HSE Online Learning Opportunities Presented at Coursera Partners Conference
On March 29-31 of this year, the online learning platform Coursera held its fifth annual Coursera Partners Conference called Innovation for Tomorrow’s Learners at the University of Colorado, and the conference saw the participation of our colleagues from the HSE eLearning Office.
At the conference, HSE eLearning Office Director Evgenia Kulik and Deputy Director Ksenia Kidimova discussed some of the first results that follow the university’s integration of online courses into the learning process. This year some 11,000 students have added more than 350 online courses into their individual academic plans, and this includes only 50 that are taught by HSE instructors. Certain faculties give students the opportunity to take online classes both remotely and in a blended learning environment, whereby online learning is mixed with traditional classroom learning. Evgenia and Ksenia also expanded upon the institutional research HSE plans to conduct on online and blended learning.
In addition, the Director of the HSE Centre for Psychometrics in eLearning, Dmitry Abbakumov, presented on some of the new approaches being taken in evaluating the results of online learning at the university. In particular, Dmitry has developed a service that evaluates the quality of tests completed upon finishing an online course. If, for example, both stronger and weaker students complete the same task with the same level of success, there is then no point in completing the task at all. Dmitry’s service identifies such tasks and advises instructors to make modifications to the task. There are also instances where strong students answer certain questions incorrectly, while weaker students answer correctly; this means that the teaching assistants may have mixed up the key when downloading the task on the platform, and this needs to be corrected.
The service will gain another option soon as well – the analysis of tasks where a student’s own evaluation is taken into account. If a student writes an essay or completes a design project for an online course, three other students are able to evaluate the student using instructions developed by the instructor. Dmitry Abbakumov suggests that the consistency of these students’ opinions then be assessed once they rate their fellow student. If their assessments are very similar, then they have correctly understood the instructions and their evaluations are objective. If there is high variance in their assessments, then either the rubric was not compiled correctly or some of the students were too strict, meaning that the instructor must intervene.
This service is already being used in the development of online courses at HSE, and now it will be available to all of Coursera’s university partners.
‘Contemporary education around the world has been using more and more online technologies. HSE is one of the first Russian universities to work with the international platform Coursera, and we are now one of the top ten universities in the world to use the platform in terms of the scale of our activities. This is an opportunity for universities to present their courses and professors to the global academic market, and contemporary online education technologies are also a powerful stimulus for research in the field of education, as well as for building new corporation models and partnerships, especially between universities and business. The university partner conferences that Coursera carries out are important to HSE not only in respect to familiarising ourselves with the experiences of some of the world’s top universities, but also in regards to positioning the university among foreign partners and presenting our research, developments, and experience in the field of online education,’ comments HSE Vice Rector Sergey Roshchin.
Ksenia A. Kidimova
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