I. Ainoutdinova1, A. Blagoveshchenskaya1, A. Nurutdinova2, E. Dmitrieva3

1Kazan Federal University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
2International Academic Centre for Language and Development (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
3Kazan State Power Engineering University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
Today, there is a debate in the Russian academic community about how technology can be used to add value to higher education. Diverse opinions provide a firm insight into the social nature of technology, while crowdsourcing and networking (C&N) are seen as the major ICT-based tools for preparing students for future life and professional activities. The terms “crowdsourcing” and “networking” are already widely spread in the West, but they are still not well known to teachers and students in Russia and therefore lack proper recognition and use. The concepts are closely interconnected and relate to "mobilizing people's resources through information technology in order to establish interaction to solve problems facing business, state and society as a whole." The development of access to the Internet and telecommunications allows universities to expand the forms, methods and technologies for teaching students, including the integration of crowdsourcing and networking in their curricula to improve and adapt the educational process to the needs and tasks of the 21st century.

The aim of this work is to analyze the best C&N-related practices, strategies and models, and identify their applicability to Russian universities. We studied these technologies in terms of their impact on the educational process and learning outcomes. We found out how crowdsourcing and networking can renew the teaching and learning paradigm and improve the quality of university education. We also examined whether C&N can effectively enrich the university curriculum with real-life and experiential training tools and resources and support various learning needs and styles of Russian students. In addition, we assessed the potential of C&N to change the learning environment at university, which allowed teachers and students to form open online communities, create massive open online courses (MOOCs) and virtual worlds to share ideas, links or materials that would otherwise remain undiscovered.

The methodology of this work rests on a comparative analysis of such theories as behaviorism, constructivism and connectivism. Some of the later developed ICT and web-based approaches of Western and Russian scholars, as well as technical, pedagogical and managerial issues of project-based and experiential methods were also considered. Based on the empirical approach, testing, evaluation and control of the usability, accessibility and safety of some related techniques, tools and resources were carried out. The experimental part of the study aimed to obtain and compare certain relevant data on attitudes, priorities and student learning outcomes in a traditional versus C&N-based university environment. The main result of the study is the design of a C&N-based teaching-learning model that enhances the quality of university education, helps teachers relate the subject matter content to the real world situations and motivates students to engage, interact and succeed.