The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Adapting University Education to a Pandemic: Flexible Programs with Branching Structure for Engineering Courses

Vitaly Lukmanov, Ufa State Aviation Technical University (Russian Federation)

Tatiana Krymskaya, Ufa State Aviation Technical University (Russian Federation)

Olga Melnichuk, Ufa State Aviation Technical University (Russian Federation)


In 2020, the world has been faced with a number of big problems caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. For reducing the losses from attacks of infection, many countries had to repeatedly introduce emergency measures, up to a complete lockdown. This situation also affected university education [1]. When any new wave of the disease was arising, it became necessary to transit the students from face-to-face education to a distant learning.
In turn, such a change in the educational process requires a revision of the ways of presenting the material within each course.
The specific feature of engineering courses is that not all types of training sessions can be equally easy transformed into a distant learning. First of all, this refers to laboratory work, in which students must deal with real instruments and devices. In some cases, work with real devices can be successfully replaced by a virtual study using mathematical modeling packages. However, there are sections of the course content for which the transition to virtual laboratory work does not allow the student to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills.
How can this contradiction be resolved?
The proposal of the authors is to change the style of the course program in advance, making it possible to operate with flexible sequence of the topics (sections). In other words, the program should have several branches with different order of sections. When lockdown occurs and the educational process switches to distance learning format, then the course supervisor can choose other branch of the program with sections that are closer in schedule, for which the laboratory work allows virtual execution. The new order of the sections requires the introduction of special transitional lectures into the content. These lectures should contain a concise set of information necessary for students to understand the upcoming sections of the course.
Thus, the course program becomes similar to the structure of a branching algorithm, where individual branches are linked by branching rules such as “IF – THEN”.
The authors have experience in implementing the university course "Electrical Engineering and Fundamentals of Electronics" with a flexible branching program. The multiple branches provided studying all the sections of the course without reducing the final level of students' knowledge.
This experience has proven to be effective and can be applied due to uncertainty caused by the incomplete predictability of pandemic attacks.

Keywords: engineering courses, pandemic conditions, flexible branching program.


  1. Rashid, S., Yadav, S.S., “Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on High Education and Research”, Indian Journal of Human Development, 2020, pp.1-4.

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