Distance learning at MAI: How It Works

25 March 2020

Distance learning at MAI: How It Works
On March 17, 2020, Moscow Aviation Institute (National Research University) completely switched to the distance learning mode. The PR department found out how the educational process is organized at Moscow Aviation Institute, from the leadership, teaching staff and students of the university. 

Along with aerospace sectors, IT is one of the priority areas of training at Moscow Aviation Institute, so distance learning for the university is not a new process and was already well developed. This experience, as well as developed digital capabilities, allowed the university to transfer the educational process to the online painlessly and quickly. To date, all MAI schools successfully conduct distance learning, without loss of quality and according to curriculum.

MAI teaching staff and students interact at two sites: the LMS MAI platform (Learning Management System), which is developed and supported by the MAI e-learning department, and the Microsoft Teams (MT) service. Both platforms are functional and intuitive to learn, they allow you to listen to lectures - online or in recordings, receive and give in assignments, participate in "live" seminars.

“LMS MAI was developed in 2006, so far it has been updated 6 times - acquired intuitive navigation and was filled with relevant content,” said Pyotr Ukhov, Head of the MAI E-learning Department. "The schools place their courses on the educational platform in a format convenient for students, including lecture notes and presentations. There is also a video conferencing system. All systems are synchronized with the MAI management system, students and teachers have already gained access to them. One of the main issues that is now being addressed in the framework of distance learning is high-load systems. Previously, 10-15 users worked simultaneously in our LMS system, but now it reaches 600-700. To reduce the load on the system, we had to split the server. Now, the LMS MAI is capable of supporting up to 2,000 users at the same time.”

MAI Staff Reviews

Heads and teaching staff of MAI schools shared their experience in the implementation and use of distance learning platforms. According to their reviews, the full transition to the LMS platform did not become something new, it went quickly and painlessly.

For example, the teaching staff of the School No. 1 “Aircraft Engineering” of Moscow Aviation Institute have a lot of experience studying online, largely thanks to the active participation of the school’s departments in international programs. Fields related to academic exchange and double degree diploma programs are developing, which organically include the use of distance learning and consultation systems. The entire spectrum of modern innovative teaching systems is used, the basis of which is the LMS MAI system, which integrates live video training and provides 24-hour access to teacher lecture notes and course materials. In case of additional questions, students can receive further online consultations not only from the leading professor, but also from consultants in the course sections from the scientific laboratories of the university and industry.

As a separate topical area of ​​using online training systems, we can highlighted a remote control system. The use of electronic testing systems in the preparation process enables students in a calm and comfortable environment to test their knowledge and readiness for the test. This allows, on the one hand, the teacher to plan the course more rationally, and on the other hand, the student can feel more confident in the final test.

“I believe that in the current circumstances, a complete transition to the online learning is an opportunity to comprehensively test the distance learning system in the stress test mode. This, of course, is a platform for the digital revolution in education, which will allow us to take a step forward in the issue of distance learning,” says Oleg Dolgov, Director of School No. 1.

At the School No. 2 “Aviation, Rocket Engines and Power Installations” all the subjects that the departments provide this year for students of both their own and other MAI schools were transferred to online. Teaching staff organizes live chat with students in chat rooms, track visits to their courses. In those subjects where homework is provided, through the LMS MAI system, students can download the necessary material for independent work, and then send the result for verification.

“The learning process is going well. Responsible people for posting lectures and creating courses were appointed at the school. Their responsibilities also include consultations that help teaching staff and students quickly adapt to a fully distance learning format,” says Sergey Kiktev, Deputy Director of School No. 2.

At the School No. 5 "Engineering Economics and Humanities", distance learning is as effective as offline learning. All lectures and additional materials were processed and posted online, the necessary consultations with teachers and students were held, and the educational process is being closely monitored.

“I am very grateful to the students of the School No. 5 for full understanding, focused and organized consideration to the process of rapid transition to distance learning. The teaching staff felt quite a serious load in terms of modernizing their lecture materials, but our fears that there would be some dissatisfaction on the part of the students did not realized,” says Sergey Novikov, Director of the MAI School "Engineering Economics and Humanities". “In my opinion, the introduction of completely distance learning at MAI was successful, our university was able to quickly organize the educational process, get all the passwords and access in one day.”

MAI students also note that they are comfortable working on the proposed educational platforms. They believe that the quality of training was not affected, and now you can see the missed online lecture in the recording.

MAI Student Reviews

For MAI international students, distance learning is another interesting experience. Kabilan Kumaraguru, a graduate student of School No. 6 “Aerospace” from India, is confident that, considering the current situation in the world, this was the best solution for students. His study in English through the Youtube Live service. A link to each lecture and seminar is provided by the course curator, from the LMS MAI system. Classes are held online, students can ask the teacher questions in the chat. Each “live” lecture is saved, and you can return to it if necessary. The video lesson itself consists of a virtual whiteboard where the teacher writes formulas and important facts, while simultaneously covering the topic of the subject. The international student prepares homework as usual and sends them to the teacher by e-mail. Classes are clearly scheduled.

“We communicate with our supervisor via email, messengers and Skype. Despite the fact that for me it is still preferable to study in a class, considering the situation, I am pleased with the measures taken. Moreover, you don’t have to spend time on the road, and study in your comfortable room,” says Kabilan.

In the current semester, graduate students of School No. 3, “Control Systems, Informatics and Power Engineering,” are focused on writing a thesis work, so the learning process is not as intense as, for example, for undergraduate students. The students study only two busy days a week - and both online. The LMS MAI program helps them solve important issues related to thesis research.

“All students of our school were able to freely connect to the LMS MAI system on the first day. In my opinion, there are no problems with the transition to distance learning at the university - all the teachers are constantly in touch, you can consult and ask any question of interest,” says Mikhail Leontyev, graduate student of the School No. 3.

All educational communications of students of the school No.4 "Radio Electronics, Infocommunications and
Information Security" are also conducted exclusively in the system. The students have two main training options: video lectures, which can be viewed at a convenient time, and online classes, which you need to connect to in accordance with the curriculum. In the video lecture mode, each record has practical assignments in a separate file and guidelines for their implementation at home. Working independently, students can always seek the advice of a teacher. In online classes, students can ask their teacher a live question, show independent work, view and download literature or a presentation. If you had to skip an online lecture, you can watch it later, which is very convenient.

“There is no feeling that we are studying in a reduced mode, just the work has become more independent, it requires self-discipline and self-control,” says Ekaterina Gereeva, a fifth-year student of School No. 4.

According to the fourth-year student of the School No. 12 “Aerospace High-Tech Technologies and Production” Alexander Korolev, at the stage of writing thesis works, the students have very few lectures, but they are all available in a test format. After viewing, the MAI students need to fill out the tests that teachers check. At the same time, the main work of the guys is focused on individual cooperation with a scientific supervisor, who always remains in touch.
PR Department

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