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HSE Launches Online Course on the Digitalization of Megapolises in Partnership with Coursera

HSE Launches Online Course on the Digitalization of Megapolises in Partnership with Coursera

The programme is aimed not only at students, but also city administration employees, IT specialists, and company managers. Course content allows students to learn about the latest successful developments in megacity digitalization in the context of Moscow. There is no other course like it offered in Russia or the world.

The course was initiated by HSE’s Institute for Public Administration and Governance and developed by HSE professors and former members of the Moscow City Government, Artem Ermolaev and Andrei Belozerov. For the first time, they share step-by-step instructions on how to digitalize a metropolis while navigating organizational, technical, and informational limitations.

‘This is the first course to present a comprehensive survey of city digitalization methods,’ says Artem Ermolaev, professor of the HSE Institute of Education and former Head of the Department of Information Technologies of the City of Moscow. ‘Until now, there has not been a single, one-stop compendium, or step-by-step set of instructions on how to create a “smart city”.’

The course, ‘Digital Transformation of Megapolises: From Zero to #1 in the UN Digital e-Government Ranking’, examines city digitalization using the example of Moscow. The Russian capital began a vigorous digitalization campaign ten years ago, and today, as the course title reveals, the city ranks first in the UN’s biennial e-government ranking. Many services that are currently operating in Moscow were developed in pioneer mode and still have no analogues in Europe in terms of population coverage, scale, and speed.

The programme lasts eight weeks and includes text and video modules, as well as discussions for students’ most pressing questions regarding the covered material. The course also contains practical video content with examples of already completed projects in Moscow and abroad.

Users from any country of the world will be able to replicate the management and information logic. Like all Coursera materials at this time, the course will be open-access.

‘In a situation where all countries of the world are gradually closing their borders and forced to abandon their usual way of life, we want to keeps these borders open by making our course accessible to everyone,’ says Andrei Belozerov, Chief Expert of the Institute for Public Administration and Governance and an expert on the UN development programme. ‘Now, along with free entertainment content provided by cinemas, theaters, and even museums, you can also get educational content. This will help prevent people from getting bored in the absence of face-to-face classes.’

Andrei Zhulin, Vice Rector, Director, Institute for Public Administration and Governance, HSE

Andrei Zhulin, Vice Rector, Director, Institute for Public Administration and Governance, HSE

First of all, the course will keep things interesting for those (not only in Russia, but also in other countries) who previously believed that digital transformation is just a boring mixture of concepts such as ‘startup’, ‘Agile’, ‘Scrum’, ‘mobile application’, etc. The digital transformation of Moscow is 80% organizational rather than digital. This has involved the massive invisible labour of creating full-fledged systems for all spheres of the city economy and its information and technical structure, which supports hundreds of millions of transactions. This is a search for solutions that satisfy the conservative strata of urban residents; it is the balancing of decisions regarding different socio-economic categories of citizens. A classic example is the balance of public transport and private transport with all the costs of regulation and payment.

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