Nowadays, there are many opportunities for independent learning out of the university. Someone uses online courses or international platforms like Coursera, edX as well as Ukrainian Prometheus for years. Now we can see how this innovative platform for independent learning integrates with the traditional university’s system of education: Prometheus and several universities – Lviv Polytechnic, Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute (KPI), Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU), Ivan Franko Lviv National University (LNU) implement the blended learning pilot project.
In fact, there is a mix of online and offline education and mass, free of charge online courses of leading teachers from Ukraine and other countries are introduced in the traditional learning process. Among them there are the Stanford course ‘How to start a startup’ and the Harvard course ‘CS50: Introduction to Computer Science’ which are considered the best in the world in this area.
Different universities, including already mentioned American universities, use the online courses during learning process. It is believed that this can reveal the access to the best achievements in a particular area with minimal costs for every student. Thus, the experiments with blended learning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have shown the growth of students’ progress on average by 35%.
According to Ivan Pryimachenko, the co-founder of Prometheus, after the completion of the pilot project, Prometheus has a plan to initiate a reform of higher education involving 20 universities (many institutions have already expressed their wish to join) on the basis of blended learning format.
The project organizers hope that this will let to improve the functioning of the national education system qualitatively during several years. But it is about the prospect. We speak to the students of Lviv Polytechnic who are practicing online learning directly and fully.
Danylo Sapiha, a first-year student of the Institute of Computer Science and Information Technologies
‘I have not dealt with online courses yet.’
I have not dealt with online learning yet because I’m a first-year student. But I’m sure that video lectures of teachers from other countries are a good opportunity to learn some things of interest at this time from outside of Ukraine for IT specialists, moreover the information is never too much. If the course is in English then it will allow us to learn the language. Overall, this is more interesting than the traditional teaching, though it all depends on the lecturer, of course.
Mariia Artemovych, a fourth-year student of the Institute of Computer Technologies, Automation and Metrology
‘Learning at home is comfortable and convenient’
Dealing with online courses makes it possible not to go to the university (and save money accordingly) and learning at home is comfortable and convenient. I personally would be interested to hear the lecturers from abroad, to learn more about international experience in the IT field.
Ihor Tymots, a freelanced journalist
‘You choose the discipline and the time’
Recently I have completed the Prometheus’s online course on the topic ‘Selected issues of European history’ by Professor Yaroslav Hrytsak. This is a new experience and new knowledge, somewhat unusual approach to the historical context (sociological, through the prism of family relationships, etc.). Overall, there are about 9-12 video lectures, the synopsis, various materials and articles to the topic and tests that you have to pass, and also some intermediate and final works. There are a continuous forum where you can discuss some nuances with students and teachers. I know that such courses are widely spread in the West and it is good that we have been given such opportunity. It is necessary and useful. First of all, it is a motivated person’s choice: those who are interested in and need it will surely get the course. Moreover, you choose time to learn and don’t need to go out.
Anastasiia Zilberh, a second-year student of the Institute of Architecture
‘A teacher is indispensable to understand something’
I think that distance learning, Virtual learning environment of Lviv Polytechnic, online lectures are not a good idea. I think it is better to come to ‘live’ lecture, to listen to the teacher, to ask him about what you do not understand (you cannot ask the speaker on the video). To my mind the information by itself is not enough, you should speak with the teacher in person to understand something.
Oleksandr Yevdokymov, a fouth-year student of the Institute of Computer Technologies, Automation and Metrology
‘It is interesting and helps to improve English’
I guess I do not have enough time to study with the blended learning system. But I think this approach is interesting in the university because many factors seem to distract you from studying at home. Of course, it is also a good opportunity to improve the English language skills (mainly professional), which are necessary for a good job.