The need for a transformation of educational activity of the StrAU - Strategic Academic Units is based, primarily, on the new requirements of employers, connected with technological challenges, digitization, increasing amounts of information, and the need for its systematic analysis. The knowledge economy demands transfessional competencies, a research mindset, and innovative skills. Employers search for graduates who possess good leadership and teamwork skills and are able to conduct quality project work. These demands determine a list of educational technologies such as problem-based learning (PBL), project and teamwork as needed by modern employers, and e-learning (Moodle, MOOCs, distance modules) that are required to be implemented at the University 3.0.
Due to the rapid dynamics of the modern market, employers quickly formulate demands for educational results. That is why an individual educational pathway must be constantly modified. (In the fourth forthcoming Industrial Revolution, professions change faster than educational standards). For an adequate response, what is required is a modular structure of educational programmes and their interdisciplinarity and an expansion of the educational environment (including distance learning, further vocational education, campus courses, and in some cases intermediate vocational education to form “world skills”). Such additional abilities can, for example, allow a student to acquire competencies in a sphere of expert activity, informational accompaniment to the processes, communication with consumers, and consulting. A high level of acquiring basic knowledge is assumed and required for the major branches of training.
Only those universities that ensure high-quality education can be competitive on the educational services market, which is currently becoming the most prospective one. It necessitates constant independent evaluation of educational results, primarily in attractiveness to employers. In addition, such evaluation allows students themselves to evaluate their abilities objectively and correct their educational pathway. Internationalization and the digital openness of the educational process also allow us to evaluate the necessity of educational programmes and graduates in the international educational space.
Thus, to achieve the planned educational results, an adequate application of existing educational technologies and designing new ones are not sufficient. A transformation of the model of a university’s educational activity is required. That is why a full reengineering of educational processes connected with the StrAU is planned. The requirements for the StrAU graduate can be compared with requirements of elite education. Relevant educational results are to be achieved in Master’s or postgraduate programmes. At the same time, a classical university also helps to form an educational and cultural space in the region (the third role of a university), which corresponds to mass education and can be realized in Bachelor’s programmes. And, search for and development of talents that are required for effective work in the Master’s and postgraduate programmes are realized in Bachelor’s programmes. This poses one more challenge that faces the University – elite education vs. mass education.
General requirements of a new model of the educational process connected with the StrAU.
- The educational process is divided into two parts: Bachelor’s programmes and Master’s and PhD programmes. It is in the StrAU that Master’s and PhD programmes are realized, but Bachelor’s programmes are not involved in the StrAU.
- The educational process in Master’s programmes is based on educational programmes and not on the faculty-department principle.
- In each of these parts, an expanded educational environment is organized on the principle of a “supermarket”, involving distance education, further vocational education, campus courses, and widely used e-learning. This ensures an ability to choose and to make an operative correction of an individual educational path, which allows the University to organize effective work on talent development. Apart from that, distance education and further vocational education allow the University to attract additional finances from the people and organizations served.
- A student is provided the opportunity to participate in a research and/or innovative-entrepreneurial track throughout the educational process.