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Alumni Projects 2017-2018

Alumni Projects 2017-2018


Information Literacy Course

Proposed and taught by Yulia Beymlina, a 2012-2013 Fulbright FLTA and a Delta qualified teacher with a broad international experience, a task-intensive course on Information Literacy ran at the American Center in Moscow in April-June 2018.

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This course, consisting of biweekly offline and online classes, attracted a group of 20 participants interested in becoming responsible and conscientious information consumers. By giving the enrolled students hands-on activities and group work, the course aimed to help them develop the skills of evaluating the reliability of information they consume on a daily basis, to equip them with the techniques for spotting bias, to familiarize them with the world of the English speaking media, and to give them an opportunity to practice English at a high level.

Over the course of two months, the participants who were enrolled in the Information Literacy course could attend biweekly on-site classes at the American Center or join them online, and go over their homework in biweekly online sessions. The classes explored such topics as the correlation between language, power, and thought and how it is exploited in various types of media texts, paralinguistic tools of influence (voice, imagery, and pace), the role language plays in affecting people’s attitudes and shaping their biases, and the language of fact and opinion. Using a variety of formats and types of information (such as news stories, talks, advertisements, comedy sketches, excerpts from fiction and films) and different communicative and creative tasks, Yulia Beymlina reached the dual objective of teaching the students the content and fostering their language skills. The course concluded with the defense of final projects, in which the students applied the deconstructing techniques they had learned to a media text of their choice, and an awards ceremony. The course was successful in raising the students’ awareness of the importance of verifiable transparent news for a healthy civil society, empowering them to recognize logical fallacies and cognitive biases, and giving them an opportunity for speaking practice and vocabulary building.

“Garden” and “Environmental Project Management”
Organized by two RYEP program alumnae, Elizaveta Elkina and Aleksandra Lavrenko, the Garden and Environmental Project Management program ran in December 2017 – March 2018.

Organized as an 8-week course in ecology and sustainable development, the project attracted over 80 applicants, only seventh of which passed a pre-course selection process and were enrolled in the course.

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Over the course of two months, these students learned about present-day ecological challenges and the tenets of sustainability and practiced addressing them through innovative ecological solutions. Apart from attending lectures on various components of developing ecological initiatives from scratch (brainstorming, SMART-, SWOT-analysis, building a roadmap and a mindmap, target audience, SMM, fundraising, and project presentation tools), the participants met with young environmental leaders and professionals and had leadership building sessions.
Following these sessions and using manuals prepared by the course organizers, the students developed individual and group environmental projects, with some students starting to put them into action while enrolled in the course. These student projects ranged from eco workshops and clubs initiated at the students’ colleges to producing social media, published, and 3D resources for the general public on eco-friendly lifestyle and Moscow park systems. The course concluded with the students getting certificates and awards. In a post-course survey, all the participants said that the course broadened their understanding of environmental issues, motivated them to take action to address these issues through their own eco projects, and equipped them with the project management skills necessary to develop and implement these projects.
Arduino Based Game Machine

The project by Irina Bolushevskaya, Fulbright Alumna and Evgeniy Mundrievsky, Fort Ross Program alumnus from Tula was implemented in March – June 2018. Early in 2018 they created a prototype of a game machine testing students’ knowledge of English and rewarding them for correct answers.

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Arduino Based Game Machine is a device that helps learn English and have fun. It can be used for stress-free ESL and general knowledge testing during breaks between classes at secondary and private language schools. Quiz questions can be easily customized and played by students of all ages. Having given correct answers to 5 questions in a row, a player gets a prize in a small plastic container which can be reused. The machine ranks players according to the points earned. The device can be used for brush-up, stress-free testing, competition, utilization of break time, teaching persistence, fun. All the tasks are multiple-choice and may include matching, gap-fill, reading for gist, odd one out and picture questions.
With the help of the AMC award, the team managed to improve characteristics of the machine: size, quality, software.
Within the project, 3 machines were produced: for a secondary school and a private language school in Tula and for the American Center in Moscow. The project concluded with a competition for schoolchildren called ‘Test Your Superpower’. The product presentation at the American Center in Moscow took place on June 4th.Outcomes: American Center Support Program helped the team produce devices popularizing the English language, making the learning process more interactive and motivated.
English Speaking Club at Kazan National Research Technological University

The club organized and led by Gulnaz Fakhretdinova, Fulbright alumna in April – June 2018. The project became a part of “TechnOlideR” Elite Engineering School of Kazan National Research Technological University designed for active, talented students demonstrating outstanding academic abilities and striving to become highly qualified engineers on a global scale.

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A good command of spoken English and excellent language competencies are one of the requirements to complete this program.

The topics under discussion included English-speaking countries, their culture, and traditions, stereotypes as well as business skills. During the meeting, the group watched and discussed the American movie “Front of the Class”, held American food festival at the Gokymsko-Almetyevsky park of Kazan. The Final meeting was devoted to U.S. exchange program opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students: how and when to apply for them, effective techniques while preparing for English proficiency exams.

Outcomes: the project “English Speaking Club” supported by American Center gave an opportunity to enhance student’s communicative skills, increase their speaking fluency in a friendly atmosphere beyond their regular English classes. They learned about American culture and traditions through interactive communication and group activities. The Club will continue its functioning in 2018-2019 academic year as a university initiative.

How to create and test a 3D-prototype?

Timur Babaev, FLEX alumnus produced a 3D-prototype of a bulldozer as part of his scientific experiment and conducted workshops for American Center visitors in April – May 2018.

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Within the American Center program and as part of the university research work Timur assembled a bulldozer model with a slope board in scale 1:10 using the 3D printer and Arduino controllers provided by Makerspace of the American Center in Moscow. As part of the project, he carried out workshops on 3D printing for our visitors, which covered: principles of making sketches for a prototype with a practical implementation of a bulldozer sketch; a 3D modeling program Autodesk Fusion 360 and making 3D objects from 2D sketches. Participants made 3D models of bulldozer parts and learned how to save and prepare them for 3D printing, how to set a 3D printer. They also learned how to set Arduino components to the board, connect the Arduino board to a computer and upload the program to the board and run it.

Total participants: 20
Outcomes: throw the workshops Timur shared his knowledge and skills with participants who learned the concept of making a prototype from a sketch to real object, basics of engineering, 3D modeling, hands-on 3D printing and using Arduino. At the end of the project, a bulldozer model with a slope board was assembled.

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