The International Education Institute of Voronezh State University has long-standing experience of creating and using computer-based training programmes in the educational process. Its own software technologies proved to be a success within the Institute educational process as well as within the multimedia contests held as part of six Festivals of the Russian Language for International Students in Russia.
A software and methodological platform for distance learning of Russian as a foreign language is now being developed within the framework of the academic project "Russian Virtual Class" implemented by the Laboratory for New Educational Technologies of the VSU International Education Institute. An interactive training system will be used within a collaborative educational project by VSU and the University of San Carlos (Madrid, Spain) – a master's degree programme "Russia's Culture, Economics and History Research".
The basis for the distance learning of the Russian language by Spanish students is a language-oriented interactive simulator study guide "Ruso сomunicativo. Russian for Communication". This study guide provides students with the most user-friendly tools for self-learning of Russian outside the language environment. Multimedia presentations which include videos, photos and graphics synchronised with a text, voiced vocabulary, translations and commentaries help to make the study material more understandable. Various interactive training materials provide an opportunity to be efficient in memorising a great number of words, phrases and speech patterns. Participating in virtual communication students use the acquired knowledge in practice and improve their Russian pronunciation. Active control functions allow students to check their performance accuracy at all levels of the study material drilling.
"Students from all over the world can just download the interactive simulator study guide from the VSU International Education Institute site, install it on their PC and register at a particular teleservice. As a result, students have an opportunity to attend speech practice classes and tutorials given by the Institute lecturers in the on-line video conference mode. Due to the well-developed software support students are able to work with the study material mainly on their own. After implementing the educational programme in collaboration with the University of San Carlos we are planning to introduce other versions of the interactive study guide in Chinese and English", noted Margarita Zlobina, the Head of the Laboratory for New Educational Technologies.
A new educational environment, "Russian Virtual Class", is now being developed by the joint efforts of the programmers and lecturers from the VSU International Education Institute. With the computer-based educational technologies distance learning of foreign languages becomes a reality.