers are increasingly interested in graduates with intercultural experience, and both outgoing and incoming mobility serve this purpose. While it is impossible to send 100% of students for outgoing mobility exchange, incoming students from partner universities help to create a more complex and intercultural classroom dynamic, thus contributing to the ‘internationalisation at home'.
It is difficult to attract a large number of students internationally without offering courses in English, and HSE has been placing a heavy emphasis on this for a long time. Over one-fifth of all courses at HSE are offered in English (over 20% of all courses in 2016/17 academic year), and 42 programmes are taught jointly with partner universities from UK, Germany, Austria, France, USA, Finland, etc., including 42 double degree programmes. HSE wants to attract the best talents globally, be it students or faculty, and English-taught programmes play a vital role. At the moment there are 5 bachelor’s programmes (2 in Moscow and 3 in St. Petersburg), and 22 master’s programmes, with 3 more about to be launched in 2017.
Technical solutions for a spread-out campus
Flexible and individual tracks present a challenge in terms of organising the study process. Taking into account that HSE has a spread-out campus, with key buildings and faculties grouped in different parts of the city, the new model required lots of coordination.
The key elements in making the logistics of a flexible model manageable are the electronic schedule and personal timetable builder. As a back-office tool, the schedule allows the programmes to match the lecturers, time slots and rooms. For the public use, the individual schedule is available on every teacher's page and each student can find the timetable of their courses in HSE Learning Management System (LMS) or through a mobile app. The system displays the most relevant information about the classes– when and where they are held, what is the language of instruction, and in the case of changes or cancellations notifications are send to HSE e-mail accounts of the students who chose this course and the changes are reflected in the mobile app.
While degree students have a more predictable choice of courses even in the flexible system, exchange students from partner universities often face the challenge of how to pick the classes which their home university is going to approve and which are not going to overlap. HSE developed a Personal Timetable Builder tool, which allows filtering courses by the language of instruction, the level of education and module, as well as search by course title. The student can easily browse available courses and their syllabi and see how the selected courses match in their personal schedule.
A different solution to the problem of arranging classes in physical space is to add online courses as part of the curriculum. HSE is offering 53 MOOCs on Coursera, 19 of them in English, and plans to double this number. In addition to attracting the external audience, the university is interested in using this resource for its own students. HSE Academic Council approved the requirement for every Master's programme to offer a list of MOOCs which the students can include into the elective part of their study plan, and undergraduate programmes are going to utilise the MOOC's potential for developing their students' soft skills.
HSE is preparing to launch a self-service video course recording studio, so that faculty can use this tool for their courses at the university programmes, and the experience of those professors who already developed MOOCs can come in handy.
Last but not least, is the introduction of a new academic governance model for the programmes, which allows them to develop individually. Previously the priorities we set at the Faculty or Department level, and under the new model each undergraduate and graduate programme has an Academic Supervisor. It is a faculty member responsible for the decisions on the curriculum, partnerships, for building connections with potential internship places. Some of the programmes choose to also form an Academic Council – a governing body, comprised of HSE faculty, researchers and professors from other institutions and partners from the industry, who help to make the programme and its graduates competitive on the market.
Several programmes are headed academically by the international faculty, and it gives them a unique perspective, since from the very start they envision an outreach beyond the country borders for the programme.
From HSE Look (English language university bulletin)
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.
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.
Researchers from the HSE Institute of Education surveyed teachers in vocational secondary schools in the Moscow Region, and compared the new advantages and disadvantages brought by the new conditions in their lives.
The report entitled ‘Twelve Solutions for New Education’, prepared by the Higher School of Economics and the Centre for Strategic Development, was presented at the XIX April International Academic Conference. Professors Martin Carnoy and Tomasso Agasisti, international experts on education and conference guests, have shared their views on the issues and initiatives highlighted in the report.
Professor Bjørn Stensaker, who teaches in the Department of Education at the University of Oslo, will be the plenary speaker at the 8th International Conference on Higher Education Research organized by the Russian Association of Higher Education Researchers in Moscow. The conference is due to take place October 19-21. In a recent interview with the HSE News Service, Professor Stensaker spoke about his latest research and the trends he sees in higher education, including the growing role of technology.
Students of engineering and economics, undergraduates of state universities, high performers, young people from wealthier families, and those working part-time while at university tend to expect higher salaries upon graduation.