Implementing GET READY project at Saint Petersburg State University during COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant changes in daily life in science and education sector. Luckily, science sector is, perhaps, the most prepared one for the current COVID-19 restrictions. We, GET READY team at Saint Petersburg State University, have been practicing many COVID modern day lifestyle features long before the pandemic. These are online conferencing, online teaching and learning, electronic platforms for sharing resources, and work from home, of course. Given this preparedness, transitions to COVID restricted life have been rather smooth.
Currently Saint Petersburg State University allows an individual choice to a teacher as to how they would like to conduct classes – in person or online. The challenge usually arises for lab and field work, which is impossible to conduct online. Verbal lectures and meetings have been all moved online. At the beginning, there were some technical corporate challenges associated with software. Eventually Saint Petersburg State University opted for Microsoft Teams, this platform has been integrated with most University owned databases, thus providing quick access for setting up meetings, courses, and ad-hock working streams like GET READY.
We, GET READY team, think that new way of business life has brought many opportunities, especially in regards to time management for international collaborations and simultaneous work on different streams. Ease of access has provided more productive teaching practices, where students can collaborate better with different professors on one working stream, which is usually more challenging in person because of time management. On the downside, the workload has increased significantly, since setting up online working streams requires preparation. We have observed as well that students are more active online, they want to be engaged more, and teachers are happy to commit to spending more time resources.
Overall, Saint Petersburg State University has been well prepared and is using most opportunities of online working, but recognizes that human interaction is important, and online communication can’t replace it.
This article was prepared by PhD Nikolai Bobylev.