National online education platforms could make STEM degrees more affordable, Russia-based study shows

April 08, 2020

An online education model in Russia in which national platforms license STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) courses from top universities to institutions with instructor shortages could significantly lower instruction costs, allowing resource-constrained universities to enroll more STEM students, according to a new study. "Investments in online education programs could also strengthen instructional resilience of colleges when in-person delivery is not an option, such as right now, when most of the US colleges are closed to mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak," says Igor Chirikov, the lead researcher on the study. Chirikov and colleagues found that exam scores remained relatively unchanged based on the form of instruction, although students who took fully online classes reported being slightly less satisfied with their courses than in-person students or those who took courses in a blended format. Universities around the world (and particularly in China, India, Russia, and the U.S.) are working to improve access to STEM degrees - a challenging goal when STEM programs are costlier than programs in other fields. To test an affordable approach to this challenge, Chirikov et al. randomly assigned 325 second-year college students from three Russian universities to take Engineering Mechanics (EM) and Construction Materials Technology (CMT) courses either fully online, fully in-person, or with online lectures and in-person discussion sections. The researchers then estimated how the online and blended formats could reduce per-student instruction costs for 129 Russian universities, finding blended instruction lowers the per-student cost by 19.2% for EM and 15.4% for CMT, while fully online instruction lowers costs by 80.9% for EM and 79.1% for CMT. These savings would allow universities to teach 3.4% more EM students and 2.5% more CMT students through blended instruction or 18.2% more EM and 15% more CMT students through online instruction.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Engineering Articles from Brightsurf:

Re-engineering antibodies for COVID-19
Catholic University of America researcher uses 'in silico' analysis to fast-track passive immunity

Next frontier in bacterial engineering
A new technique overcomes a serious hurdle in the field of bacterial design and engineering.

COVID-19 and the role of tissue engineering
Tissue engineering has a unique set of tools and technologies for developing preventive strategies, diagnostics, and treatments that can play an important role during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Engineering the meniscus
Damage to the meniscus is common, but there remains an unmet need for improved restorative therapies that can overcome poor healing in the avascular regions.

Artificially engineering the intestine
Short bowel syndrome is a debilitating condition with few treatment options, and these treatments have limited efficacy.

Reverse engineering the fireworks of life
An interdisciplinary team of Princeton researchers has successfully reverse engineered the components and sequence of events that lead to microtubule branching.

New method for engineering metabolic pathways
Two approaches provide a faster way to create enzymes and analyze their reactions, leading to the design of more complex molecules.

Engineering for high-speed devices
A research team from the University of Delaware has developed cutting-edge technology for photonics devices that could enable faster communications between phones and computers.

Breakthrough in blood vessel engineering
Growing functional blood vessel networks is no easy task. Previously, other groups have made networks that span millimeters in size.

Next-gen batteries possible with new engineering approach
Dramatically longer-lasting, faster-charging and safer lithium metal batteries may be possible, according to Penn State research, recently published in Nature Energy.

Read More: Engineering News and Engineering Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to