Question of the day: should universities give discounts for the distance education for students?
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Question of the day: should universities give discounts for the distance education for students?

7 October , 17:20SocietyPhoto: Медиахолдинг 1Mi
Due to the epidemiological situation, universities may again switch to online education. Some have already partially transferred students to distance learning. In this regard, fair questions arise - can distance education be of high quality and why does it cost as much as full-time education?

Daria Voznesenskaya

The Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation is not yet considering the issue of transferring all universities completely to distance learning. According to Minister Valery Falkov , the situation is dynamic and everything depends on the epidemiological situation in a particular region. “We are monitoring the situation on a daily basis in each of the regions”, - he said.

In most cases, universities independently decide on the format of education. For example, in Bashkiria, classes in higher educational institutions are attended by full-time only the first courses of bachelor's, specialist's and master's degrees, writes Mkset.ru. The rest study online.

In this regard, many people have a question: why do you need to pay the same amount for distance education as for full-time education? So, Olga Mikhailova from Ufa, whose son studies at USATU for 100 thousand rubles a year, asked to recalculate in connection with the transition to online education. “They closed all the houses, the students relax. We are not talking about any kind of study here. You can join the lecture and continue to sleep or go about your business. Online education is cheaper, distance learning is cheaper. So why do we pay also?", - she was indignant.

However, the university refused to recalculate Ufa, as "all classes are held on schedule and knowledge is transferred in full." Nail Bayramgulov, head of the department for the development of information educational technologies of another university - Bashkir State University - believes that the requirement for recalculation in any educational institution of the republic is illegal.

On the contrary, Irina Abankina, director of the Institute for the Development of Education of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, believes that the question of recalculation has been raised fairly. According to her, now all over the world there is a dialogue about how to correctly calculate the costs of switching to telecommuting.

“This question is very serious, because distance education is not equated with correspondence education. Distance education has always been considered a technology, and there are no technology-specific discount rates. Moreover, universities today are forced to invest a lot in the creation of online products - courses, modules, work reviews. In addition, universities are now forced to invest in the re-equipment of hostels so that students can study, including in hostels, remotely. Because many universities noted that on September 1, not all students were able to return - even from the regions of Russia, ” Abankina said in a conversation with Novye Izvestia.

However, she notes that, indeed, remote technology could be cheaper. But the question is quite complicated, since distance education is not equal to correspondence education - students continue to study on a daily basis, interact with teachers, and complete assignments. “Accordingly, these are additional expenses that the university pays. For example, to pay for communication opportunities. Everyone knows how expensive it is to teach Zoom . Now universities are switching to other platforms, but they are also not free. Many Russian platforms, which were proposed in the spring, do not withstand the stress during the mass peak. In this mode, there have been many collapses, a lot does not scale”, - added Abankina.

Now a lot in the quality of the knowledge gained depends not only on students, who often love freebies, but also on teachers. Mistakes on the way out can lead to a generation of poorly educated cadres.

“Before, a teacher could really assess each student, his real level of knowledge, find out what a student is generally capable of, focus on his weaknesses. In the process of distance learning, this is quite problematic. The teacher cannot evaluate the student only through the screen of his computer. In addition, the student now has more opportunities to 'cheat', 'cheat'”, - says Airat Khalikov, head of the Department of Forensic Medicine of the Belarusian State Medical University.

Professor and teacher of the Nizhny Novgorod Institute of Management, a branch of the RANEPA, Andrey Dakhin agrees that there is a possibility to write off, but there are other methods to find out the student's knowledge. “You can conduct an interview, as it was in face-to-face format. You can have a conversation with the student on the topic. Then everything will immediately become clear”, - he said.

Yulia Saitbattalova, a full-time teacher of the Department of Journalism at Bashkir State University, noted that a bad example for students shows the frivolous attitude of some teachers to distance learning. Many students end up thinking online lectures can be ignored, she said. “It’s no secret that some people do not strive to conduct full-fledged classes... However, it seems to me that these people didn’t really exert themselves, for example, during contact work”, - she says.

“I agree that a lot also depends on the teachers. How correctly he will select a modern format, including operational communication, the ability to check work, serious advice when completing assignments, to provide assistance not in a group, but literally to each of the students. Here, a general check of the control will not be enough. We need to help build an individual educational trajectory”, - added Abankina, Director of the Institute for Education Development at the Higher School of Economics.

Dakhin believes that in order to improve the quality of distance education, it is necessary to change the load on teachers so that it is adequate. “Distance formats can work, but there must be a different calculation of the time and labor costs of teachers. To preserve the old grid, as in a full-time work format, means to mix sour and sweet. Of course, this will damage your reputation. If you do everything according to your mind, then distance learning requires a new work schedule. One of the challenges in this case is to reduce the number of students per teacher. There is no productivity if the group is 30 people, and the teacher is one. It is necessary to go to the reduction so that the teacher can work with each student on the topic. It is necessary not only to inform the student, but also to educate him, to form a civic and life position. And this requires additional time, " he said in an interview with Novye Izvestia.

Another question that arises in connection with the transition to distance education - what about those whose professions require personal presence, practical training? In the future, will we be treated by doctors who have only received online knowledge?

“This is, of course, a more complicated thing. Where it is obligatory to be present in a specially equipped laboratory, to use some special means, instruments, I think that the solution to the problem is in small groups, ”says Dakhin.

In the future, if everything continues this way, many professions will undergo changes, and live communication will become a luxury inaccessible to the bulk of the population”, - said Timur Mukhtarov, candidate of sociological sciences.

While Russia has not yet decided on the format of training for the near future, Brazil has already developed recommendations for organizing the educational process in 2020–2021. In particular, it is advised to extend the remote mode of education in schools and universities until December next year. At the same time, the previous six months of online education revealed a number of serious problems: poor families cannot afford computers and the Internet. Therefore, back in May, the country launched a campaign to collect old gadgets - to pass them on to children in need. But there were too many of them...

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