Russian Language Blog

7 Russian MOOCs You Can Take Right Now Posted by on Nov 8, 2017 in Culture

You have probably heard about massive open online courses, also known as MOOCs, that let you study a subject online from the comfort of your own home, at your own pace, and often for free. But did you know there are MOOCs offered in Russian, both for learning Russian and on a variety of other subjects? Here are seven Russian MOOCs you can take right now.

woman in business attire looking at her tablet

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Russian As a Foreign Language

There are multiple MOOCs for learners of Russian. First of all, check out the Transparent Language Online Russian course. Other options still open for enrollment include:

  1. Экспресс-курсы обучения РКИ. Уровень А1. (RFL [Russian as a Foreign Language] Express Course. A1 Level.) on Universarium covers such basic topics as greetings (приветствия), family (семья), and clothing (одежда).
  2. For more advanced learners, Coursera features Русский как иностранный: B1 (Повторение). Russian as a foreign language B1 (Revision) by Saint Petersburg State University. The description says this class is especially helpful for international university applicants (абитуриенты) or students already going to school in Russia.
  3. For those who are fairly confident about their Russian but would like to refine their spelling and punctuation skills, Stepik offers the Тотальный диктант (Total Dictation) class. From the website:

Тота́льный дикта́нт – ежего́дная образова́тельная а́кция в фо́рме доброво́льного дикта́нта для всех жела́ющих. … В 2016 году́ а́кция прошла́ в 732 города́х, охвати́в 68 стран, её уча́стниками ста́ли бо́лее 145 000 челове́к.
Total Dictation is an annual educational event of a voluntary dictation for anyone willing to participate. … In 2016, the event took place in 732 cities spanning 68 countries, and more than 145,000 people participated.


man and woman talking

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For those looking to move beyond the mechanics of Russian, there are several classes examining its current use and trends.

  1. Речевой этикет: вежливость и коммуникативные стратегии (Speech Etiquette: Politeness and Communicative Strategies) is taught by the renowned linguist Maxim Krongauz of the Higher School of Economics. Among other things, this course will examine how greetings and goodbyes have changed over time and how people use proper names in Russian.
  2. Русский язык как инструмент успешной коммуникации (Russian Language as a Tool for Successful Communication) by National Research Tomsk State University will cover such questions as who comes up with rules (правила) and the role of “borrowings” (заимствования) in Russian.

Culture and Society

man reading a book

Image via Pixabay

  1. Another course by the same university, Читаем русскую классику вместе. М. Булгаков «Мастер и Маргарита» (Reading Russian Classics Together. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.), guides you through this famous novel (роман). You will need to have a B2-C2 (high intermediate to advanced) level of Russian and to have read the novel in Russian or in translation.
  2. Finally, for learners interested in Russian politics, European University at St Petersburg offers Политические процессы в современной России (Political Processes in Today’s Russia).

Курс знако́мит с полити́ческой исто́рией пост-сове́тской Росси́и от распа́да СССР до сего́дняшнего дня, помога́ет поня́ть актуа́льные полити́ческие проце́ссы в на́шей стране́.
The course presents the political history of post-Soviet Russia from the collapse of the USSR to today and helps you understand the relevant political processes in Russia.

I hope you give these or other Russian courses a try. Let us know how it goes!

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About the Author: Maria

Maria is a Russian-born translator from Western New York. She is excited to share her fascination with all things Russian on this blog. Maria's professional updates are available in English on her website and Twitter and in Russian on Telegram.