Starting September 2020, some courses will be offered to students at all four campuses simultaneously. HSE University Vice Rector Sergey Roshchin explains how the studies will be organized and why the University is introducing these changes.
— In the next academic year, 25% of the courses will be taught to students at all four campuses. What kind of courses are these?
— A significant part of these courses have already been selected. So far, this is less than 25% of the total number of courses, but we are still working on curricula to determine which courses will also fit into this new category. Most of them are, of course, elective courses, but there are also core foundation courses and minors.
— How did this initiative appear? Was the COVID-19 pandemic the reason?
— The pandemic merely encouraged us all, both teachers and students, to quickly master distance learning technologies. HSE University is certainly active in developing various formats of online education and digital technologies in education, but the last three months of instruction during the lockdown have really helped us acquire new competencies and skills. This opens up completely new opportunities for us.
Our inter-campus mobility programme is in place and it continues to operate. Under this programme, students can go from their campus to one of the other three ones for six months, or a year to take courses in a degree programme. At the same time, we can now organize inter-campus interaction by offering a plethora of different courses, which are prepared by our teachers—without students having to move to a different city. In addition, we also plan to invite our international colleagues to teach several of these courses online.
— How will a joint schedule be drawn up?
— We sent out surveys among students and teachers to ask them about the most comfortable way of aligning their timetables. We will make decisions based on these results. The Perm campus is in a different time zone, and classes at our other three campuses all begin at different times, so we need to streamline that.
— Aligning the timetables of four campuses and introducing shared courses seems like no easy task. Why does HSE need to do that?
— One of our goals at the university is to provide high quality education. That’s what HSE University sets out to do—assembling a team of people who want to create new knowledge and share it. Therefore, everything that contributes to improving the quality of education has been put into practice. This project, of course, affects the quality of education, because we are widening our course offerings. And we provide our students the opportunity to study with different teachers, by taking courses from different campuses.
We deliberately use the word ‘campus’ instead of ‘branch’. All of our campuses are actively developing and they all hold very good positions, not only in their regions, but also on the overall Russian education market. The opportunity to use the resources of all four campuses is very important. We should keep in mind that this is not only about utilizing the resources of HSE Moscow. We mean to integrate the capabilities of different teams, which can benefit the entire university.
— Will HSE University support teachers who create courses in this format?
— Working in this new format requires additional effort and special training, since it is necessary to prepare all materials, so that they are available online. This will certainly be taken into account and a system of incentives will be developed. The precise nature of additional financial incentives is in the works now.
— Does the new format involve learning from home?
— Yes, among other things. Another important advantage is that we’ll create and store recordings of certain classes, so that students will be able to access them whenever they like.