What a year it has been with the Coronavirus surprise that challenged Ukraine and the world. National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” met this challenge as it welcomed its largest incoming class with 1179 new students (“Freshies”, as they are called in Ukraine to be gender neutral). Like other countries, Ukraine has been hit with the Coronavirus pandemic, and Kyiv-Mohyla Academy has faced the challenge with health guidelines and new teaching methods. As of March 2020, the university transitioned to online education.

The university was almost 100% ready to face the surprise. The Department of Computer Sciences under the leadership of Dean Andriy Hlybovets, and Tetiana Yaroshenko, Vice-President of Research and Information Technology, had been developing the Digital University format for several years, and they were ready for the online transition.

Two departments were established that are integrated in the university’s structure. Olha Bershadska is the director of the Center of Quality Assurance of Education, and Oleksandr Poddenezhnyj is director of the Center of Electronic Education. Both are fluent in the English language. It is a pleasure to introduce them to our readers.

Picture6Olha Bershadska, a graduate of the Kyiv National Linguistics University, with a specialty in philology, is also a graduate of the doctoral program at Kyiv Mohyla Academy in Pedagogy. Oleksandr Poddenezhnyj has a Master’s degree in Economic Information and Automated Systems of Management from the Kyiv National Economics University, an MBA from the International Business Institute in Kyiv, and an MBA from the University of New Brunswick in Canada.

As to be expected, some faculty members and students needed assistance and training and the two new departments helped them in this transition. The university earmarked more financial and human resources to meet the new needs.

All university libraries remained open observing health guidelines. All e-resources are available online available on campus and from anywhere in the world with online authorization.

In September, the university established five centers for digital access, and purchased additional computers, equipment and digital systems. The Alumni Association raised funds to purchase additional laptops for those in need. Only students in natural sciences, who need access to laboratories and experimental research, come to the campus and live in university dormitories, observing health safety requirements.

Faculty members are working harder than ever to meet students’ needs through remote instruction. The challenge is to connect and be available to students not only through computers, but also to stimulate and interest them using a new teaching method. Everyone is hopeful that next year life will return to normal and everyone will remain healthy.

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