Using the Coursera platform Novosibirsk State University has launched free open online courses since January 11, 2016. The first lectures available for all comers will be the lectures on the virology and genetics basics.
Coursera is the largest international platform for online learning. So far, 16 million people from around the world have been registered on the platform. Nearly half a million of them speaks Russian. The courses on the platform are provided by six Russian universities including NSU, such as the Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg State University, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Tomsk State University and Moscow Engineering Physics Institute.
Coursera offers massive open online courses from 126 top universities in the world. Now the NSU lectures on natural and life sciences will be available for the international audience. During the press conference at ITAR-TASS the NSU scientists, who are the project’s authors, have told in details about the launching the video courses and also about their future plans.
One of the leading Russian virologists, a Head of Bionanotechnology Laboratory at the Department of Natural Sciences in NSU, a Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Sergey Netesov has explained why the University is entering the market of global online education exactly with the materials of natural sciences:- Virology is an area of science that affects all of us, because at least once a year we get sick from a viral infection. In our course we raise many vital topics, which are necessary to know in order not to be infected by one or the other virus. Moreover, virology as a science is rather quickly developing. Many discoveries have been made in virology over the past 20 years. Our course is mainly directed to explain the audience what viruses are, how they interact with each other and what you need to diagnose and cure in time the diseases caused by them.
A Researcher of Bionanotechnology Laboratory at the Department of Natural Sciences in NSU, a Candidate of Science, Margarita Tarasova added that the course on the virology basics, organized with her help, was very popular:- I think, many of us will find a lot of useful and practical information in these lectures. We have tried to tell about respiratory diseases, tick-borne encephalitis, those pathogens that are most relevant for the Novosibirsk and Russia as a whole. The course will be very entertaining and interesting. Each lecture takes about 15 minutes. In addition, we provide the assessment tests. After each course there will be a creative task to write an essay on the topic of virology. The results will be evaluated by the other participants. At a special forum all participants will also be able to discuss the questions through communication with each other and with the lecturers.
According to the scientists, the second course entitled "Genetics" will be no less interesting. A curator of online education at NSU Echevskaya Olga has told that lectures on this subject are understandable for a wide audience:- The lectures given by a Candidate of Science, an Assistant Professor of science education in High School of Informatics at NSU, Anna Yushkova, raise many topical issues inciting the curiosity of the audience. For example, whether the brown-eyed parents can have blue-eyed children born or why cats of a certain color do not hear. Besides, these lectures include topics of cloning, genetic modification and more other. In this course, students will be able to try their hand at solving the genetic problems of varying complexity. According to the results, those who successfully pass 70% or more classes obtain a certificate of the successful course’s completion.
So far, about 3500 people have signed up for both NSU courses. The future plans of the scientists are to expand the range of Russian courses and prepare a series of lectures in English for the foreign audience. It is also being discussed to count the courses within the academic disciplines of the university.- I expect that the NSU courses will provide training for ten thousand and even more students. The university gives knowledge of high quality. Now it is possible for the world audience to join our community, listen our professors and see the major achievements of our researchers. In general, the goal of our project is, firstly, to make the university recognizable in the world that is very important, since NSU is participating in the international competitiveness. Secondly, we want to help those people who basically do not have the opportunity to get a good education. That is the reason why our course is free and anyone from any corner of the world can register for it. Thirdly, it is a way to attract talented applicants. So, the courses can also be useful for children to prepare for the Unified National Exam, - Olga Echevskaya says.
Sign up for the free NSU online course entitled “Virology basics" following the link: https://ru.coursera.org/learn/nsu-virology
Sign up for the free NSU online course entitled "Genetics" following the link: https://ru.coursera.org/learn/nsu-genetics