Since September 2003 our university has introduced the system of distant learning, aimed at extending the range of educational services of the university, to make the education more affordable and the training process more convenient for all the categories of the population, no matter where the students live.
The greater part of the world educational systems, using the method of distant learning is based on applying up-to-date information technologies, and for the last decades, on the intensive use of the global Internet network.
Using the accumulated world experience, and taking into account the specific character of Russia (regional, demographic, socio-economic factors), we have made a foundation for distant learning system – an integrated approach, which allows to transfer knowledge to students by different means, suitable for everyone: tutors’ consultancy, self-study of special written sources, work with electronic teaching aids, Internet etc.
In September 2007 the distance education department was transformed into Distance education faculty. Assistant Professor Sergey Anatoljevich Mickhajlichenko, candidate of technical sciences, was appointed the Dean of the Faculty. In accordance with the decision of the Academic Council and BSTU Chancellor’s order of 13.01.2011 the Faculty of distance learning technologies was renamed into the "Institute of Distance Learning".
The current market of educational services has a number of requirements which force us to reconsider the approaches to academic process organization. The new concept developed provides for individualized education type, allowing to take into account the abilities of each individual, regardless of age and social status, contributing to a person’s self-fulfillment and development. Nowadays, this approach is being implemented through a variety of educational programs using a modular principle and distance learning technologies.
BSTU offers programs of higher education with the use of distance learning technologies. The university uses its own complex methodology incorporating classroom component, working with specialized teaching materials and interactive teaching methods.
One of the main differences between distance learning from the "classical" correspondence is the application in the learning process modular system. The main characteristics of this system is the even distribution of workload, which includes lectures, practical classes, various forms of knowledge assessment during the academic year. This system allows to efficiently use academic hours stipulated by the curriculum for independent student’s work to study each subject, as the repeating process of the material studied is supported and followed by the lectures. Thus, the cycle of "learning the material - repeating material - knowledge control " becomes inseparable during the entire period of study.
Standard teaching and methodical package for distance learning students at BSTU includes the following:
- monthly academic schedule;
- time-table of auditorium classes and consultations;
- schedule of current monitoring of academic progress and intermediate assessment;
- work programs covering subjects and courses included in the academic schedule;
- specialized teaching and methodological complexes to study each subject indicated in the academic schedule;
- methodological guidance on the specific work of the integrated system of distance learning at BSTU;
- components of multimedia learning support (video, online tutorials and laboratory work, materials of electronic libraries, etc.);
- additional teaching and methodical materials.
Following the academic schedule the students can independently study their professional material by means of electronic teaching aids, placed in the electronic library at the university website. The student enters the relevant section of the website and selects from the list the required teaching and methodical complex. Auditorium classes in this case become a consultation with the lecturer, as there is no need to once again represent the material, which is already available in an electronic manual. It should be noted that BSTU is implementing the basic tenets of distance education: openness and accessibility, flexibility of academic process, multi-level informational and educational software. All the above allows us to make higher education affordable to a wide range of people of different age groups and social status, while maintaining high quality of the knowledge received.