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"Online Master’s Program with Joint Diplomas" Project

 
 
A Green Light to Distance Education in Armenia

 

The Public Administration Academy of RA and the International Scientific Educational Center (ISEC) at the National Academy of Sciences of RA will carry out distance education in Master degree within the educational program of Business Administration (Administration). The graduates will get a joint diploma of both institutions. It is the best option for getting master education for those who want to become a specialist in Business Administration, as well as to establish and improve their own business but have no time or is unable to attend classes.

Armenia has almost no experience in conducting distance education with the exception of short-term courses organized by some educational institutions. So, this program which is jointly carried out by finance of RA Higher Education Competitiveness Foundation, the PAARA and ISEC NASRA, is an unprecedented event in our country and pretends on becoming a model for other institutions.

On September 14, two-day seminars in the Public Administration Academy of RA gave start to the program ‘Distance Master Education with joint diplomas’. The PAARA rector Arsen Lokyan welcomed the participants of the seminar and considered the program an essential event for two institutions.

“In the ever-changing world we must try to keep on with technological changes and to design the educational process with new technologies and maintain educational quality, – he said. It is a vital experimental period for us because the experience which we are going to receive within the program, will become a foundation for distance education in other institutions. It means that we are responsible before the whole system of higher education. On the other hand, it is essential from the perspective of educational policy. Moreover, it is an experience of productive cooperation between two institutions”. The PAARA rector thanked the heads of Higher Education Competitiveness Foundation, the staff, the professors and those who had worked hard, drafted educational programs or contributed to the program.

The head of ISEC NASRA Albert Sargsyan also congratulated on the start of the program and mentioned that distance education contains more risks. “Nevertheless, the intellectual potential and technological capacities of both institutions let us assume this responsibility, – he said. These unique institutions set up friendly environment for education and personal interrelations. I am sure, the successful realization of the program is greatly conditioned with the activities of the professors”.

The representative of Center for Education Projects PIU Zhanna Andreasyan congratulated on successful continuation of the program and wished further success and efficiency. She attached importance to the project not only from the perspective of both academies but also of availability of higher education.

“This program is a green light for other institutions which try to make first attempts to carry out distance education” Mrs. Andreasyan said.

Afterwards, the PAARA rector Arsen Lokyan and head of ISEC NASRA Albert Sargsyan signed an agreement on realization of distance education together.

The program was introduced by PAARA vice-rector, head of the program Tereza Khechoyan and Head of foreign affairs department of ISEC NASRA, program coordinator Arusyak Harutyunyan.

It is worth mentioning that the pre-organizational activities of the program have started without having any document on distance education in legal field. But now the concept of ‘distance education’ is included in legislative drafts that are presented to the National Assembly. During this period 26 course programs have been designed by the professors of both academies and the teaching will be conducted in Moodle platform. One of the innovations of the program is joint diploma.

“There is a formula which contradicts to the rules of mathematics where 1+1=1. It means that two entities unite and create a single joint product” Arusyak Harutyunyan summed up.

The seminar went on with presentation of courses that had been drafted by PAARA professors. The PAARA vice-rector Khachatur Bezirjyan thoroughly introduced the Standards of Quality Assurance in the Sphere of Distance Education, and consultant on legal matters at PAARA Hayane Hovhannisyan presented the Legal Basics for Realization of Distance Education.

On the second day of the seminar the participants will meet in ISEC NASRA where the professors of ISEC will present the distance courses that have been designed by them.

 

 

 

 
Participants of “Distance Education and Technologies” Received Certificates

In the frames of “Education Improvement Project” of “Center of Educational Programs” of the Ministry of Education and Science, the grant program of “Distance Education with Awarding Joint Diplomas” is implemented. Its participants are the Public Administration Academy of RA and the NAS RA Scientific Educational Center. The program is financed by the “Competitive fund of Armenian Higher Educational Innovations”. The main aim of the grant program is to conduct distance education in Master’s program of “Business Administration” with awarding joint diplomas of the Public Administration Academy of RA and the NAS RA Scientific Educational Center.

Before the beginning of teaching which will be conducted in the Public Administration Academy of RA by order of the Minister of Education and Science Levon Mkrtchyan, the professorial staff was trained by local experts. On July 31, the participants of the course “Distance Education and Technologies” presented the result of their knowledge and skills which they had gained during four month training, i.e. 13 syllabi.

Many professors have faced difficulties in drafting syllabus without having any experience in the field. Though, it is evident that the course was very productive, as all of them have overcome the problem. They have posted weekly course themes, video-material related to the subject, videos and online lectures on the online platform.

The trained professors were satisfied with PAARA vice-rector, head of the program Tereza Khechoyan, and training consultant Satenik Arakelyan for giving them such chance. 

The Rector of the Public Administration Academy of RA Arsen Lokyan presented certificates to the participants of the training. He mentioned that these professors are incompatible in our republic, as they are the first who received required skills for conducting distance education. “It is great responsibility. And we have to honourably discharge our duty. It is worth remembering that the educational sphere of the republic follows the activities that take place in implementation of distance education.”

 

 

 

Distance Education in Focus of HEI Rectors

On 12 July, 2017 the meeting of the consortium HEIs of ‘Online Master’s Education with Awarding Joint Diploma’ was held with the participation of working staff of Public Administration Academy of RA and International Scientific Educational Center of NAS RA headed by the rectors of HEIs.

The agenda of the meeting was the discussion of a number of issues in regard to ‘Business Administration’ joint online program and joint decision-making, such as the cooperation agreement for ‘Business Administration’ joint online degree program, organization of admission procedure and discussion of other current issues.

At the end of the meeting PAARA Rector Arsen Lokyan and Director of ISEC NAS RA Albert Sargsyan recorded that the implementation of a joint online degree is a serious experience of HEI collaboration and a launch of a more advanced cooperation between two HEIs.

 

 
 
 
Public Administration Academy of RA Granted Permit to Implement Distance Education in Armenia

Upon Minister of Education and Science of RA Levon Mkrtchyan, Public Administration Academy of RA has been issued a permit to implement distance education in “Business Administration” Master’s degree program for three years. In 2017-2018 academic year, Public Administration Academy of RA and International Scientific-Educational Center of National Academy of Sciences of RA are launching an online “Business Administration” Master’s degree program awarding joint diplomas by both HEIs. The duration of studies is 2.5 years.

 
“Online Master’s Program with Joint Diplomas” Project  Workshop with Participation of the Partner HEIs’ Teaching Staffs

 

 

On June 22, 2017 workshop of the partner universities’ teaching staff of the “Online Master’s Program with Joint Diplomas” Project implemented with the financial support of CIF (Competitive Innovation Fund) of the Center for Education Projects PIU was held in the round hall of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of RA.

Implemented in distance learning format the “Business Administration” joint master’s program, the teaching staffs of the Public Administration Academy, and International Scientific-Educational Center of the NAS RA, the project staff and individual consultants discussed the problems that had arisen during the development of distance learning classes, their concerns, particularly they were interested in the distance learning assessment system.  

Then, the speakers proceeded to the reports according to pre-set agenda.

Arusyak Harutyunyan’s report was devoted to the international experience in distance education and the quality assurance requirements presented to distance learning courses. AUA trainer Tatevik Zargaryan’s report was on open access online resources and copyright issues emerging during distance learning. The representative of the Institute for Informatics and Automation Problems (IIAP) of NAS RA Narine Manukyan presented the Armenian scientific-research computer network, ASNET-AM and opportunities provided to faculty conducting distance learning courses within the network, in particular WebRTC web conference, systems of scientific publications of ASNET-AM network and its cloud storages.

An agreement was reached to continue the discussions a week later at Public Administration Academy of RA.

 

 

 
 
Monitoring of “Online Master’s Program with Joint Diplomas” project 

On June 14, 2017 the representatives of the Center for Education Projects PIU paid a working visit to Public Administration Academy of RA, where they had a working meeting. The aim of the visit was to monitor the progress of “Online Master’s Program with Joint Diplomas”Project.
Rector of the Academy Arsen Lokyan welcomed members of the monitoring committee, then Project Manager Tereza Khechoyan and Project Coordinator Arusyak Harutyunyan presented the current works of the project implemented with the support of CIF (Competitive Innovation Fund).

The project was launched in December 2015 and it aims to introduce and develop distance learning in Armenia and to ensure access to Master’s education with the use of the ICT technologies.

The third stage of this project finishes in June 2017. The parties recorded that a part of the stage activities have been accomplished, such as translation of the distance learning platform (LMS), participation in Education and Career Expo and the implementation of the publishing package, as a result of which the collection of documents regulating the organization and implementation of distance education has already been published, as well as project booklets. The training of the academic staffs by the local experts and the building of online courses by the academic staffs are still in progress. The documents for the purpose of receiving a license for the implementation of distance education and for the approval of a joint diploma format and DS have been submitted to the Ministry of Education and Science of RA.

During the meeting the participants discussed a number of issues on further work and process organization. It should be added that the implementation of this project tends to reinforce distance learning grounds in Armenia and development and integration of national system of distance education.

 

Collection of Documents Regulating Organization and Implementation of Distance Education Published

 

The collection of documents regulating the organization and implementation of distance education has been published, which summarizes the documents developed within the frames of “Online Master Program with Joint Diplomas” implemented with the funding of Competitive Innovation Fund

of “Education Improvement” Program by ‘Center for Education Projects’ PIU of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia. The collection includes the following documents: methodological guideline on implementation of distance learning, internal quality assurance criteria for distance education, regulation on use of information basis of distance learning platform, regulation on how to organize distance learning, regulation on joint diplomas.

The main objective of the project is organization of “Business Administration” Master Degree Program in the form of distance learning with a joint diploma awarded by Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia and International Scientific Educational Center of the National Academy of Sciences of RA.

The collection of documents is designed for the administrative and academic staffs of Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia and International Scientific Educational Center of the National Academy of Sciences of RA, as well as for students. It’s also addressed to the educational institutions interested in the implementation of distance education.

 

 
Online Master Degree Program Presented at Education and Career Expo

 

“Business Administration” onine Master’s program implemented with the partnership of Public Administration Academy of RA and International Scientific-Educational Center of NAS RA in the frames of “Online Master’s Program with Joint Diplomas” was presented at 17th International educational exhibition “EDUCATION AND CAREER 2017”.

This project is impelemented with the funding of Competitive Innovation Fund of “Education Improvement” Program by “Center for Education Projects” PIU of the Ministry of Education and Science of RA. The exhibition launched on April 26.

In line with the exhibition motto – “Be in the Center of Events” – “Business Administration” online master’s program offered by PAARA and ISEC NAS RA was in the focus of the attention. The visitors were particularly interested in the admission procedure, learning format, assessment, etc.

 

 

Workshop: Online education will soon come true in the Public Administration Academy of RA

 

 

Members of “Online Master’s Program with Joint Diplomas” grant project implemented with financing of Competitive Innovation Fund of higher education in Armenia (ICF) are the Public Administration Academy of RA and International Scientific-Educational Center of National Academy of Sciences of Armenia.

The Project tends to design and develop the national system of distance education in the Republic of Armenia and to provide availability of masters’ programs by means of information and communication technologies.

Within the framework of the Project, drafts that regulate normative legal acts of distance education have been worked out, as well as the education program of online “Master in Business administration” program has been prepared.

Trainings of academic staff will follow the launch of the Project.

On March 23 the first meeting of the chosen academic staff was held. Project Manager Tereza Khechoyan introduced Satenik Arakelyan – trainer of the academic – to the participants. She will be assisting the teaching staff in their preparations of e-courses during four months.

Within the framework of the Project 26 syllabi will be designed and 13 of them will be prepared at PAARA. MOODLE platform in Armenian is ready where the lecturers will locate the course theme, questionnaires, case studies, video material and slides. They will also hold forums, video-discussion, etc.

Organizational issues were also discussed during the meeting.

 

  

 

 
Signing a Memorandum of Understanding To Develop Online Education

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RA Education and Science Minister Levon Mkrtchyan, Public Administration Academy of RA Rector Arsen Lokyan and RA NAS International Scientific-Educational Center Director Albert Sargsyan signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop online education taking into consideration the need for introduction and development of online education in the Republic of Armenia, to establish grounds for cooperation and joint events of mutual interest and to harmonize legal acts in the introduction and application of distance educational technologies. In the frames of Memorandum partnership it’s planned to implement a series of programs aimed at strengthening the grounds of online education and introduction of distance educational systems.

The Memorandum of Understanding has been signed in the frames of “Online Master’s Program with Joint Diplomas” project, the main objective of which is the organization of “Business Administration” Master’s Programme in online format with a joint diploma awarded by Public Administration Academy of RA and International Scientific Educational Center of the National Academy of Sciences of RA. The partner of the program is the Institute for Informatics and Automation Problems of NAS RA.

 

Monitoring visit to “Online Master’s program with joint diplomas” project

MBA banner pictureOn July 14, 2016, representatives of “Educational Program Center” Project Implementation Unit of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia visited the Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia. The visit aimed at monitoring the current “Online Master’s program with joint diplomas” project of Development of Competitive Innovation Fund. Rector of the Public Administration Academy of the RA Arsen Lokyan – the program coordinating institution – welcomed the members of the monitoring commission, and the staff of the project presented the activities of the first stage of the project.

The monitoring commission was satisfied with the activities of the first stage.

 The project started on December 24, 2015, in the frames of “Improvement of Education” credit program.

Members of the program consortium are International Scientific Educational Center of the RA (ISEC) and Institute for Informatics and Automation Problems of NAS RA. The program foresees implementation of e-learning platform, training of the professors and organization of e-learning, as well as working out the model of the joint diploma. E-learning on Master’s program “Business Management” will be implemented. It will contribute to availability of the Master’s education via IT and communication technologies. Normative legal documents will be worked out, which will of importance not only for the member institutions of the consortium, but for implementation and improvement of e-learning in the Armenian Area of Higher Education.

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Meeting of Consultants in Distance Learning

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The meeting of the individual consultants selected in the frames of “Online Master’s Program with Awarding Joint Diplomas” was held on 27 July, 2016 to discuss the progress of the project and the launch of the consultation works at Public Administration Academy of RA. Project Manager Tereza Khechoyan, Vice Rector for International Relations at Public Administration Academy of RA welcomed the individual consultants and attached much importance to the regulations to be developed by them, as it will secure the normative documentation needed for the implementation of a distance learning and will enable applying to Ministry of Education and Science of RA to get a license for an educational program in distance format. During the project the individual consultants will particularly develop the following regulations – methodological guidelines on distance education, guidelines on organizing distance educational process, intra-university QA standards, regulation on awarding joint diplomas and other procedures, which can serve as samples for other HEIs to initiate distance learning. During the project Moodle LMS will also be translated into Armenian.

 

 

Second Meeting of Consultants in Distance Learning Held at the Public Administration Academy of RA

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On 7th October, 2016 the second meeting of the individual consultants selected in the frames of “Online Master’s Degree with Joint Diplomas” project in distance learning was held in Public Administration Academy of RA to discuss the progress of consultation works, achieved outcomes and existing problems.

Each consultant presented the research s/he has carried out, the studies of international experience and the compatibility and feasibility of the international practice in the Armenian educational context.

Project Procurement Officer, Deputy Head of Finance and Accounting Department Karine Serobyan presented the activities and deadlines laid down in the procurement plan. The individual consultants together with Project Manager Tereza Khechoyan, Vice Rector for International Relations at Public Administration Academy of RA and Project Coordinator Arusyak Harutyunyan, Head of Foreign Affairs Department at ISEC NAS RA, discussed the logical order of activities for more successful implementation of the project, as well as they arranged on the schedule of upcoming meetings.

 

 

Training at Dresden University of Technology (The Technische Universität Dresden-TUD) within “Online Master’s Program with Joint Diplomas” project

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From 31 October to 2 November 2016 within the framework of “Online Master’s Program with Joint Diplomas” project with the financial support of “’Competitive Innovation Fund of “Center for Education Projects“ of Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia, the project staff – Project Manager Tereza Khechoyan, Vice Rector for International Relations at Public Administration Academy of RA and Project Coordinator Arusyak Harutyunyan, Head of Foreign Affairs Department at ISEC NAS RA and technical consultants of the Project Armen Sargsyan – Head of IT Department of ISEC NAS RA and Aleksan Davtyan, Head of IT Department of Public Administration Academy OF RA, visited Dresden University of Technology (The Technische Universität Dresden-TUD) to study the German experience of conducting distance education, as well as to study the content features of MBA at TUD. 

Dresden University of Technology is one of the leading educational institutions in Germany, the largest university of Saxony. It is one of the oldest technical universities of Germany with high international rate and one of 11 Universities of Excellence in Germany which was awarded in 2012.

The Technische Universität Dresden is one of 11 universities of excellence in Germany, which was awarded in 2012. The university is the excellence center for exporting innovation, engineering and research.

During the training the participants examined features of organizing distance learning at TUD, ECTS credit distribution, QA. Distance learning in Germany is mainly in demand by already employed people who need to update their knowledge or further education for employment promotion or career.

During the training the experience of Hagen University was also presented, as it’s the only state university in Germany offering only online degrees.

Visits were paid to MBA Department, IT Department and Library (SLUB).

At IT Department ‘Student-life-cycle management’ system was presented, which is currently in development stage and combines LMS and internal information system of the university, the website of the university,  which serves as a repository of learning materials, as well as ‘Opal’ data management system.

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Monitoring by the Center for Education Programs over the grant program of “Distance master learning with joint diploma”

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On December 7, representatives of the Center for Education programs of the Ministry of Education and Science visited the Public Administration Academy of RA to monitor over the grant program of “Distance master learning with joint diploma”.

The grant program has been funded by the Competitive Fund of Innovation of higher education of Armenia. The program will promote the grounds of distance learning in the Republic of Armenia and development of the national system of distance learning.

The head of the program – Tereza Khechoyan Vice-rector for international relations – displayed the activities in the framework of the grant program within one year period, and the current activities as well.

The program, which launched in December of 2015 aims at implementation and improvement of the distance learning in RA, and assurance of availability of master program through information and communication technologies. Drafts of legal normative act which regulate the implementation of distance learning have been designed. Course plan for distance learning of the master educational program in “Business Administration” has been drafted. It will start in 2017-2018 academic years. Besides, distance learning platform will be established, as well as trainings will be worked out for the professorial staff of the Public Administration Academy of RA and the international educational center of the NAS RA, and joint diploma sample-form will be discussed on.

Several issues on further activities also were discussed during the meeting.