How is MAI Distance Learning Developed and Modernized

27 April 2020

On March 17, Moscow Aviation Institute completely switched to the distance learning mode. Several platforms are used to build the educational process, most of the training is conducted on the LMS MAI and Microsoft Teams (MT) platforms.

The LMS MAI platform (Learning Management System) was created in 2006. The department of support and monitoring of e-learning MAI is responsible for its development, support and modernization. The system contains various useful educational content and many different interactive functions: it allows to hold online lectures, seminars and laboratory classes, keep records, tracks of visits to online classes, educational courses, receive and take assignments and tests, etc.

The new challenges associated with the now sharply increased load on the LMS MAI system have become the reason that in just a month the LMS MAI has gone through several stages of modernization. At the beginning of April, 5448 training materials were posted on the LMS MAI, 6162 at the end of the month, while filling the platform with relevant content continues.

The Head of the MAI e-Learning Support and Monitoring Department Pyotr Ukhov, told us how actively LMS MAI is used in the educational process today, about the latest changes that have occurred in the MAI distance learning system, and shared plans for the near future.

Increased Activity

“Today, 37 665 users are registered on the LMS MAI platform from among students, university staff and teachers, partners, and schoolchildren,” says Pyotr.

On the LMS MAI platform, the number of online classes is growing: lectures, seminars and laboratory works. In one lesson, an unlimited number of people can be present at the same time - at Moscow Aviation Institute this indicator currently reaches 150 people.

“In total, about 250 online classes are held on the LMS MAI per day. The maximum peak load is up to 80 online video lectures at the same time, and the number is constantly growing. Work is underway to increase this indicator to 200 or more by setting up a load balancer and adding new video servers,” says Pyotr.

Scale and Quality Monitoring

At the end of March, in order to distribute the load on the LMS MAI and ensure the quality of service, server capacities were increased, monitoring and virtualization systems were introduced. Now the LMS MAI is going through the next stage of scaling.

The LMS technical support service monitors the quality of classes, answers incoming requests from users of the platform, and initiates the collection of feedback from teachers and students.

“For example, we selectively control classes in which a lot of people are present, and where there is a large flow of interactivity. We connect to them and check the quality of the broadcast, how quickly the necessary materials are loaded. If necessary, we fix problems or give recommendations to the teacher,” says Pyotr.

Statistics Gathering and Assessment of Teaching Staff

The specialists of the MAI e-Learning Support and Monitoring Department have arranged the gathering and processing of statistics on the operation of the LMS platform.

“For the convenience of monitoring, all statistics are combined into a single system and centrally transferred to the Power BI system, configured by the management of information systems for analysis by the governance of Moscow Aviation Institute,” says Pyotr Ukhov.

In addition, the methodology for assessing the activity of the teaching staff has been improved. Now the system evaluates teaching activity not only in the mode of online classes, but also takes into account other activities on the LMS MAI platform, such as working on forums, creating files with assignments, checking them, and conducting tests.

Interactive Whiteboard with Student Lectures

In plans is to create an interactive board of all the ongoing educational events on the LMS online. So students will be able to work on their individual educational paths with a distance learning format and, in agreement with the teachers, connect to those lectures and classes that are not mandatory for their group.

“There is a demand for this,” says Pyotr. "At Moscow Aviation Institute there are a lot of lectures that would be interesting to a wide range of students. One of the latest examples is the request of Fedor Vladimirovich Vasiliev, the Head of the Department 307 “Instrument Engineering Technology”, to help organize additional access to the classes for undergraduate students of the School No. 3. An online lecture was held for graduate students as part of the Digital Production Management program in the Internet of Things course. The bachelors themselves expressed their desire to participate in the online lecture."

In addition, according to Pyotr Ukhov, in the MAI system there are many other online lectures that have a lot of positive reviews and will be interesting to most students.

Exams Online

Now the MAI e-Learning Support and Monitoring Department is working on proctoring. It is a monitoring and control system for passing exams online, which includes many functions, including webcam monitoring, sound recording through a microphone with parallel fixation of the examiner's screen.

Automatic algorithms identify the student, analyze his behavior in terms of threats of violation of the standards for examinations and report the results of the test to the proctor - the person who monitors and adjusts the operation of automation.

For the time being, proctoring at Moscow Aviation Institute will be used for pre-vocational exams in engineering classes, which will involve about 450 schoolchildren studying in three fields: Python, Arduino and SolidWorks. Examinations will be held in May. Further, it is possible to expand the use of the control system.
PR Department

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