Online Learning During Pandemic in Figures
A recent report showed interesting statistics.
The COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 made universities across 130 countries participate in an extraordinary experiment: they had to close their campuses, restrict student mobility and totally switch to online classes. The Public Council under the Minister of Higher Education and Science reviewed the results of distance education provided by Russian universities. Despite the emergency, 80 percent of Russian higher education centres had been able to reorganise by 23 March and continued to train their students. Online lectures were successfully read by 96 percent of teachers though many of them had never practiced it before. As many as 41.2 percent of professors believe that a combination of various modes of study gives more freedom to teachers.However, a majority (88 percent) say that studying on campus is more effective as teachers can better control student’s involvement in the education process.
Some students share this opinion: 33 percent said that physical presence at the lectures was preferable, and more than 40 percent said they had been missing personal communication with classmates and teachers. Sixty-six percent acknowledge the pros of learning from home as it gives them more free time, reduces workload and allows to have a good sleep. During the pandemic, 40 percent of students saw a decrease in their incomes as they worked less. Universities provided jobs to 5,000 students as part of the Ministry of Higher Education and Science’s national programme. More than 117,000 students volunteered to join the COVID-19 fight.
Self-isolation helped avoid massive contagion at dormitories and campuses. Russian universities provide training to more than four million youngsters including 278,000 foreign nationals. Just 2,403 students tested positive for COVID-19; 49 percent of patients were foreigners which made less than 1 percent of the international student body. Of 236,000 Russian universities teachers, 768 got infected (less than 1 percent).
Higher School of Economics rector Yaroslav Kuzminov who had co-authored the report, expressed the hope that students would be able to get back to on-campus study routine in September. Anyway, it became apparent during the distance learning that education process needed a new mixed mode that would also support international students who left Russia during the pandemic. It is planned to design special distance learning programmes so that international students outside Russia continue to get quality education when the borders are closed.