The increased demands for foreign language learning and the dwindling number of contact hours have urged teachers to look for innovative methods of instruction such as blended learning (BL). A study was conducted at a Russian university (The National Research University Higher School of Economics) in order to explore the attitudes and perceptions of the students toward blended learning in the English language classroom. The research instruments were tests and questionnaires administered to students before and after the course. The online portion of the course was realized through the corporate learning management system (LMS). The study revealed a noticeable evolution in students’ perceptions and attitudes towards using blended learning in foreign language instruction. This shift and consequential outcomes of the study are discussed.
Modern urban performance depends not only on the city's endorsement of hard infrastructure (physical capital), but also on the availability and quality of knowledge communication and social infrastructure (intellectual capital and social capital). This is one of the clear reasons why the concept of Smart Cities recently attracted a great amount of attention, both from academia and city planners. One of the challenges of the Smart City concept is how to raise human capital among people, such as making them culturally sensitive, mobile and to improve other social characteristics. This challenge is especially valid for industrial cities that are facing economic turbulence and a demand for revitalizing their public spaces and economic specialties. The aim of this study is to examine the correlation between the amount of international students in Russian universities with the positive changes that occur in a Russian student’s human capital, and their neighbourhood areas, especially in public spaces. We aim to support the hypothesis that a network of “internationalized” universities serves as a revitalization measure for a city, facilitating the development of its surrounding areas, and reducing political and social risks within a society. Research methods for gathering data are: deductive trend search, which uses a literature review from leading academic journals and the empirical study based on the created questionnaire. This questionnaire forms a dataset which consists of a number of master courses held in English from one of the leading Russian universities based in Moscow. In this paper, we explain the research design and the results of a long-term project which we expect to complete in Russia in 2016.