1. Organising the University activities in May
The educational and other activities of the University will continue to be organised in the same distance mode. At the meeting, it was noted that the interim and final assessment of students will proceed entirely in the online format.
2. Organisation of the educational process using information and communication technologies
The monitoring results and reports of the directors of institutes and deans of faculties related to the organisation of the educational process using information and communication technologies have been analysed. Given the specifics of the educational programmes and the capabilities of the staff of the institutes / faculties, various online communication tools are used. At the same time, there were practically no disruptions of classes. The dean of one of the faculties described how difficulties with conducting seminars in a particular group of students were discovered as a result of well-established feedback with the faculty student council. That was caused by the reluctance of a particular teacher to use online platforms for conducting classes. The dean of the faculty, supported by the head of the appropriate academic department, solved the problem in a timely manner.
3. Additional competencies for students and graduates of St Petersburg University
The transition of the educational process to the distance format partially solved the problem of the University's territorial disunity. Previously, students often could not attend related classes in other fields of study, as they simply did not have enough time to get from one building of the University to another. Now, with the transition to online teaching and learning, this problem can be solved in a different way. In this regard, Marina Lavrikova suggested that the development of additional competencies be organised for students in their graduation year. Currently, these competencies are not provided for by their educational programmes. Yet, they can be developed by studying certain online courses that our students now have access to. These are courses in the following fields:
- teaching competencies using distance learning technologies;
- data analysis and management, including digital transformation of businesses;
- information technology and information protection for soft skills development; and
- learning foreign languages as an additional skill in business communication.
The second proposal: to give this year's graduates an opportunity to take online courses in July and August.
The directors and deans were instructed to: send their proposals to supplement the list of competencies that can be offered as optional courses to St Petersburg University students of various years. In addition, Marina Lavrikova suggested that all staff members should work together to work out the possibility of organising the participation of students of various programmes in the online educational process.
4. Preparing for the state final assessment
The regulations for conducting the state final assessment using only online educational technologies have been approved (Order No 3896/1 'On approval of the regulations ...' dated 06 May 2020). The development of the regulations took into account: the proposals of the heads of departments on the sequence of actions, timing and forms of materials presentation; and the participation of coordinators and their interaction with the members of the State Examination Board. The instructions for coordinators, who are employees of the Academic Division and Information Technology Division, are almost ready.
Since 12 May 2020, the University has resumed testing the connection of students to the proctoring system. The first students tested will be those of: the Institute of Earth Sciences; the Graduate School of Journalism and Mass Communications; the Institute of History; and the Institute of Philosophy. All students will be informed in advance of the date and time of testing by corporate e-mail. The procedure may be postponed for those who will not be able to take part in the testing on the fixed date. During the meeting, issues raised by students, teachers and members of the State Examination Board in their appeals to the Virtual Reception were also discussed (Exams in economics; State exams; How the challenges of time are changing the final assessment procedures; Economists included in the State Examination Board are against the abolition of the state exam).
5. Participation of University students in the Employment Assistance Programme
The Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation has specified five pilot programmes to promote the employment of students of higher educational institutions in the Russian Federation.
To implement the programme in St Petersburg, the programme of St Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design was selected. State universities in St Petersburg select the appropriate areas of work for their students and implement relevant socially significant projects.
As part of the Employment Assistance Programme, St Petersburg University ensures the implementation of projects aimed at providing non-repayable aid to socially vulnerable groups of the population. That includes: the provision of psychological, legal, financial and other types of aid; as well as online counselling on various everyday issues and issues related to the delivery of food, medicines and primary commodities to elderly people. University students who are on self-isolation are included.
The provision of aid is organised mainly through the practical training of students at St Petersburg University in the form of clinical practices at: the University Psychological Clinic; the University Social Clinic; the University Centre for Financial Literacy; the University Sociological Clinic of Applied Research; the University Centre for IT and Engineering Competencies (IT Clinic); and the University Legal Clinic. That allows us not only to help the disadvantaged groups of citizens, but also to increase the level of our students' professional training. In addition, aid is also provided by students working at the University Volunteering Centre. One more area is advising citizens on various issues, including those related to admission to St Petersburg University.
The programme encompasses the period from 1 May to 31 August 2020. Students can participate in it either during the entire period of its implementation, or in particular months. As of 12 May 2020, the University recommended 756 students as potential participants in the programme. The recommendations were based on the proposals from the directors and the deans. More than 90 of them have already entered into employment contracts. The rest are in the process of collecting documents and formalising their labour relations.
For prospective employment within the framework of this programme, the directors and the deans were advised to send additional lists of students willing to participate in the above-mentioned projects to: Aleksandr Babich, Vice-Rector for Student Affairs and Admissions.
6. The deans' interaction with student councils
The deans of the Faculty of Political Science (Aleksandr Kurochkin), the Faculty of Law (Sergei Belov), and the School of International Relations (Irina Novikova) informed their colleagues about their successful experience in interacting with the student councils. According to the speakers, all issues are resolved quickly if the directors and the deans effectively organise the work of teachers and regularly communicate with the student council members.