HSE University Moves All Lectures to Online Format
Starting October 26, 2020, lectures at all HSE University campuses will be held online. At the same time, the University’s buildings remain open to students and staff. Seminars will mostly remain offline. However, it is possible that some will also be transferred online.
HSE Vice-Rector Sergei Roshchin has signed an official directive to this effect. According to the document, studies will be organized in this manner from October 26 until further notice. Lectures will be delivered online for all faculties and years of study across all four HSE University campuses (previously, the distance mode was only used for senior students when there were more than 50 people signed up for a course).
‘Firstly, if the majority of students in a group study remotely, then the programme’s academic supervisor, together with their teacher, may make a temporary decision to transfer their seminars online as well,’ explains Anna Korovko, Senior Director for Full Degree Programmes, noting: ‘Secondly, the directive of the Vice Rector contains another element: timetables should be drawn up in such a way that students come to classes no more than three days a week. Sometimes it is impossible to meet this requirement without transferring seminars online. At the same time, all the premises of HSE University (including, the Cultural Centre, the library, and cafeterias) are still open for the time being. Student passes are not blocked, so they can visit the University’s buildings.’
The HSE University Student Council supports the administration's decision to partially transition to a remote format. ‘The quality of education in some cases would suffer if all the classes were online. As such, we believe that it is important for a number of courses to be still taught in-person, taking into account the experience of this past spring. At the same time, for students concerned about the current epidemiological situation, there is an option to transfer to a completely remote format. We believe that the partial return of the distance learning in the proposed format will satisfy all elements of the study process,’ emphasized Ivan Torubarov, Head of the Executive Office of the HSE Student Council.
‘We see that most students would prefer not to repeat the spring scenario, although they are worried about the second wave of Covid-19. It is important for students to have access to the University’s infrastructure, to see each other, and, in some classes, they simply cannot go online without a negative effect on the quality of learning, ‘says Ivan Chernyavsky, Assistant to the HSE Rector, adding: ‘It seems to me that, in the end, we managed to find a working solution that helps us avoid a complete lockdown at HSE, while also significantly reducing the risks of an accelerated spread of the virus. I hope that the responsible attitude of the entire HSE University community to the measures taken will keep our institution open to students in the future.’
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One of the biggest headlines of recent days has been the announcement made by Pfizer, a U.S.-based company, and BioNTech, Germany, that BNT162b2, a COVID-19 vaccine they are developing, has proved to be 90% effective in its Phase 3 clinical trial. The news was met with big excitement all over the world. However, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is based on a new platform, which is still understudied. According to protocol, its trial will be complete only in 2022. IQ talked to Larisa Popovich, Director of the HSE Institute for Health Economics, about the differences between the U.S.-German and the Russian Sputnik V vaccines, and about the chances of beating COVID-19 with massive immunization in the upcoming months.
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On November 6, Dr. Klaus Boehnke, Deputy Director of the HSE Centre for Sociocultural Research, presented his report entitled ‘Does COVID-19 propel value change: A comparison of Germany and the United Kingdom?’ at the ‘Culture Matters’ research seminar. HSE News Service has talked to Dr. Boehnke about various aspects of the value changes and socio-economic consequences of the pandemic in Europe and Russia.
The pandemic has put global development on hold and this is a chance for Russia to occupy market niches that were previously closed. But innovation should become as essential as air and, without information technology, new niches will still not be open. Alexander Chulok, Director of the HSE UniversityCentre for Science and Technology Foresight, spoke about this in a special report at the global conference‘Accelerate Global 2020’.
Mathematicians of the Higher School of Economics have calculated the effectiveness of measures taken to fight the coronavirus epidemic in different countries. They have concluded that the scale of anti-epidemic measures does not necessarily directly affect the disease rate, suggesting that one of the main reasons for this is the willingness of citizens to clearly, honestly and consistently comply with anti-epidemic measures.
The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown have made life difficult for credit institutions and their clients. Citizens’ incomes have decreased, which can lead to an increase in bad debts, and a decrease in the key rate to support the economy makes deposits less and less attractive and deprives banks of an important resource. Banks are compelled to search for new ways to earn money, which carries additional risks, says HSE Banking Institute Director Vasily Solodkov.
Russian citizens are almost completely out of isolation and now are less and less afraid of getting infected, however, safety measures are still being overwhelmingly complied with. Alongside that, the percentage of coronavirus skeptics who do not believe in the hazards of the virus is growing. These people refuse to get vaccinated and have no plans to self-isolate in case of the virus's second wave. This is supported by the survey results done by HSE.
Classes will begin on-campus on September 1 (for some graduate programmes on October 1), and wearing masks in university buildings and dormitories will be mandatory for all students and teachers. HSE University will arrange online learning with mandatory support from professors for newly enrolled international students who are currently unable to travel to Russia.
Many people in Russia believe that they had COVID-19 as early as December 2019 or January 2020. Is it possible to find out when the epidemic really started in Russia and where it came from? Bioinformatics provides an answer.
A team of chemists from HSE University and the Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry used molecular modelling to find out that two medications that have been known for a long time can be used to fight SARS-CoV-2. One of them is used to treat alcohol addiction, and the other is for cancer.
Researchers from HSE University have developed new approaches for regulating the expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 enzymes, which play a crucial role in cell infection with SARS-CoV-2. The scholars discovered that small non-coding microRNA (miRNA) molecules are capable of performing a targeted decrease in ACE2 and TMPRSS2. The results of the study have been published in PLOS ONE journal.