Innovative Methods of Teaching

We always endeavour to fine-tune the educational process at the University through implementation of innovative teaching methods, bringing a wide array of innovative approaches into the academic process.

The democratization of the educational process comes first among these methods, which is aimed at encouraging students to have a greater say in what concerns their studies, the contents of those studies, as well as to empower students to become leaders within their chosen field. It is achieved by conducting sociological and psychological survey projects in order to elicit objective students’ needs, their attitudes towards teaching methods used and study goals pursued, their motivation levels. The findings of the surveys are applied in the teaching process for the sake of making it adapted to objective students’ needs.

Autonomous learning is another approach (closely connected with and issuing from the first one) which is actively implemented in the academic process. It implies gradual switch from traditional teacher-centered studies to a self-learning process, when students are placed in such conditions where they are to employ their critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication skills in addition to the problem-solving skills that will make them experts on a subject studied.

The implementation of the students’ autonomy requires, in its turn, a fundamental shift of the instructor’s role from that of a teacher who delivers knowledge to the students and controls their performance to that of a facilitator, whose aim is to inspire students’ creativity and independence, enhancing their motivation to acquire and master academic skills. It is the third key approach to the enhancement of studies at the University.

All stated above can only be implemented through the introduction of the fourth individual approach to the academic process. Democratization, students’ autonomy together with an instructor as a facilitator can only work effectively as long as student’s individuality, his/her individual cognitive and perceptive abilities and interests are considered.

The fifth back-up method that supports the first four ones mentioned above is cooperative learning directed towards focusing on students’ team work while doing their project assignments.

Cooperative learning, as well as the necessity to develop students’ creative skills and academic potential, result in the necessity of introducing the task-based approach to learning, which requires using learning situations and tasks that do not make students merely reproduce the knowledge acquired, but also stimulate their creativity in order to find new original answers to unconventional tasks.

All the above mentioned innovative teaching methods stipulate the necessity of one more approach – the intensification of the academic process and enhancement of students’ motivation. This is achieved by using various forms of curricular and extra-curricular activities, including interactive lectures, presentations, individual assignments, independent and self-learning activities during practical classes and seminars, role plays and simulations, case-studies, individual and team projects, holding master-classes and workshops conducted by representatives of business, the use of multimedia facilities, e-lectures and other visual supports, as well as the use of the Internet for academic purposes both by the students and the faculty, etc.

It is worth saying that all these methods cannot work successfully without the broad use of information/computer technologies in the academic process. The University does a lot in this area and has approached the level of the best European universities in the aspect of introducing information/computer technologies into the academic process.

Finally, the last approach relates to the improvement of the assessment system (including test assessment).

All the approaches mentioned help the University conduct the academic process according to the European standards and requirements, as well as to successfully implement the principles of Bologna Declaration.