Interuniversity Online Courses as Possible Approach to Improve Teaching During Crisis: a Ukrainian Case Study
The war launched by Russia has created new challenges for universities, including massive student migration abroad and massive displacement of students within Ukraine from the frontline areas. Many students lost access to quality education or had their studies interrupted by the war. Recognizing these problems, universities are trying to find different solutions. One such approach may be to introduce inter-university online courses that will be recognized by partner universities. In this case study, we analyze the effectiveness of inter-university online courses as an approach to restoring education for students severely affected by the war and as a way to maintain the quality of education in small groups at universities. The online course "Integrated Life Science Course" was taken for analysis, which was taught both to biology students from different universities in Ukraine within the framework of the educational project supported by German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Using statistics on course registration and attendance, as well as interview methodology, we assessed students' motivation to participate in this online course, course satisfaction, and learning outcomes, and identified shortcomings and pitfalls to avoid in similar courses. The survey and the results of the final test show that the main motivator for students to register and study at the course was the desire to gain new knowledge for further professional growth. A scholarship was also an important argument to enroll in the course; however, it did not impact the motivation of students to study. The fraction of students that successfully passed the final exam (~70%) was equal in the cohorts that had and had not been awarded scholarships. Thus, the scholarship was not a motivator to complete the course and successfully pass the exam to receive the certificate. Therefore, in order for such courses to be productive and effective, it is necessary to emphasize student motivation during selecting procedure.