We are looking forward to welcome you in Tartu at the end of August. However, for those of you who have difficulties with entry to Estonia – we are working on providing you with the opportunities to attend our courses remotely during the first months of the academic year. In the following page, you will be able to find information on how your studies might look like in the autumn semester, how to prepare for remote learning and what our institute is doing in order to prepare our courses for remote teaching.
The University of Tartu intends to start the new academic year at the usual time - this year on 31 August, 2020. Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies is ready to support international students who have difficulties with entry to Estonia at the beginning of the academic year, by providing them with the possibilities to attend our courses in a "remote" study mode in the MA English-taught programs. List of courses, which contain "remote" tracks and the ways students can attend them, is published in our Study Information System and can be found here.
NB! The latest information about COVID-19 situation and all practical matters (visas, accommodation and admissions) can be found here.
Deputy Head for Academic Affairs and Manager of Online Learning Projects are working closely with the teaching staff members of the institute and the management of study programs in order to ensure that remote teaching activities could be implemented smoothly, technical conditions of institute's facilities are feasible for remote teaching and information on Moodle (i.e., our Learning Management System (LMS)) for the courses taught in the autumn semester - meets best practices of e-learning, put forward by the University of Tartu and Estonian Information Technology Foundation for Education (HITSA).
Moreover, at the beginning of the summer, our Institute organised a successful teaching seminar, dedicated to reflect on the experience of remote teaching during the spring semester, and plan the forthcoming semester in the light of the lessons learned.
While our teaching staff is preparing for adjustments in their teaching practices in light of remote teaching, we hope that our incoming students, who will not be able to join us onside at the beginning of new academic year, will also take necessary preparatory steps to consider how the following situation might affect their study process. To assist you in your preparations and make your learning process a little bit easier to adjust, we prepared the following tips on studying remotely.
There is also a very practical e-learner’s handbook that gives you an overview of using the e-learning possibilities at the University of Tartu. The handbook is available from the following link.
All courses at the Johan Skytte Institute have a Moodle page, where you can find course study material, instructions and submission space for your assignments. You can read more information about this online learning environment here. Once you are matriculated, you are going to receive a separate information to your email with the login credentials to access our Study Information System and Moodle platform. In addition to Moodle, we are also going to be using BigBlueButton, MS Teams, Zoom and Panopto - we suggest you to have brief look at these programs before the start of the semester.
During the spring semester, our study activities managed to smoothly transition to the remote teaching: final exams have been conducted in the digitaal environment; preparatory study videos have been recorded in Panopto; collaborative learning activities and seminars were conducted through MS Teams, BigBlueButton and Zoom. Moreover, at the begging of June, 15 of our students in MA English-taught programs have successfully defended their thesis through digital medium. You can see testimonials from our staff members in regard to the changes in light of the emergency below.
Heiko Pääbo, Programme Director for Central and Eastern European, Russian and Eurasian Studies: "Online teaching opens new opportunities for teaching environment, enabling students and teachers to get to know their own digital capacities and develop them further. It is important to keep in mind that uploading a massive amount of text and asking students to answer some questions is not an online teaching. Instead, it requires a well-structured process with clearly defined guidelines, combination of real time online lectures and seminars with independent work and online group work. The spring semester experience proved that well-structured courses function well also for remote learners. In my teaching I stress this aspect to support my students.“
Anna Beitane, Online Learning Projects Manager, on how online learning has been arranged and developed in Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies.
Stefano Braghiroli, Associate Professor of European Studies and Programme Director for European Union - Russia Studies, on study specific principles in Skytte institute.
Johan Skytte Institute has a consolidated experience in conducting various innovative teaching activities even prior to the crisis: we developed various MOOCs and ecourses,which received the “Estonian E-course Quality Label” (see here and here); our teaching staff members were awarded with the good teaching grants to develop innovative practices; we collaborated with leading European universities such as Leiden and Uppsala to organize series of teaching masterclasses. More information about our e-learning portfolio, MOOCs and continuous education programs can be found here.