The team of Ukrainian-Swiss project "Medical education development" conducts trainings for pilot medical higher education institutions` (HEIs) representatives on e-learning. The Project`s team tests the e-learning system in several pilot medical HEIs to launch solutions, identify key barriers and successful ways in the test implementation, and better disseminate this experience to other institutions. There are different starting points in the context of e-learning in pilot HEIs, based on this, the design of cooperation is agreed with each institution separately.
E-learning in HEIs
In March 2020, six pilot HEIs of the Ukrainian-Swiss project "Medical education development" completed the online course "Introduction to e-learning".
IHEIs` representatives participated in video presentations, two webinars, an individual and two group tasks, mastered two platforms for distance learning LMS Moodle and Microsoft Teams, and took part in the development of six (one for each HEI) step-by-step programs for the e-learning platform implementation (for some HEI upgrades) in the educational process. This online course is a great example of learning by doing — mastering e-learning platforms while training on these platforms.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic and the quarantine measures introduced, as well as Russia's full-scale military invasion of Ukraine's sovereign territory, the issue of distance learning of high quality is becoming extremely important for all educational institutions.
The preparatory stage for the introduction of e-learning involves a description of the educational processes in terms of the three main customers of the e-learning system: students, teachers and administration representatives. By describing the process, we can identify key points where teachers, students and administrators share information with each other. This is necessary so that the proposed information and communication technology (ICT) solution speeds up the search, access, exchange of the necessary information, so that there is more time for learning, rather than searching.
Priority areas for automation of educational processes in HEIs:
- automation of the participants` communication in educational process (teachers, students and administrators),
- access to educational materials,
Project`s support for pilot medical HEIs
Andrei Krupynskyi Lviv Medical Academy (LMA) has begun implementing a distance learning system in November 2020. Today they already have a functional and user-friendly platform. Such experience can be useful for other higher education institutions that plan to implement e-learning in the educational process and do not know where to start.
The LMA did not have its own training platform but the only computer class with the necessary programs. Automated testing of students was usually conducted here during the exam sessions. This was not enough to create a virtual learning environment. In addition, students' involvement in learning tasks and the introduction of new tools were low.
In March 2020, LMA together with five other Project`s pilot medical HEIs, took an online course "Introduction to e-learning" by the Ukrainian-Swiss project "Medical education development". During the course, they managed to master one of the platforms for distance learning — LMS Moodle, so they clearly saw how convenient the educational process can be. After the training, a step-by-step program was developed to implement the e-learning platform in the educational process.
For reference: Today, LMA implemented all 182 courses of the current semester in the Moodle system; some of the courses are still being adapted. 100% of teachers and students are connected to the system: approximately 650 students and 150 teachers
Also, the team of the Ukrainian-Swiss project "Medical education development" offered its assistance in remote configuration of the Moodle system. We held a series of meetings, analyzed all the features of the LMA, defined the structure and functionality of the platform, which best meets the educational needs of the institution. IT-consultants of the Project Trokhym Babych and Vitalii Zaiets developed and remotely performed all the necessary work on debugging the platform: configured hosting, backup, access, removed unnecessary buttons and blocks (since Moodle is an open platform, its functionality is open by default set is not always needed), adjusted the theme and colors for the brand book of the academy, laid the necessary structure of courses.
Also, Trokhym and Vitalii, after getting acquainted with the work of the system, sent webinar notes on how to complete courses, work with tests and grades. The LMA`s educators received guidance on setting up automatic updating of Moodle to the latest version.
For the efficient operation of the Moodle system in the academy, the Internet provider has been changed, the bandwidth has been increased to 100 Mbps, the usual cable has been replaced with fiber-optic cable, and new staff units for network service have been introduced.Read the full interview with Volodymyr Fedoryk in Visnyk
The Project supports consulting and IT-support to other pilot medical HEIs with Moodle platform updates, installation and operation of various plug-ins and tools to improve interactivity in distance education.
Developing and recording of the online course on working with the Moodle learning platform for educators
The course will cover about 15 topics in distance learning, setting up and working with the Moodle platform, as well as various interactive learning tools. Participants will be able to complete the entire course or choose individual blocks to master certain tools. After completing the course, students will be able:
- to influence the motivation of students to study,
- to adapt Moodle to its educational context,
- to create their own courses and materials with the help of modern distance education tools,
- to operate the main functionality of the Moodle platform in the educational process for offline or online learning,
- to build a learning trajectory for self-education
The course includes tests, quizzes, and interactive tasks after each of the topics, and essays. Upon successful completion of the course (min. 60 points out of 100 possible), participants will receive an electronic certificate.
Introduction of a settlement system in dormitories for pilot HEIs
The main idea of the project is a software solution in accordance with current legislation, which includes both the legal provisions on living in dormitories and a system that allows to manage students` settlement and accommodation. In connection with the large-scale Russian invasion of the sovereign territory of Ukraine, the team of the Ukrainian-Swiss project "Medical education development" decided to install the system by October 1, 2022 in LMA, TNMU and BSMU.
Thanks to the software solution, representatives of the administration will be able to conveniently see the current state of living in dormitories, payment for accommodation, as well as prepare reports. Students will have a simplified procedure for settling in, continuing their stay, and moving to another room or dormitory. Everything can be done within a single site. It will be possible to break the payment into parts (if necessary and with permission) and pay through the website or through terminals and branches of PrivatBank. Dormitory managers will be able to review the state of the hostel and approve relocation requests.
According to Article 40 of the Law of Ukraine "On Higher Education", a formal representation of student government is required at the level of decision-making during the resettlement of students. Accordingly, a dormitory council should be established in HEI. Representatives of the housing department will be able to control user access to the system, strengthen and evict students, and generate Excel reports on the status of dormitories for a specified period of time.
The system will be supplied together with the current regulations on dormitories for the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, which gathers practical experience in using this system (4 dormitories for two years).
Stages of system implementation:
- Discovering the available documentation and processes of HEI, settlement of all processes and creation of the list of necessary changes in system and positions/processes of HEI in the context of settlement in dormitory together with experts from outside of HEI. it is necessary to hold up to 3 meetings during this period with an interval of one week, and to develop a solution that the HEI should agree internally.
- Researching the technical aspects of implementation (communication with the bank, management of user accounts, etc.) together with responsible HEI specialists. First of all, the IT-solution was created for users of MS Office 365 and Privatbank, so other inputs of the pilot HEIs will change the IT-solution (new bank, different user identification).
- Improving the system (on the part of the contractor) and documentation (on the part of the HEI) in accordance with the plan developed in paragraphs 1., 2. The terms are discussed separately, depending on the number of necessary revisions.
- Deploying the service for HEI (from the contractor).
- Providing instructions and training to staff on request.
- Synchronizing the data on the available housing infrastructure of HEI (buildings, rooms, user roles) from the university, jointly with the contractor and entering information about the current settlement (accommodation of users) in the system.
- Conducting an information campaign among students on the system usage.
The costs of implementing the system are covered by the Ukrainian-Swiss project "Medical education development". Further maintenance of the system takes place at the rate “user per month”, and is covered by HEI.
Implementing the software for pilot HEIs to detect plagiarism automatically
The Ukrainian-Swiss project "Medical education development" offers pilot medical HEIs to install software (a plugin for the Moodle platform from the Ukrainian company Unicheck, which now has an office in the US) to detect plagiarism in students` works. For Ukrainian HEIs, the price for use is almost the lowest in the world due to the company`s Ukrainian roots. The project team will advise and support the pilot HEIs in the implementation of this system.