The first online lecture of the Arctic Floating University (AFU) took place on July 7, 2020. Due to the postponement of the expedition to Franz Joseph Land to the year of 2021, a traditional course of lectures from specialists on Arctic, that used to be delivered on board of the R/V Professor Molchanov during the AFU expeditions, was transferred into the online mode. 15 lectures were held on diverse issues of development and cooperation in the Arctic during the whole month. More than 100 participants from Russia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the USA and Finland attended AFU online lectures.
During the second week of the online lecture course, the participants learned about the Arctic’s historical, cultural and natural heritage with, Lyudmila Drachkova (NArFU), gained understanding of ongoing changes in the Arctic climate with Nikolai Kondratov (NArFU), , and also assessed the impact of climate change on the living organisms of the Barents Sea with Ivan Nekhaev (Saint-Petersburg State University). In the following weeks, Irina Pokrovskaya(Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences), created an opportunity to its audience to observe an amazing world of Arctic birds, and Viktor Merkulov, ( Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute), introduced our participants with the work of oceanographers in the high-latitude Arctic. The lecture of Maria Tysyachnyuk, an employee of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA) about the distribution of oil benefits among the indigenous peoples of the Arctic was of a particular interest. The problems and prospects of the indigenous people’s traditional economy were revealed in the lecture given by Svetlana Tulaeva(RANEPA). Olga Gripas, (Northern branch of Roshydromet), spoke about the organization’s role in organizing expeditions to the Arctic within the Arctic Floating University. The most unusual, but very interesting, was the speech of Marina Titova, a researcher at the Museum of Artistic Exploration of the Arctic, on the topic “The artist A. A. Borisov’s Arctic expeditions.
Over a period of the online lecture course, a virtual classroom was organized, where the attendees became acquainted with the history of the expedition project, completed the Arctic quiz’s tasks, tried to reveal the mystery of the “Sannikov land”, find similarities between the events and heroes of V. Kaverin's novel “Two Captains” with the real Arctic expeditions, and also explain the phenomenon of “cherry tree’s flowering in cold”
Most of the participants noted the convenience of online mode of the AFU lecture course and the instructors’ high qualifications, emphasized the importance of the project and expressed an interest in taking part in the future Arctic Floating University expeditions. This year’s online lecture course experience will be implemented into the development of a pre-trip training program for the future AFU expedition participants.
For those who are intertested, the online lectures are available in Russian language on the Arctic Floating University's Youtube channel.