Aug 26, 2020 - FEFU News
Far Eastern Federal University is preparing for the new academic year

September 14, 2020 is the official start date of the academic year at FEFU, which will become non-standard due to the difficult epidemiological situation in the world. At the moment, all departments of the university are actively carrying out preparatory work for a successful start of the educational process: it is planned to organize the educational process in the "blended learning" mode, including using electronic information and educational environment. All lectures, if possible, will be transferred to a distance format, while seminars and practical classes, which involve the full-time participation of students and teachers, will be organized in classrooms that will be assigned to certain study groups, thus it will be possible to minimize the contact of students from different groups. In addition, the possibility of introducing a shift mode of instruction is being discussed, as well as different starting times for training sessions.

For foreign students of basic educational programs, who at the beginning of the academic year will not be able to physically attend the classes on FEFU campus, the individual educational process of learning in a distance format will be provided. After the conclusion of all the pandemic restrictions, issuing invitations for obtaining a Russian visa for foreign citizens will be organized. This process usually takes at least a month, then during the waiting period, foreign students and teachers will continue their educational and pedagogical activities online.

Foreign students who will be able to come to Russia during the period of restrictions imposed by measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus infection will need to undergo mandatory 14-day isolation, with a 10-12 day examination.

All mass extracurricular and educational activities for students will also be organized in a distance format. In the first weeks of the new academic year, the staff of the International Admission Center plans to hold online meetings for first-year students from abroad. The meetings will be timed to coincide with events for the adaptation of foreign students, to which foreign students from FEFU will be invited, in order to share their experience with compatriots and new university students about how life is organized on campus and in its virtual environment

In the new academic year, academic exchange programs will be conducted exclusively in a distance format. Virtual mobility, which was quite rare before the pandemic, in the current situation continues to gain popularity not only due to closed borders, but also due to its accessibility, lack of time and space restrictions, as well as financial attractiveness and ease of organization due to the abandonment of visa procedures, and the geographic features of some countries.

Joint international student and scientific projects, which are implemented in a distance format, make it possible to gather young researchers from different countries; while working on projects, students are given a unique opportunity to gain experience of direct intercultural interaction in a foreign language in a virtual educational environment. A similar example was the online round table with the University of Kanazawa (Japan), where Japanese and Russian scientists discussed topical environmental issues and touched upon the issues of pollution of marine waters with microplastics, processing waste from coal-fired power plants, and sewage treatment. This year, in connection with the epidemiological situation, Kanazawa University proposed to FEFU to jointly organize and conduct a series of seminars in a distance format, as well as take part in the Russian-Japanese scientific online symposium in September 2020.

FEFU was the first in Russia to be ready for the transition to distance learning and measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The experience of foreign colleagues from the University of Hong Kong and the University of California at Los Angeles helped in this. They gave their recommendations during the teleconference of the Association of Presidents of Universities of the Asia-Pacific Region, which includes FEFU.

The university's own experience was also useful. FEFU annually provides access to online courses for 12,000 of its students. Currently, 2,000 Chinese students of FEFU are learning educational programs remotely.