Distance education in Russia: history, statistics and benefits

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Distance education in Russia: history, statistics and benefits
Distance education in Russia: history, statistics and benefits

Distance education is a teaching method based on the use of modern information and telecommunication technologies that allow learning at a distance without direct contact between the teacher and the student. The history of distance learning dates back to 1979, when television and radio communications began to be used in China to contact teachers and students. Technology has advanced far, and today it is possible to receive a full-fledged education through the Internet and a computer online.

History of distance learning

distance education Russian universities

The end of the 18th century is considered the beginning of the history of education at a distance. In Europe at this time, the term "correspondent training" appeared, introduced by Isaac Pitman, a shorthand teacher in the UK. Students communicated with teachers, received study materials and took exams,resorting to postal service.

Pitman was a man of democratic views and was of the opinion that higher education should be available to everyone, regardless of their religious preferences, nationality and financial status. His worldview was adopted by the American writer Anna Ticknor, who created a system of distance learning for women in the 70s of the 19th century. The author's correspondence study program, developed by Rainy Harper from Illinois, USA, was no less popular.

Soon, educational institutions became interested in the method of education at a distance, and already in 1892 the first faculty of distance learning was opened at the University of Chicago.

Remote education in the 20th century

Until the beginning of the 20th century, mail was the only means of communication used in distance learning. The development of technology and the advent of the telegraph, radio and telephone, and subsequently television, led to the fact that in the 50s there were educational programs that did not imply feedback.

The establishment in the UK in 1969 of the world's first open university was a resonant event, thanks to which the methodology of distance education took a huge step forward. The creators of the educational institution, progressive for its age, tried to make education accessible to all, both in terms of cost and in terms of the absence of the need to attend classes.

The era of personal computers, which began in the late 1980s, took the first step towards the automation of education: for the study of various subjects, steelgame programs are being developed. The next stage was the projects created jointly by different countries. One of them, for example, was "School email" (USSR - USA).

Figures and facts

distance higher education in Russia

In the history of distance education, the main milestones were:

  • 1906 - beginning of postal education at the University of Wisconsin, USA.
  • 1911 - courses were created on the basis of the University of Queensland in Brisbane.
  • 1914 - the emergence of correspondence education in elementary schools in New Zealand, Canada and Australia.
  • 1939 - the opening of a children's education center in France.
  • By 1960, there were 11 "open" universities in the USSR.
  • 1969 - the opening of the Open University in the UK.
  • 1979 Launch of educational television and radio programs at universities in China.

20th century home education has distinctive features, among which it is worth highlighting:

  • the opportunity to study at all available levels - from elementary to university;
  • a wide list of subjects offered for study;
  • various ways of learning - correspondence, television, open exams.

The first distance learning institutions were guided by the concepts:

  • Teaching students of different ages.
  • Self-education.
  • Students take an active part in shaping the curriculum.
  • Individual training.
  • Involving professional educators in programs.
  • Open and free access to information.
  • Innovative methods for assessing the achievements and activities of students.

Correspondence education was the main one in distance education and provided for students to travel to sessions. For a couple of weeks, students were taught a summary of the programs and provided materials for self-study. Students came to the educational institution twice a year to pass tests and exams.

Distance education in Russia

distance learning higher education Russian universities

Remote learning in Russia involves several levels:

  1. School. Secondary education in Russia can be obtained in three ways: online classes, coupled with classical lessons at school; classes with a teacher in specialized cyber classes; self-education without outside control. Such distance learning methods are available not only to schoolchildren, but also to adults who have not received a certificate of secondary education for various reasons; persons living abroad and in places of detention.
  2. Intermediate professional. The list of speci alties available for distance learning is rather limited. For the most part, it includes professions from the field of economics, accounting, management, computer and information systems, hotel business and pedagogy. Distance education in Russia implies the presence of a student at the defense of a thesiswork and state exams.
  3. The Supreme. The list of faculties with distance learning in higher education institutions is much wider, which is explained by the rich material and technical base of universities and institutes, which makes it possible to conduct laboratory work, lectures and online seminars. The student also undertakes to personally attend the state exams and the defense of the diploma.
  4. Optional. Distance courses in various areas have gained considerable popularity in recent years. Among them are vocational retraining, advanced training, deepening of knowledge and others.

Learning process

distance learning higher education state universities of russia

A distance education student in Russia must have:

  • Having access to high-speed internet.
  • Ability to work with graphic and text editors.
  • Email box.
  • Programs for communication that support video calls - for example, Skype.
  • Webcam.

To receive distance education in Russian universities, you must go through the admission procedure. If you plan to attend free courses, then just study the information and fill out an application.

Some educational resources do not even require registration, but graduates do not receive any graduation documents.

Admission to a paid distance learning course includes an interview stage. Classes can start either on time, or onthroughout the year as groups are recruited.

Some higher education institutions require students entering distance learning departments to submit a package of documents to the admission committee:

  • original and photocopy of passport;
  • documents on existing education - diploma of graduation from a technical school or college, certificate of secondary education;
  • photos;
  • questionnaire and application.

Requirements for the provided package of documents may vary depending on the specific institution of higher education. Complete and reliable information is published on the websites of universities, as well as application forms.

After accepting an applicant, a letter and a receipt for payment will be sent to his email address.

Teaching Methods

distance education systems in russia

How is the educational process built if students have chosen not full-time or part-time education (for the purpose of obtaining higher education), but distance learning? In Russia, as in many other countries of the world, various methods of providing educational material and controlling knowledge are used. We will briefly discuss the main ones below.


Submission of educational material is carried out in the form of printed texts or electronic, audio and video files. All information is studied independently. At the end of each lecture, a list of questions and tasks is published, the correct answers to which open access to the next lecture block.

Many distance education systems in Russia includevideo conferences - lectures in real time, during which teachers read material and discuss it with students.


Seminars are an integral part of distance learning at any level. The process of preparing for them includes the study of a given topic and the selection of information. Online conversations between teacher and students are more productive because the Internet connection allows you to connect with all participants at once.

Independent work

The central role in distance education in Russia is given to self-study. Students study the submitted materials, perform practical and laboratory work, pass tests and knowledge sections, find information in the course of preparing for seminars and lectures. Proper provision of the necessary information, according to the methodologists, assigns 2/3 of the load to independent work of students.

Scientific research

development of distance education in Russia

Writing an essay or term paper requires the student to search for the necessary material and its in-depth analysis. Students who receive higher education in Russia through distance learning consult with a teacher or curator via the Internet. Some remote programs include face-to-face meetings where questions can be answered and ambiguities can be clarified in the submissions.

Duration of distance learning

There is an opinion that education through the Internet can be obtained in a short time. In practicestudies can last as long as in correspondence studies: getting a second higher degree can take 1-3 years.

Externally get (through distance learning) higher education at state universities in Russia without taking vacations, which are provided to students on a stationary basis.

Knowledge control

All exams, tests, practical and laboratory work are taken online: the student answers the teacher's questions in real time during the conference via Skype or similar programs. Sometimes control tasks are sent by e-mail to students. The time allotted for them to solve and send answers is strictly limited.

Defending a diploma and passing state exams are carried out only with the personal presence of the student.

The benefits of distance learning

distance learning higher education russia

Higher education in Russian universities, received on a remote basis, has become popular not so long ago due to its merits:

  • Terms of study are set independently by the student.
  • Education is based on an individual approach that takes into account not only the life situations of the student, but also his intellectual abilities.
  • Meeting times and durations are selected based on the student's wishes.
  • Availability of all types of distance learning.
  • The opportunity to get a diploma from any university, regardless of its location.
  • Higher education in a particular speci alty can be obtained by everyone outsidedepending on social status, financial well-being and he alth status.

The advantages of distance higher education in Russia also include the possibility of studying and using Internet technologies.


Despite all the advantages, there are still disadvantages in the remote method of obtaining education:

  • The need to purchase machinery and special equipment.
  • Lack of communication with classmates and teachers, affecting the emotional component.
  • Lack of practice.
  • The impossibility of obtaining education in certain areas - for example, distance medical education is not available in Russia.
  • Restriction in speaking.
  • Problem with the completeness and literacy of lecture materials.

The emergence and development of distance education in Russia has made it possible for all people to receive secondary specialized or higher education remotely without reference to a particular region. The distance format is ideal for getting a second or additional education.

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