Archive for November 18, 2010

Academic Classes during Soviet times up to Today’s

I only know about the titles of these classes because of the apps and transcripts I have looked at.  (see earlier blogs to see what I’ve been up to.) As I’ve done this for the past five or six years, there’s getting to be fewer and fewer older applicants who studied during the late 1980s and early 1990s but here is a sampling of what showed up in some applications:

History of the Communist Party of the USSR

Theory and History of Religion and Atheism

Traditions and Culture of English Speaking Countries

I would have loved to have seen what the Kazakh students had learned in 1989-1990 with “Economic Theory.” What I’m gathering from all the apps I have looked over is that there was a LOT of theory going on but little application.  In economics where everything was under a “planned economy” what was there even remotely close to theories from “market economy?”  I only know this from my husband who is an economist minted from University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Anyway, things changed after the collapse of the Soviet Union and by the mid-1990s students were taking classes like “Life History of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi.”  I can’t get much info about his life or poetry from a simple google search because it all ends up going to Wikipedia.  What I do gather is that Yasawi lived around the Middle Ages and was a mystic Sufi poet and helped form the Turkish expressions. There’s a mausoleum in his honor in Turkestan, one of the oldest cities in Kazakhstan.  I need to read up more about this mystic but it shows what has changed since communist times.

These days, looking at the three different syllabi that I am using with my Professional Development students, we are doing surveys online with What fun to see my earnest students in the computer lab today working so hard uploading their 10 questions and then sending to their classmates and work colleagues.  The results formed in pie charts or column graphs will be interesting for their final project. I am excited to see what patterns will show up that will correlate with the journal articles they are finding. Today I also had my students work on the Thesis Statement Builder to create a 500 word discursive essay.  Finally, they had to do a forum sort of discussion with their classmates in Moodle.  If they had any time left they were to upload their thoughts and reflections on their blog.  I think they didn’t have much time, the two and half hours flew and so the due dates are next Monday. Whew!

We’ve come a long way from what was in the standard state sanctioned curriculum from Moscow, Russia to what we are trying to accomplish in Astana, Kazakhstan in the Information Age that is also all about social networking.  Facebook everyone? I wonder what university students will be doing 20 years from now?  They will probably look back at what we are studying as antiquated and out of touch with reality.  Fine, in the meantime, we are having fun learning what we can to try to stay updated with the rest of the IT world.

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