Project 5-100 31st Seminar Held OnlineSeptember 18, 2020
The State Autonomous Sociological Research Center “Sociocenter” held Project 5-100’s 31st seminar online on September 15-16, 2020, bringing together representatives of government bodies and field-specific agencies, rectors of leading universities and higher education experts. “What to teach and how to teach it in 2020?” was the key topic of the two-day discussion.
Addressing the seminar participants, Head of Project 5-100 Project Office, Sociocenter Acting Director Boris Filippov said that Project 5-100 is ending this year and that the Strategic Academic Leadership Programme would replace it to meet the new challenges of time. Switching to online communication because of COVID-19 was another important point noted by Filippov. The experience in online interaction and distance learning gained over the past six months changed ideas for digital technology application in education and prompted a rethinking of the role and place of the teacher and student in the education process.
On the first day of the 31st seminar, St Petersburg deputy governor Vladimir Knyaginin held a foresight session devoted to short- and medium-term higher education development scenarios.
Elena Kolesnikova, Russian Education and Science Ministry Project Activity Department director, said that “Project 5-100 implementers came up with many interesting solutions which we plan to use in the strategic academic leadership programme and other national project events.” “Project 5-100 universities made a significant contribution to scientometrics and patent activity. These universities showed themselves as strong players in the field of research,” she said. The new academic leadership programme “concentrates resources and gives broad freedom to universities and new objectives they have to work for.” Commenting on upcoming changes, Kolesnikova told about the development of a national research and higher education project that had been given a tentative name “Science and Universities.” It will provide stimuli for universities’ integration and research activities, research infrastructure development, digital development and improvement of personnel competencies.
Andrey Volkov, director of the Institute for Public Strategy, Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO, deputy chairman of Project 5-100 Council, named the “three major projects that had the largest impact on the Russian higher education landscape” compared to numerous initiatives implemented over the past 15 years. These are the establishment of federal universities and research universities and Project 5-100 implementation. “I hope that the strategic academic leadership programme will complete a similar mission to transform the education system in the next decade,” Volkov said.
The second day of the 31st seminar addressed education trends that emerged as universities switched to online classes. Special attention was paid to distance learning technologies and the development of online courses. Experts from Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, ITMO University, Higher School of Economics and Ural Federal University presented their best practices. Amid the lockdown measures, practical solutions, teachers’ qualification, higher motivation and the extent of the audience’s involvement in the teaching process came to the fore.
Singularity University representative, Project 5-100 expert Yevgeny Kuznetsov said that “distance learning is finding its niche.” It is particularly needed by people who can acquire professions unassisted by learning the required skills fast. “A huge number of professions require the university format, i.e. joint R & D, discussions and student-teacher interaction.” It became obvious that distance learning cannot fully replace studies on the campus. Designing courses for online platforms and the introduction of mixed modes of study enabled the universities to create a new format of interaction with students. These topics addressed by the seminar will have an important significance even after the pandemic ends.
Project 5-100 32nd seminar will be held via video conference on 1-2 October 2020. It will focus on Virtual and Augmented Reality Technology in Education, Science and Medicine and follow up on the topics of foresight and online education. The seminar will be organised jointly with Far Eastern Federal University.