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RHIZOMATIC MODEL OF ONLINE UNIVERSITY EDUCATION IN THE CONTEXT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN RUSSIA

I. Ainoutdinova 1, A. Blagoveshchenskaya 1, 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)
The need to research and develop a rhizomatic model of online university education has been driven by several factors, the most acute being the COVID-19 pandemic and its unprecedented impact on education systems around the world. In order to keep the doors of learning open there were large-scale efforts on the part of the governments, authorities, international organizations, educational institutions, etc. to utilize technology in support of remote modes of teaching and learning. In the context of the necessary lockdown restrictions, Russian universities have also undertaken all possible measures to support the smooth continuity of educational process. Various forms of distance and online teaching and learning were mobilized to replace the traditional forms of training future specialists. At the same time, the task was also to preserve the traditions of fundamental education without reducing its quality. Thus, the unexpected transition to a distance learning format forced Russian universities to change curricula and programs almost on an emergency basis and search for adaptive methods and forms by employing various digital platforms like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, etc.

Although even before COVID-19 there was already a high increase in the interest of some educators and teachers in electronic and digital forms of teaching and learning, we can assume that COVID-19, oddly enough, gave impetus to the popularization and practical use of distance and online education in Russia. For the purposes of the study, we turned to the rhizomatic approach, the reliance on which, in our opinion, can help teachers, first, to correctly organize and clearly algorithmize the educational process within the framework of the Federal State Educational Standards of Higher Education; second, to successfully combine traditional university curricula with the use of information technology; third, to admit all the diverse requirements of the modern interdisciplinary and intermedial world order and the interests of today's students who can conditionally be attributed to the “digital generation Z”.

The aim of this work is to analyze the best practices, strategies and models of rhizomatic education, and identify their applicability to Russian universities. We studied this approach in terms of its validity, usability and potential impact on the educational process as a whole and the learning outcomes in particular. We believe that the rhizomatic approach is purely innovative and timely because it rejects the somewhat outdated view of education as a centred and firmly entrenched structure. This approach allows for the variability of curricula and hybrid methods, the absence of strict conditions both for obtaining knowledge and for monitoring outcomes. In addition, this approach motivates autonomy, the ability to follow one's own educational path and disposition for knowledge and skills necessary for future profession and development. The main result of the study is the design of a rhizomatic model of online university education, which might help teachers and students to engage, interact and succeed.