Speech culture in the digital age: a model of integrating an open online course into the educational space


The development of the digital environment of the university is an important condition for implementing online learning which is in demand today. The transition to online education during the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the problem of accessibility of electronic educational resources and optimization of modern learning technologies. The purpose of the study was the scientific and methodological substantiation of using the authors’ mass open online course “Culture of Professional Speech” as a type of online learning and distance support in the communicative training of students of the Faculty of Philology. To achieve this goal, the authors reveal the specifics of the educational process of bachelor philologist at National Research Ogarev Mordovia State University, studying from 2019 to 2021, using massive open online course as an accessible educational resource. Theoretical (analysis of scientific literature) and empirical (observation of the process of using an online course as an electronic resource that can create conditions for implementing the flipped classroom technology, blended learning, questioning, analysis of the data obtained) methods were used. The theoretical significance of the research is to substantiate the possibility of massive open online course on professional speech culture to optimize the linguistic and communicative training of philology students. The practical significance of this work consists in developing an accessible electronic educational resource capable of providing practice-oriented communicative training of students. The ways of implementing this course with the technology of blended learning have been developed. The main results of the study showed the advantages and disadvantages of massive open online courses as a multimedia resource of flipped class technology, blended learning as well as further prospects for its improvement.

Full Text


Digital pedagogy as an integral part of modern education developing towards internationalization implies the use of digital technologies, Internet resources to create an open and accessible educational environment capable of providing a variety of forms of distance learning.

National Research Ogarev Mordovia State University along with other universities within the framework of the project 2016–2021 “Modern Digital Learning Environment in the Russian Federation” was actively involved in the process of digitalization of educational services. The electronic information and educational environment of the university, including massive open online courses, creates conditions for students, regardless of their location, to exercise the right to an open, accessible education, providing a flexible approach to the process of forming professionally relevant competencies of future specialists. However, the coronavirus pandemic, which has accelerated the development of distance learning technologies, has aggravated contradictions between the tasks and resource opportunities of educational systems, and competences of the subjects of the educational process, who use these opportunities.

The relevance of the research is determined by the increased need of the modern education system in the methodological understanding of the existing practice of creating and using a variety of online resources and forms of distance learning.

Distance education technologies, features of interaction in a distance format began to be studied and described since their introduction into the educational process1 (Higgins, Johns, 1984; Shchennikov, 2002; Rozina, 2006; De Vary, 2008; Clark, Mayer, 2011; Dhirendra, 2015; Noskova et al., 2018, etc.). Due to the high demand, open online courses and issues related to their modeling, classification, and integration into the learning process have been actively discussed in the last decade (Sandin, 2013; Badarch et al., 2014; Evans, Myrick, 2015; Grechushkina, 2018; Lebedeva, 2015; Mikheeva, 2016; Troncarelli, Villarini, 2017, etc.). As the analysis of works in the field of computer-based linguodidactics shows, open online courses aimed at language training, learning Russian in different aspects, have additional resources for forming communicative competence of the student, especially in distance learning conditions (Azimov, 2014; Baranova et al., 2020; Berardi, 2021; Zyabkina, Lyasovich, 2021; Moroz et al., 2019, etc.). However, up to now, the issues related to specific methodologies for real-world application in teaching different aspects of language at open online courses and embedding them in the learning process remain relevant.

Since everything related to online learning is that “pedagogical phenomenon where theory does not keep up with practice” (Grechushkina, 2018: 132), it is very important for a modern Russian teacher to study didactic possibilities and effective algorithms of modeling different types of online courses and to appropriately use the potential of learning resources of electronic environment to develop communicative and speech skills of a student.

The article describes the experience of applying the mass open online course “Culture of Professional Speech” in the process of forming communication competence of students at the Faculty of Philology within the framework of the disciplines “Speech Culture” and “Theory and Practice of Speech Culture” which are specified by the Federal State Educational Standard of the third  generation.

The aim of the study was a scientific and methodological substantiation of the practice of the author's mass open online course “Culture of Professional Speech” as a type of online learning and distance support in the communicative and speech training of students of the Faculty of Philology.

Methods and materials

The material for the study was a massive open online course “Culture of Professional Speech” created by O.V. Filippova and M.V. Shmanova, professors of the Russian as a Foreign Language Department at National Research Ogarev Mordovia State University. The course is available on the Ogarev-University Unified Regional Educational Online Platform of Higher Educational Institutions in the Republic of Mordovia, as well as on the Education in Russian Portal of the Pushkin State Institute of Russian Language. Information about the course is presented in the “one window” registry of the state information system “Modern Digital Educational Environment.”

The course content reflects the normative-stylistic and communicative-genre aspects of the Russian language and is divided into modules: “Vocabulary of the Russian Language and its Use in Professional Speech (Lexical Errors),” “Grammatical Norms of the Russian Language,” “Scientific Style,” “Conversational Style. The Role of Colloquial Elements in a Conversation Between a Doctor and a Patient,” “Journalistic Style,” “Official Business Style.” The content was selected according to the program requirements of such disciplines as “Russian Language and Speech Culture,” “Culture of Business Communication,” aimed at forming communicative competence of a future specialist. Each module contains a block of video lectures (5–6 video lectures with 6–11 minutes duration plus texts of lectures) and knowledge control block, including recommended literature, practical tasks, test for the module, the course ends with final testing.

The mass open online course was used in the educational process in National Research Ogarev Mordovia State University for three years – from 2018 to 2021. Thus, in 2018, 251 students took the course, which ended in a final test with online proctoring. The test results were counted in the final grades for the disciplines “Culture of Business Communication” and “Russian Language and Speech Culture” for non-philological specialties.

In 2019, the course was used in teaching 2nd year foreign language students (23 people) within the “Culture of Speech” discipline as a distance learning support for the classroom course and a tool for implementing the flipped classroom model.

It was used as an asynchronous online course combined with synchronous online instruction in 2021 (during the transition to distance learning due to the coronavirus pandemic). Third-year students of the Faculty of Philology (25 people) within the discipline “Theory and Practice of Speech Culture” and first-year students of the Faculty of Foreign Languages within the discipline “Russian Language and Speech Culture” (76 people) used the course to study theory and prepare for practical classes.

To achieve the goal, we used theoretical methods – analysis of scientific literature, empirical methods – observation of the process of using the open online course as an electronic resource capable of creating conditions for the technology flipped classroom, blended learning, questioning of students, analysis of the obtained data.

The questionnaire included the following questions:

  1. Did you have difficulty connecting to the online course? (Yes, no, sometimes.)
  2. What caused the difficulties?
  3. Did you connect with a mobile device or in a computer class?
  4. What support did the online course “Culture of Professional Speech” give you in mastering the program?
  5. Which modules were memorable and why?
  6. Can the online course fully replace classroom lessons?

In the survey took place 48 students of the Faculty of Philology. They were trained using this electronic resource, including 25 native Russian speakers and 23 foreigners.


The results of the survey showed that in general students positively assess the practice of using the open online course and the opportunities that this electronic resource provided them.

To the question of whether there were difficulties in connecting to the resource, 100% of the native speakers answered negatively, 58% of the surveyed international students answered that sometimes difficulties arose due to the quality of the Internet connection.

The results of the analysis of students' answers to the second question of the questionnaire are presented in Figure 1.

Analysis of the answers to the question about the support provided by the open online course in studying the discipline indicated the range of benefits seen by students who completed the training with its help. The possibility of quick access to learning materials noted 71% of the students, 63% positively evaluated the equipment of the course with multimedia materials, 58% noted the possibility to get new relevant information; 44% – the possibility not only to get information, but also perform practical tasks, check the knowledge with the help of tests,  43% positively evaluated the possibility of individual work schedule, 18% noted the possibility to choose the format of the information (video lectures or texts of lectures). The data obtained are presented in Figure 2.

The question about which modules were memorable and why, we included in the questionnaire not for the purpose of ranking the modules by quality, but to make sure of the retained knowledge, because the course ended more than eight months before. In most questionnaires, when several modules were indicated, one reason was given, for example, “these modules contained not only vivid and memorable illustrations, but were also important for future professional activities,” “helped to understand how to correctly construct speech in a given situation, what mistakes can be made and how to avoid them.”


Figure 1. Ways to connect an online course

Figure 2. Online course support in mastering the discipline

According to the analysis, 50% of the native speakers and 55% of the foreign students noted the module “Conversational Style. The Role of Colloquial Elements in a Conversation Between a Doctor and a Patient,” the reasons given were “entertaining presentation,” “novelty of the material,” “understandable text,” “because the material is relevant,” etc. The module “Publicist Style” was mentioned by 43% of native speakers and 55% of foreign students as “informative,” “interesting,” “with videos as examples.”

The module “Vocabulary of the Russian Language and its Use in Professional Speech (Lexical Errors)” was noted by the same number of students in each group (39% of foreign students and 38% of native speakers), because “lexical errors are the most common.”

The module “Grammatical Norms of the Russian Language” was noted by 31% of native speakers and 55% of foreign students because “the material presented is the most interesting” and “the topic plays a significant role in practice.”

The modules “Scientific Style” and “Official Business Style” were noted by approximately a quarter of the students in each group. The data of the analysis are presented in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Distribution of students' choice of memorable online modules

When asked if this online course could completely replace classroom lessons, more than half (56% of native speakers and 83% of international students) responded negatively, because “there would be no live communication with the teacher and other students,” “there would be no opportunity to ask questions and get answers immediately,” “there would be nobody to remind to take the tests,” “there would be little practice.”

According to the results of the final test, the average score in the group of Russian-speaking students was 85 points, and in the group of international students – 67 points.

The results of the research of the effectiveness of using a mass open online course on professional speech culture at National Research Ogarev Mordovia State University demonstrate its learning capabilities as a distance learning support process, as a tool of blended learning technology. Integrating the open online course into the educational process promotes quick access to the educational material for theoretical training, increases interest, develops self-control skills, and creates conditions for mastering program material in a distance format.

At present, the use of the open online course continues, as does the search for new approaches to designing online courses of this type and integrating them into the educational process.


The course towards internationalization and the related process of globalization of higher education that is characteristic of most developed countries inevitably brings the indicators for measuring the effectiveness of educational systems under a common denominator. According to D. Knight, the goals, function and delivery of educational services acquire an international, intercultural and global dimension (Knight, 2003: 2).

Today, the criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of the educational system of the university, along with the presence of foreign students studying on a fee basis, participation of teachers and students in the international process of knowledge exchange, also include the presence of a developed electronic information and educational environment. Educational content in the form of electronic educational resources, electronic educational complexes, “provision of courses in the form of massive open online courses, which allow a very large number of students to learn anytime and anywhere for free” (Troncarelli, Villarini, 2017: 10), teachers' mastering of ICT technologies becomes an important indicator of including the university in internationalization as a trend of the modern open educational process.

Higher education institutions of the Russian Federation are also interested in taking their rightful place in the open educational process, it is no coincidence that the project “Modern Digital Educational Environment in the Russian Federation” was included among the priority projects of the country for 2016–2021, which aimed to implement the concept of continuous education and increase accessibility of education “through the development of the Russian digital educational space.”2

Online-learning as learning in digital environment is actively integrated into modern educational system, in some cases replacing face-to-face teacher-student interaction, in some cases – supplementing it and creating a variety of mixed formats. Being multimedia, flexible, it undoubtedly creates new opportunities for achieving educational goals, at the same time it contains certain difficulties, which require additional competences from the teacher and the student. Thus, according to research data, Russian teachers, in comparison with European teachers, develop and use a variety of digital content less, which is explained by a lack of awareness of “the need to provide students with a variety of educational opportunities in the electronic environment” (Noskova et al., 2018: 33). The complete replacement of real communication with virtual communication is also undesirable, because without real communication it is impossible to “transfer personal knowledge, emotional experience, experienced meanings” (Pen, Ruliene, 2020: 164). Thus, digital learning competencies and the ability to integrate a variety of learning interaction formats become an important component of the modern teacher's professiogram. These competencies are especially important for a Russian teacher because it is important for him/her to be able to apply the learning tools in order to organize productive speech interaction and to develop the linguistic personality of the learner.

Analysis of the literature shows that the concepts of “online learning”/ “e-learning” and “distance learning” are often equated, and there are reasons for this. Online learning and distance learning are brought together by the information and communication component of this process. The Federal Law “On Education in the Russian Federation” provides a definition of distance learning technologies (DLT) and e-learning, while distance learning is not defined. With a general information and communication component, the definition of DLT emphasizes the mediated (at a distance) nature of the interaction between students and teachers.3

According to the definitions of scientists4 (Azimov, 2014, etc.), who rightly insist on the distinction between the concepts of “distance learning technologies” and “distance learning,” the latter is a form of learning with all the inherent components of the learning process, that is, goals, content, organizational forms, etc., not just technology. The basis of learning is the interaction between teacher and student and/or students with each other, which is realized by “specific means of information and communication and Internet technologies” (Azimov, 2014: 65), the elements of which are “computer-equipped with software and telecommunication means with information placed on them” (Belova, Rubleva, 2017: 29–30), “or other interactive technologies.”5

Sharing the position of scientists regarding distance learning, we consider online learning (e-learning: online education, computer assisted learning, etc.) as a type of e-learning and (broader) distance learning, a purposeful pedagogical process carried out with the help of information and communication technologies. Online-learning allows to implement distance learning through the network, creating unique opportunities for the teacher in modeling learning content and organizing training and control, for the student in access to learning content, forms of working with it in terms of developing universal and professional competencies, self-monitoring forms, etc.

Online course and online learning should also be characterized as related concepts. But an online course can also be described as an electronic resource on the university online platform, allowing to implement online learning, distance learning, and as the process of application of the electronic resource itself.  In the latter case, an online course should be understood as an educational process, a functioning pedagogical system based on the principles of structured learning material, interactivity, flexibility, accessibility, etc.

Analysis of the literature devoted to the problems of online courses development and application (Badarch et al., 2014; Evans, Myrick, 2015; Grechushkina, 2018; Lebedeva, 2015; Mikheeva, 2016; Sandin, 2013; Troncarelli,  Villarini, 2017, etc.) indicates an increased interest in classifying the existing variety of online courses, distinguishing online courses and mass open online courses (MOOC). At the same time, scientists draw attention to the need for further research not only in the field of typology of mass open online courses, but also models of integrating these courses in the educational process, their effectiveness in solving specific learning tasks.

Sharing our colleagues' interest in these problems, we note that in our understanding the MOOC acts as a kind of online course with interactive participation and open access, which makes it an effective form of implementing distance learning technologies. As for the question of its application in specific pedagogical conditions, in this case it is promising and meaningful to observe a variety of models of integrating an online course of this type. Despite the fact that a huge number of universities and teachers are involved in the process of modeling online courses of different types and MOOC are actively implemented in the educational process, the debate about their use only intensifies. Researchers are increasingly expressing the need for further development of blended learning technologies, flipped learning, where the electronic resource can play an important role (Artyukhina et al., 2016; Bergmann, Sams, 2013; Veledinskaya, Dorofeeva, 2014; Vasileva et al., 2019; Kalachinskaya, 2017, etc.). In our opinion, the potential of this resource in the organization of blended learning still awaits further study. Let us agree with the statement of a number of scholars who consider blended learning as a radical type of innovation in education, because the achievement of results “requires a balanced, thoughtful and creative approach to the construction of the content and structure of learning” (Vasileva et al., 2019: 24).

The authors began developing the described mass open online course “Culture of Professional Speech” in 2015, based on the experience of teaching Russian language and speech culture, culture of business communication to students of different specialties, including foreign students, mostly medical students.  As it turned out, students often have difficulties in perceiving classroom flowing lectures, would like to be able to access the materials repeatedly in order to work individually, need audio-visual illustrative examples. All this was taken into account when modeling a mass open online course, which is an online course by the type of work – asynchronous, by the type of construction – transforming, by the type of cognitive activity – informational.

Video lectures were modeled according to the principles of multimedia presentation of educational content formulated in the cognitive theory of multimedia learning by the American educator and psychologist Richard Mayer (Clark, Mayer, 2011) and also to the requirements to the teacher's speech behavior in a video lecture format which all together correlate with the characteristics of edutainment technology actively discussed in modern didactics.

Edutainment (from education + entertainment) is understood as a technology combining learning with entertainment, which is designed to form an initial interest in the subject matter on the basis of an enduring interest in the learning process itself, since this process is associated with pleasure. Since the problem of motivation in asynchronous learning remains one of the acute problems, the technology of edutainment as a means of maintaining motivation has advantages and needs to be further developed in relation to online learning.

The ways of implementing the technology of edutainment are relaxed learning environment, digitalization of the content, game techniques. The possibility of viewing a video lecture at any time and in any place provides a relaxed environment. Thanks to multimedia in a video lecture, it avoids overloading one channel of information and ensures the effective perception through an optimal combination of audio, visual and textual information. According to E.Yu. Karmalova and A.A. Khankeeva, who studied the preferences of the target audience in the aspect of edutainment, the combination of visual, textual and auditory information as a way to obtain information is preferred by over 81% of respondents, public informal lectures by 41% of respondents (Karmalova, Khankeeva, 2016). The teacher's mastery of rhetorical skills (artistry, dialogue techniques, individual style, etc.) corresponds to game techniques as a way to embody edutainment.

Thus, video lecture designed with the above requirements embodies the best in edutainment which is, as S. De Vary figuratively put it, “an effective balance” between information, multimedia products, psychological techniques and modern technology (De Vary, 2008: 36).

Video lectures of the described open online course include not only presentation of material in tables and diagrams, but also authentic audiovisual content illustrating the language and composition features of speech genres, ethical and communicative norms of speech behavior, etc. The video library consists not only of film fragments, but also of video recordings of speech events covered in the university media space, such as a video clip of a meeting between representatives of student construction brigade and the rector, samples of video advertising, a solemn speech at the graduation assembly, etc. To illustrate, we present screenshots of visual and audio-visual materials of the developed online course (Figures 4–9).

Figure 4. Table illustration of the language tools used to create the text of an advertisement, module “Journalistic Style”

Figure 5. Scheme of the abstract as a secondary text of the scientific style, module “Scientific Style”

Figure 6. Example of designing a video with a teacher

Students had the opportunity to connect to the course through personal accounts, independently study the material recommended by the instructor, watch video lectures in a convenient mode, and check the degree of material mastering with the help of tests. On the basis of test data, the teacher could get information about the progress of the student. This allowed to pay more attention to classroom practice, besides, we could use the video content at the practical training if necessary.

One of the problems connected with the dramatic transition to online learning in 2020, which all teachers encountered, was the problem of the quantity of assignments for independent work. Many university students often complained about the great volume of assignments. The students that we taught using the resources of the described online course and the technology of the flipped classroom did not complain about the overload.

Figure 7. Video about the meeting of student construction brigade with the rector (media library of National Research Ogarev Mordovia State University), module “Journalistic Style”


Figure 8. Demonstration of a video from the movie “Zemsky Doctor” (directed by M. Malich),  module “ Conversational Style. The Role of Colloquial Elements in a Conversation Between a Doctor and a Patient”

As we know, the technology of flipped classroom is an educational model where the teacher provides students with theoretical material for independent study at home, and at the full-time class (including synchronous online lesson), when students are already prepared, is practical consolidation of material and the further formation of subject skills. Video lectures in online course served as a form of providing theoretical material for home study. Watching video lectures in the individual mode, students received new theoretical information on the sections of the discipline on their own. Since the time of video lectures was strictly dosed and the format of perception was optimized taking into account the combination of visual, textual and auditory information, it allowed reducing and ordering the study load for independent work.

Figure 9. Page of the unit “Knowledge control,” module “Journalistic Style”

Thus, the course helped organize students' independent work and provide them with unified content, which greatly facilitated the organization of practice in a synchronous online mode. The average score received by students of the Faculty of Philology, studying during the pandemic, as a result of final testing was 22.5 (out of 30). The average score on current and final tests was 85. The average score of students of the Faculty of Foreign Languages as a result of final testing was 24.3 (out of 30). The average score according to the results of the current and final control was 77.


In modern conditions, distance education as a product of information and communication technologies has become a reality. The number of students receiving education remotely, online, in the format of blended learning, is only increasing. In such a situation, it is important for the teacher to ensure that students have access to a quality digital educational resource. Having accessibility, multimedia attractiveness, open online course promotes quick access to educational content, increase of interest, development of self-control skills, creates opportunities for different learning formats and individual trajectories of mastering the content of the studied disciplines. However, the final result of its use in the educational process depends on the activity of the teacher, his ability to dose and vary the student's learning activity, manage it, use the potential of electronic resources to achieve the subject goals of education. This is especially important when teaching disciplines aimed at improving speech culture, since the share of speech activity in them, unlike theoretical courses, should be much higher, which requires when planning students' learning activities the optimal combination of all types of speech activity. Thus, the potential of open online courses in the development of professionally relevant communicative competence of students requires further research in accordance with the methodological approaches to language and speech teaching and taking into account the opportunities provided by information and communication technologies for the development of communicative and speech skills.

The prospects of the research consist in further search for effective formats of presenting both teaching and controlling multimedia educational content, developing optimal models of integrating open online courses into educational communicative-oriented practice, determining a reasonable balance between reproductive and productive types of speech activity, asynchronous and synchronous types of educational communication, which form the basis for various forms of blended learning.


1 Polat, E.S., Bukharkina, M.Yu., & Moiseeva, M.V. (2004). Theory and practice of distance learning: Textbook for students of higher pedagogical institutions. Moscow: Akademiya Publ. (In Russ.)

2 Passport of the Priority Project “Modern Digital Educational Environment in the Russian Federation” (approved by the Presidium of the Presidential Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects, Protocol of October 25, 2016, No. 9). Available November 1, 2021, from http://www.consultant.ru/document/cons_doc_LAW_216432/

3 On Education in the Russian Federation: Federal Law of December 29, 2012, No. 273-FZ. Available September 11, 2021, from http://base.garant.ru/70291362/#friends#ixzz3qq5FE2Mj

4 Polat, E.S., Bukharkina, M.Yu., & Moiseeva, M.V. (2004). Theory and practice of distance learning: Textbook for students of higher pedagogical institutions. Moscow: Akademiya Publ. (In Russ.)

5 Ibid., p. 15.


About the authors

Olga V. Filippova

National Research Ogarev Mordovia State University

Author for correspondence.
Email: filippovaov@mail.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9829-4451

Doctor of Pedagogy, Head of the Russian as a Foreign Language Department

68 Bolshevistskaya St, Saransk, 430005, Russia

Olga L. Ariskina

National Research Ogarev Mordovia State University

Email: ariskina@list.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5716-8881

Doctor of Philology, Professor of the Russian as a Foreign Language Department

68 Bolshevistskaya St, Saransk, 430005, Russia


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Supplementary files

Supplementary Files
1. Figure 1. Ways to connect an online course

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2. Figure 2. Online course support in mastering the discipline

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3. Figure 3. Distribution of students' choice of memorable online modules

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4. Figure 4. Table illustration of the language tools used to create the text of an advertisement, module “Journalistic Style”

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5. Figure 5. Scheme of the abstract as a secondary text of the scientific style, module “Scientific Style”

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6. Figure 6. Example of designing a video with a teacher

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7. Figure 7. Video about the meeting of student construction brigade with the rector (media library of National Research Ogarev Mordovia State University), module “Journalistic Style”

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8. Figure 8. Demonstration of a video from the movie “Zemsky Doctor” (directed by M. Malich), module “ Conversational Style. The Role of Colloquial Elements in a Conversation Between a Doctor and a Patient”

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9. Figure 9. Page of the unit “Knowledge control,” module “Journalistic Style”

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