Now, students from any university can access and complete Tomsk Polytechnic University’s online courses based on the virtual reality on the open platform One Window. Grades (credits) earned should be accepted by that university where students are enrolled.
Director of the E-Learning Institute Alexander Fadeev says: ‘The idea is to make knowledge of best professors accessible for all students. It will be possible to take courses at any famous university, being a student of a less recognized institution. … This practice will be beneficial both for students in terms of quality of education and for a university in terms of economics as the creation of such courses especially implies the involvement of industrial partners. In addition, students in Russia and abroad will get a wider choice in selecting courses.’
For engineering universities where the majority of courses are practice-oriented, e-learning presents now an additional tool rather than just a substitute for full-time education. Thus, when it comes to a History course which needs only theoretical knowledge, it seems all too possible to master it without a professor. It is quite another matter when you solve integral equations. Individual supervision is required to gain experience in this field. The same is true of lab works and practical tasks.
‘Therefore, when designing online courses we decided, as an engineering university, to place a particular emphasis on a practical part of education. With this in mind, we found a tool which has not been used at any Russian university so far. This is virtual reality. Now, we are finalizing three practical courses, namely, Industrial Imaging – To See Invisible, Nanostructured Ceramics and Pure Energy on Solid Fuel Is Real.
Each course includes necessary practical part and students will have an opportunity not only to learn theoretical materials but to attain practical skills on virtual simulators as well.
Virtual simulators are exact copies of existing laboratories hosted by Tomsk Polytechnic University and the whole process is designed as if it is being carried out in operating conditions and using real equipment. For example, sometimes you have to run up and down the floors so as to switch on all necessary devices and sometimes you should wait for the completion of the working cycle of a facility, monitoring its operation.
Alexander Fadeev notes: ‘We will be the first in Russia to launch VR-related courses.’
The new courses are expected to be launched at the University in February. Further, they will be available on the One Window platform, which enables access to all courses for any student in Russia.