Special Issue "Humanities and Social Sciences in Higher Education: Trends and Challenges"

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102). This special issue belongs to the section "Higher Education".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 21 September 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Tatiana Evtushenko
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Higher School of Applied Linguistics and Translation Studies,Peter the Great Saint Petersburg Polytechnic University, 195251, St.Petersburg, Russia
Interests: cross-cultural communication; science discourse; corpus linguistics; pragmatics; metadiscourse analysis; second language acquisition; methods of esp /eap teaching; punctuation
Dr. Daria Bylieva
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Social Science, Institute of Humanities, St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, St. Petersburg, Russia
Interests: e-learning, communication; higher education; students; social media; net communication; academic dishonesty; game; serious game; educational game; interenet
Dr. Klochkova Elena
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Higher School of Language Teaching Methodology and Translation Studies, Institute of Humanities, St. Peterburg Polytechnic University, St. Petersburg, Russia
Interests: higher education; foreign language education; second language; English for specific purposes; academic writing; cognitive linguistics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Special Issue “Humanities and Social Sciences in Higher Education: Trends and Challenges” provides a selection of papers from the 2021 conference “Professional Culture of the Specialist of the Future” held at Peter the Great Saint Petersburg Polytechnic University.

The contributions to this issue are based on the talks and presentations at the conference and focus on contemporary trends and challenges in education. Rapid changes in the modern society and environment induce transformations of educational approaches and teaching strategies. Modern specialists are supposed to have a wide range of various competences and skills which include not only expert knowledge and hard skills but also soft skills, in particular language skills and communication abilities as well as social intelligence and metacognitive skills. Such soft skills would contribute to the professional and personal development of prospective specialists and help them keep pace with the technological development.

The present issue discusses the advances in humanities and social sciences contributing to the comprehensive training of specialists majoring in different disciplines—social sciences and humanities as well as engineering, information technology, physics, life sciences, and many others.

- Innovative learning strategies in foreign language education.

The management of innovation is critically important in foreign language education.  Educational reforms in this field indicate that an enhanced understanding and implementation of principles and methods of innovations would make a major contribution to the discipline. The wider field of learning strategies in foreign languages teaching create a basis for innovation in theory and practice.

- Pedagogical design in online learning environment.

Educational contexts and technological resources are important dimensions of the online learning environment. The entire educational endeavor greatly depends on the learning content presentation in the special pedagogical matrix. Therefore the design of the educational track is an important element which determines implementation of the educational goals.

- Modern methods and approaches in higher education.

Methods and approaches are the main components in educational planning and contribute a lot in educational design implementation. Comprehension of modern methods and approaches in higher education could provide identification of the best practices transforming pedagogical reality in its different aspects of development.

- Cross-cultural communication in digital environment.

The past two decades have witnessed an explosion of interest in the use of digital technologies to enable different types of communication, including cross-cultural communication. Computer-mediated communication and collaboration (including the use of video conferences, collaborative blogs, web forums, collaborative Google documents, etc.) are increasingly used along with face-to-face communication and in some cases are a substitute for it. The digital environment presents not only opportunities but also new challenges for the participants of cross-cultural communication and therefore requires specific competences to deal with novel communicative situations.

- Research in social sciences and humanities

The modern education system should combine a variety of functions: to get professional knowledge and skills, to extract negative impulses and destructive behavior, to awaken personal creativity and imagination, to teach responsible roles in society, to provide communication abilities, to develop a global view of the world, and to train operational efficiency and proficiency to make a decision. These aspects are important for cultural socialization of young people in terms of their preparation for future professional activities. Productively designed content of education determines the most important steps of the socialization of a democratic person who is able to perceive different points of view and can solve various professional tasks.

- Applied Linguistics and second language acquisition

Applied Linguistics is an interdisciplinary field which mediates between theoretical linguistics and the practice of language learning and second language acquisition. The integration of theoretical findings and the practice of language learning can enhance the current approaches, techniques, and tools used in foreign language education. Dealing with issues such as the role of communicative situations, sociolinguistic contexts, linguistic and cultural backgrounds, cognitive approaches to the language structure, etc. can contribute to the development of effective learning strategies.

Dr. Tatiana Evtushenko
Dr. Daria Bylieva
Dr. Klochkova Elena
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • soft skills
  • language and communication skills
  • cross-cultural and socio-cultural communication
  • international students
  • productive methods in education
  • innovative approach
  • social sciences and humanities
  • digitalization of educational environment
  • higher education
  • blended learning
  • e-learning

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
The Educational Technology of Monological Speaking Skills Formation of Future Lawyers
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(7), 330; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11070330 - 02 Jul 2021
Viewed by 291
Abstract
In modern higher education, there was a change in the educational paradigm, when the emphasis shifted to the formation of competencies. The goal of the competence approach is to improve the quality of education, which is impossible without the use of educational technologies [...] Read more.
In modern higher education, there was a change in the educational paradigm, when the emphasis shifted to the formation of competencies. The goal of the competence approach is to improve the quality of education, which is impossible without the use of educational technologies that guarantee a steady effective result. The priority of teaching foreign languages to future lawyers is the foreign speaking skills formation in general and the monological ones in particular. The introduction of educational technology in the process of monological speaking skills formation, including a set of methods and techniques such as peer review, discussion, working with the text, etc., took place over the course of the pedagogical experiment. Qualitative and quantitative data analysis allowed us to determine the difference in the level of the monological speaking skills formation in experimental and control groups at all stages of the experiment conducted. The effectiveness of the developed technology is determined by the significance of the adaptation stage, the use of the peer review method, which implements the potential of students’ metacognitive skills, and the possibility to change the role while evaluating students’ answers. Full article
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Article
The Use of Monologue Speaking Tasks to Improve First-Year Students’ English-Speaking Skills
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(6), 298; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11060298 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 348
Abstract
A significant number of studies are devoted to the psychological and social adaptation of students to the educational process at university. This research contributes to the solution of the problem of first-year students’ academic performance in the framework of studying a foreign language [...] Read more.
A significant number of studies are devoted to the psychological and social adaptation of students to the educational process at university. This research contributes to the solution of the problem of first-year students’ academic performance in the framework of studying a foreign language by working with monologue speaking tasks. The study offers an analysis of the improvement of academic performance in this particular type of language activity. The study took place at Peter the Great Saint Petersburg Polytechnic University, Russia, and involved 274 first-year students enrolled in undergraduate programs. Mixed qualitative and quantitative methods were applied to collect and analyse data for the study. The research included the qualitative content analysis of monologue speaking tasks. Results of the study make it possible to conclude that the use of monologue speaking tasks paired with peer interaction and peer assessment can improve first-year students’ English-speaking skills. Full article
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Article
Productive Method as the Basis for Soft Skills Development in Engineering Foreign Language Education
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(6), 276; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11060276 - 02 Jun 2021
Viewed by 513
Abstract
The modern world requires engineering specialists with excellent hard skills as well as soft skills that contribute to better communication, creativity, and self-realisation of a person. The authors discovered that modern educational standards are starting to focus on soft skills development, proposing requirements [...] Read more.
The modern world requires engineering specialists with excellent hard skills as well as soft skills that contribute to better communication, creativity, and self-realisation of a person. The authors discovered that modern educational standards are starting to focus on soft skills development, proposing requirements for educational programs that contain competencies covering soft skills. To fulfil such needs, there is the productive method of foreign language teaching that implies interactive technologies and masters foreign language communicative competence and soft skills at once. Therefore, the study aimed at developing a technology of soft skills development in engineering foreign language education using the productive method and checking its effectiveness. The authors designed a questionnaire and investigated engineering students’ opinions on a need to develop soft skills, which revealed high relevance of the topic, and the possibility of their development while studying a foreign language, which proved the productive method’s prospects. Based on findings received and literature analysed, we implemented case studies, problem-based learning, and essay writing in the technology and designed assessment criteria. Testing of the technology was performed by a pedagogical experiment, where qualitative and quantitative methods were applied. To critically analyse the results, we used Cronbach’s alpha, which revealed good reliability of the questionnaire, and t-test showed high efficiency of the technology that improved students’ soft skills. Full article
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Article
Assessment of Online Environment and Digital Footprint Functions in Higher Education Analytics
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(6), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11060256 - 25 May 2021
Viewed by 644
Abstract
The article is devoted to learning analytics problems associated with the digital culture development in the university educational space and with the student activity control in the vocational training process. The empirical basis of the study was a series of surveys conducted by [...] Read more.
The article is devoted to learning analytics problems associated with the digital culture development in the university educational space and with the student activity control in the vocational training process. The empirical basis of the study was a series of surveys conducted by the Center for Sociological Research of the Peter the Great Polytechnic University in 2018–2020. To systematize the information on the traces of students’ activity in the digital space, the method of constructing a personal mental map, reflecting the cognitive characteristics of the student’s interactive actions in the network, was used. Because of the analysis of the mental maps, the general structure of the personal digital footprint was identified, which is significant for analytics of the student’s academic history and self-assessment of his activities in professional development. In conclusion, the constructive role of digital technology in assessing and modeling the educational process is emphasized. The study of students’ digital footprints on the university platforms, supplemented by the study of their activity in social networks, allows the development of educational modeling aimed at creating a more adequate set of competencies and soft skills of the graduate. Full article
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Article
Scenario-Based Instruction: The Case of Foreign Language Training at Multidisciplinary University
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11050227 - 11 May 2021
Viewed by 363
Abstract
Strong communication skills, in varied professional settings, have become an absolute necessity for young professionals. Therefore, university educators are challenged to provide novice specialists with the effective foreign language training that could bring the real professional world into the classroom. This study suggests [...] Read more.
Strong communication skills, in varied professional settings, have become an absolute necessity for young professionals. Therefore, university educators are challenged to provide novice specialists with the effective foreign language training that could bring the real professional world into the classroom. This study suggests an innovative method for teaching communication skills to students, through the use of real-life scenarios, drawn from the professional context. The core objective of the research was to define whether the scenario-based instruction could effectively enhance the development of professional communication skills of students in the context of university foreign language training. The data were collected through active observation and critical incidents technique, analyzed and summarized by means of descriptive statistics. The results of the study indicate the efficacy of scenario-based communication training in higher education. However, scenario-based instruction requires careful assessment of learners’ needs and expectations, thoughtful selection and design of teaching materials, and the development of an active learning environment. Full article
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