The Use of MOOCS in Online Engineering Education
Keywords:digital educational platforms, engineering education, massive open online courses (MOOCs), online learning, professional competencies
The study demonstrates the possibilities of using massive open online courses in engineering education. In order to study the impact of digital learning formats on the acquisition of key engineering competencies by students, an educational experiment was carried out; it was performed as part of the study of the Fire Safety discipline on the basis of the online educational platform Khan Academy. Conceptually, the educational process was aimed at studying the capabilities of software in the field of fire safety, namely: PyroSim, Pathfinder, FireRisk, FIM, FireCategories, PromRisk, FireDistance, as well as gaining professional competencies in the process of performing practical tasks. The educational experiment involved third-year intramural and extramural students of the Faculty of Engineering (The Saint-Petersburg University of the State Fire Service of the EMERCOM of Russia) and Moscow City Pedagogical University. The online educational course was conducted with an emphasis on consolidation and acquisition of professional engineering knowledge and skills in the development of fire safety projects under simulated risk conditions using modern software and an innovative educational platform. The participants demonstrated a high level of involvement, initiative and professional aspirations in the learning process. In the context of the educational experiment, the key competencies required for 21st century engineers have been identified. The students confirmed the positive impact of digital pedagogical tools on the acquisition and development of key competencies necessary for further professional activity. Having completed an online course on the Khan Academy platform focused on the applied interaction with advanced software in the field of fire safety, students identified skills that should be developed and consolidated, namely: teamwork skills and the ability to work in multidisciplinary teams, the ability to manage projects (management, planning, scheduling, budgeting, etc.); the ability to define, formulate and solve engineering problems; the ability to effectively prioritize; striving for lifelong learning; willingness to take a calculated risk; ability to make professional decisions; self-regulation and self-motivation. However, the development of important engineering competencies such as high ethical standards, honesty and global social, intellectual and technological responsibility; good communication skills, high emotional intelligence and cognitive flexibility; entrepreneurial spirit and customer focus requires educators to search for different pedagogical methods and practices. The assessment of the impact of digital learning formats on the acquisition of key engineering competencies was subjective, but revealed pedagogical approaches to the qualitative development of engineering personnel. An effective combination of traditional classroom and virtual interactions can create a complex paradigm of high-quality engineering and technical education that is competitive in the market environment.
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