Category Archives: Higher Education

Be a Better Student. Go Beyond the Curriculum: Keshav Bhatt at TEDx University of Strathclyde (Deconstruction blog)

unnamed (1) is the main claim the speaker/writer is making?

This video is a TEDx talk presented by Keshav Bhatt who is a 24 year-old youth coach, speaker and founder of a social enterprise called Revolution Hive. His claim is that the dynamic enterprise (higher education) does not prepare young people for real life that can make them think beyond the average.  Keshav Bhatt believes that higher education is no longer able to develop the social reformers we once knew, and that there is a gap between what you pay for and what you really get out of university. By taking education into one’s own hands and understanding the core of what needs to be changed is what he envisions will spawn the leaders of tomorrow. Using real life examples, he explains how the university curriculum diminishes our critical thinking skills.

His opinion is based on his own experience and following his advice may not give the same outcomes. The intended audience is university students at the age 18-23 as he wants to persuade them to persuade the education of freedom which comes from students intellectual beliefs.  His tone makes him appear to be looking down on the entire higher education system which cannot meet the social needs of the World.

Keshav Bhatt is very straight to the point. He states his opinion towards the educational system at universities. He gives examples on the failing, incomplete system of education at universities and answers the questions “How to understand this system?” “What is missing in curriculum?” He felt at the pinnacle of his education that something is missing. He states that the higher education needs to be more resourceful, curriculum does not exist and educational institutions do not create the social reformers. He states that people should challenge not to conform to the formal education. However, he looks a bit unconfident and that makes him difficult to watch as he constantly moves his arms, legs. He talks a little bit too fast which makes his speech unclear and causes distraction. As a hook into his presentation, he asks, “How to find answers to the real life questions?”, “How to become mentally strong?”

Keshav tells stories, examples to show why he is qualified to be explaining this topic. However, his claims and arguments are based on his personal experience. He worked in Barcelona, Bangladesh as a volunteer. He states that the quarter life crisis consists of the civic and the personal parts. People tend to be more civic minded.  30 % of students spent their free time volunteering in the UK. People are struggling paying for the universities. Civic includes pollution, conflicts, HIV, AIDS, resource crisis. He tells that education does not address these things. Education should include 3 qualities such as drawing out the natural resources, act like great equalizer, and liberate people and others (critical thinking skills). Instead, he believes that formal education is just the peel of the fruit and we should squeeze that juice out.  It’s time for responsibility and it comes from the students’ intellectual skills. We should trigger different parts of the brain by working hard.

I enjoyed watching it and I agree that the university curriculum should be reviewed and include some of the real life topics and skills. I believe that universities should offer a more rounded curriculum, less focused on the facts and more on developing individual, critical thinking skills.

Students decide to fire a teacher?! WHAT?!

Let’s talk about decision-making within schools regarding employment termination of teachers. We all know that students can’t decide to fire the teacher but their parents may collectively complain about certain teachers to school administration. School administration is the sole body to decide whether to take disciplinary actions or even fire any staff member. I think students shall take part in decision-making as they are the immediate stakeholders. Apparently, primary and middle schoolers are too young to vote but high schools are fine.


There are always ‘favourite’ and ‘less favourite’ teachers for every student. Reasons may be different: incompetence, dullness, excessive severity and personal dislike (of course!). But can these qualify as the substantial reasons to terminate one’s employment? Let’s see. First, an incompetent teacher is not a teacher. I wonder how each of us defines incompetence, I, personally, view it as excellent knowledge and skills (it shall not be limited to one subject).  Incompetent teachers are easily recognisable but if they are appealing and charismatic they could even pass as excellent teachers in the eyes of students. Here, not dullness but appeal and charisma are what students seek in the teachers. What a dilemma!  Next is excessive severity which includes strictness in the classroom, a ton of homework and pertinacity.  Who would like a teacher who keeps students on the run all the time?! Finally, personal dislike could be the result of all these factors. Everyone has personal preferences that’s why having personal feelings involved is inevitable.

As a student myself I understand how these factors can cloud one’s vision. But, as a teacher I would not want to get fired just because some students didn’t like me. Especially, it is even more unfair if a particular teacher gets fired because a certain student manipulated the others to vote against that teacher. In this case, we should not allow students to take the lead in deciding whether to fire the teacher or not. But school administration definitely has to take the voices of high schoolers into account.


Should high school students be able to vote to fire teachers? Retrieved from

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Regarding Kazakh terminology …

Recently the president Nursultan Nazarbayev organized a meeting with local and international mass media journalists. In the interview, the president spoke about one of the burning topic in our society– the language issue. In particular, he pointed out terms translated into Kazakh in an irrelevant quantity which have already merged into Kazakh. The president stated “Instead of enhancing Kazakh by international terms, the linguistic committee created a number of words which are not used by people, e.g. ‘procent’ is translated as ‘paiyz (procent) in Kazakh, but I do not use this word in my speech’”.

Language is the soul of the nation and spiritual identity. After gaining the independence, the Kazakh language obtained the status of state language. At that period, other ethnicities started paying attention to our mother tongue, saying “Kazakh became an individual country, the language received state language, if we do not learn Kazakh, we will not survive”. However, we could not continue this process properly. By trying to translate new words into Kazakh we made the language so complicated, that even Kazakh folks are not able to understand themselves. It is surprising to hear from graduates of Kazakh mainstream schools saying “I prefer to read in Russian to Kazakh” or “It is easier to read in Russian”. It is not difficult to notice that one of the main reasons of why we came to this adverse circumstance is the fact that huge amount of terms which are used by the whole world translated into Kazakh. Compare the following words in six different languages:

English Spanish Italian French Russian Kazakh
Passport Pasaporte Passaporto passeport Пасспорт Төлқұжат
Piano Piano Piano Piano Пианино Күйсандық
Internet Internet Internet Internet Интернет Ғаламтор
competence Competencia Competenza Competence Компетенция Құзыреттілік
Focus Foco Fuoco concentrer Фокус, концентрация Шоғырлану
Crocodile Cocodrilo Coccordillo Crocodile Крокодил Қолтыруын


In fact, words in all these languages are written and pronounced almost the same, except Kazakh. In this respect my opinion corresponds to the president’s that we should not translate all the single word into Kazakh. I assume there are two advantages of using international terminologies unchanged. First, the original meaning of a word will be preserved, i.e. the meaning of items or actions will be conveyed accurately. The equivalent of any word can be found in any language, but it cannot accomplish in accordance to modern time necessity.  For example, expertise, inauguration, document, administration -these words do not replace precise meaning of the words, thus are not used in everyday life. Secondly, terminology has enormous international power to unite world population. As our president said if 1800 words enter our language without changes, then isn’t it wealth? (Is Kazakh tongue-tied to articulate the international words?) These terminologies can also enable us to learn English, one of the most important goals in present days. Thousands of words have merged into the Russian language, but we do not see they lose something because of that.

The problem here is that we do not only make Kazakh language difficult to learn for other ethnicities, but also for ourselves. If Kazakhs do not read and understand their own language, who on Earth will learn and maintain it?



Giving or taking? Is a “Pronoia” connected with succeeding? (Deconstruction).

Take a minute before watching a video or reading this blog post, and answer the question: “Are you a giver, a taker, or a matcher?”.

I have recently watched TED video where Adam Grant tells about givers, takers, and matchers in our society. The question of giving and taking is discussed in the talk of Adam Grant, and it is connected with every sphere of our life. I remembered the words of one of our professors at Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education (NUGSE) that each of us should share and help. In this blog post, I would discuss the issues of givers, takers, and connect them with the educational area.

Do you always ask people do anything for you? Do you ask people if you can do anything for them? Do you do anything for the sake of taking back? These are general explanations of a taker, a giver, and a matcher.  As Adam Grant noted, givers are found in all the spheres of life, work, studying both at the bottom and at the top. They make the process work, but they are sometimes unevaluated. They share their knowledge, give feedback, and it could be 5 minutes help, but it is worth. The speaker pointed out three things to protect givers: protect givers from burnout; encourage help-seeking; get the right people on the bus/keep the wrong people off the bus. Explaining in other words, givers should know that they can receive as well; people should not be shy to ask for help; takers should be out because they could pass over the whole work to a giver.

What image do you have when you think of givers and takers? Agreeableness is for givers, and disagreeableness is for takers? However, these traits of character are not connected, and they could represent both of them. Personally, I appreciate disagreeable givers, they are the most critical and tell things that no one wants to hear, but they tell the clear truth and to the point. Adam Grant ended his speech with the words that if there will be more givers, and if people would ask for help, it could lead to the change of success understanding.

The claim of a speaker is valuable, and the presented evidence mostly come from diverse studies. However, I have several points to debate about and add something from my own experience. I refer myself to matchers. Previously, I was a giver, but I have the story behind which made me a matcher. Now I think that everything should be built on balance. If there should be many givers, as Adam Grant suggests, takers and matchers will be off the bus. I believe that three of them should have the place in every sphere of our life. If a giver gives, who would receive then? I agree with the opinion that people should not be afraid of asking questions, they should share and help. However, not only givers can do this.

Talking about an educational sphere, I would like to speak of studying and teaching experiences. Studying at NUGSE, I see on the practice that helping each other, sharing, and asking questions open the door to the suitcase of knowledge. People who do these things are not only givers, but they manage to do it. Working as a teacher of the English language, there seemed to be a lack of givers. Mentoring is what I needed as a first-year teacher. However, no one wanted to help. Then, I asked for a help, and I got it. From my experience, givers are mostly awake when you ask. Thus, asking, sharing, and helping are more important in our life.

Do not be shy and afraid of asking questions, as it is the wheel to progress and all the developments in our society. Do help people and share with them, no matter who you are: a giver, a taker, or a matcher. Not the point of being a giver, but being responsive is a key to success.

Ad nauseam citation: deficiency of contemporary academia

Citation. You always hear this world if you are in academia. Citation became an accompanying sign of a quality and trustworthy paper. The vaster your reference list is, the more valuable your piece of writing is, apparently. Some researchers abuse the right to cite other authors and, thus, produce papers the benefit of which could be questioned. Personally, I find articles with 4-6 citations in one paragraph less credible and devoid of the author’s voice. Overuse of citations could harm development of young researcher’s skills and tell about author’s inability to comprehend the paper thoroughly.

Contemporary researchers fear that overuse of citations may lead to “erosion of scholarly rigor” (Pierce, 2010, para. 3). One of the reasons to that is superficial attitude of some researchers who do not study papers in-depth. It prevents researchers from applying their critical and analytical skills and producing a worthwhile work. Ideally, if someone cites one work that automatically means he/she has read that work meticulously paying close attention to the main arguments. Thus, citing someone entails certain responsibilities. Useful tip to overcome this challenge would be to dedicate sufficient amount of time and do the work qualitatively.

Works saturated with citations could be a signal that writer is incapable of adding his new personal idea or opinion. Yes, sometimes other works can serve as a base for new opinions to emerge. That is totally fine. But we need to evaluate the article first and ensure that the paper is reliable and fundamental. Incorporation of one’s opinion in his/her work might at first be challenging, but practice is the best assistant in this laborious task.

Pierce (2010) discloses a curious statistics that “random samples of research articles published in the American Journal of Physiology reveal that the number of papers per bibliography averaged approximately 29 in 1989, 37 in 1999, and 42 in 2009” (para. 3). In your opinion, what are the reasons behind that tendency of ample use of citation?

Nowadays there are some journals which limit the number of sources one used in his/her paper. I partially support this policy and believe people must be more accountable for the sources they claim to have used to produce the paper. Do you agree with this policy? How can we enhance the quality of the papers while using less or more citation?


Pearce, W. (August 1, 2010).  Citations: Too Many, or Not Enough? TheScientist.

Retrieved from          articles.view/articleNo/29170/title/Citations–Too-Many–or-Not-Enough-/

Learning new vocabulary became easier with Quizlet

Learning the vocabulary and terms is the difficult task for any person. A big amount of new lexis is not kept in one’s head, thus, it is important words to be practiced and recalled. Obviously, limitless of exercises and ways exist in learning new vocabulary, e.g. by repeating the word for several times, hanging stickers with words on the walls, writing a word in one language on one side and another language on the another side, switching the language in a smartphone or a computer. A widespread strategy to divide a notebook into three columns is not effective because of the high possibility to lose or tear the notebook and less possibility and time is available to rewrite it. Therefore, I would like to suggest a new approach and website to learn vocabulary – Quizlet.

Quizlet is a free online service where you can create flashcards and teaching games and practice the vocabulary. The author of this online tool,15 years old American student Andrew Sutherland, invented it when they were asked to learn 111 names of animals in French. In order to make his life easier, the teenager created the mega project which is complement by 3 million users each day and in 100 languages. The idea of this service is not complex, all you need is to register in, and add a translation or a definition of a word in the form of cards.

Quizlet offers to learn words though games by creating a list of vocabulary which is called ‘sets’. The words provided with translations might be presented as a list of definitions, images or photos with explanation. The sets created by other individuals might be changed or added into the list of your page. Making the list of words in English is not time-consuming as terms are already ready for use; you need to type the words in other languages though. Then, you may start the exercise. You can select the necessary set and learn it as it is, but it may bore a learner and is not always effective. Instead, the designers of the website propose several sorts of games for decreasing the time spend for learning and encouraging the word learning process. After practicing vocabulary, a test might be completed in order to know result. Four types of tasks are available (“multiple choice test”, “matching”, “write a word”, “true or false”), it is particularly effective when a teacher checks their learning. After having learnt each set, the statistics is constructed to trace the progress of learning. You may create a class, trace their result as well as see the record made by your students in games, which extremely advantageous in awakening students’ interest.

To sum up, this service offers a diverse range of functions: it is free and accessible, provides engaging exercises and games,  enables to trace students’ progess as well as to see the record made by students. Most importantly, it is simple and flexible tool in use which allows to learn new words easily and willingly.


To inspire!


People often feel powerful driving forces inside when they do interesting and exciting things. What kind of power is it and where does it come from? Recently I visited EXPO Speakers Club event and had a chance to listen to the speeches of some successful and creative Kazakhstani citizens. The story of Marat Omarov, founder of the “Eventica Group” company, drew my attention. Marat told us that for him the “idea” of any business was always valued higher than money and other material values. Dropping out of University and being a person without higher education degree, Marat didn’t want to work just for earning money, but only for self-satisfaction and self-affirmation. Luckily, he found the purpose of his life that fits in one word – inspire, to inspire, to inspire people. The point that became interesting for me after his speech is how inspiration and motivation can move education process toward the progress.

I found some answers in the work of Bowman (2011)  “Rethinking What Motivates and Inspires Students”. Author names intrinsic motivation and pride as the main mechanisms stimulating students to achieve new heights (p. 266). The quote of Katzenbach (2006) presented in the work seemed very meaningful for me: “the peak performers in life are seldom in pursuit of money or formal advancement except as validation of the pride they feel in their workplace achievements” (p. 59). In other words, teacher should develop students’ motivation and pay attention to the question of pride in class environment. A professional instructor knows about students’ interests and can direct their energy and desires into right way. It is always nice to see how students share their inspiration with group-mates.

Another group of authors (Williams, Nixon, Hennessy, Mahon & Adams, 2016) conducted a research on inspiring teaching and found out that the main element of comfortable inspiring environment in class is trust between students and teacher (p. 7). Moreover, researchers pointed out that educational process and curriculum should be “informative, engaging and challenging” in order to be inspiring (p. 10). As shown above, inspiration is a great force that can be beneficially used in education.

Dear readers, what are your thoughts about inspiration and motivation in education? Can inspiration help students move toward the progress?


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Bowman, R. (2011). Rethinking What Motivates and Inspires Students. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 84(6), 264–269. Retrieved from:

Katzenbach, J. R. (2006). Motivation beyond money: Learning from peak performers. Leader to Leader, 2006(41), 59. Retrieved from:

Znamenskaya, O. (2013). The secret of success from Marat Omarov. KursivKz. Retrieved from:

Williams, L., Nixon, S., Hennessy, C., Mahon, E., Adams, G., & Gritter, K. (2016). Inspiring to inspire: Developing teaching in higher education. Cogent Education, 3(1), 1154259. Retrieved from:

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The triangulation masters

Do you find it difficult to make an excuse for not telling some issues which you would not like to share even with close people?

It might be easy to recollect the time when your friends or parents were constantly asking different questions about an obscure issue. You see their eyes full of increasing curiosity and their attempts to paraphrase the question prompts afresh. You also guess that the meaning is unchangeable. Once you weaken the caution on the secret matter, you are caught. In this case the winners (your friends/parents) might celebrate their successful method of triangulation. People can use the triangulation method without learning a qualitative research design for discovering the truth.

Denzin (1978) identified four basic types of triangulation: data triangulation, investigator triangulation, theory triangulation, and method triangulation. However, there are people who use this methods without even knowing how scientists and scholars call them.  

The first reason for using this method is a simple human relationship which is connected with psychology. Close people are not usually unreasonably curious. They are eager to figure out important information for protecting and supporting you. It proves their care about you. In psychology “triangulation occurs when an outside person intervenes or is drawn into a conflicted or stressful relationship in an attempt to ease tension and facilitate communication.” (Triangulation, 2016, para. 1). This is mostly assumed to be the family therapy conducted by a professional therapist in a psychological council. However, close friends could also replace the therapist council if they are involved into problematic relationship. It is not mandatory to be a professional psychologist for urgent investigating and supporting a close friend or relative in need.  

Secondly, another field in which triangulation is widely practiced is the case investigation made by police officers. In order to identify important facts about a criminal case, inspectors use simple triangulation method for asking several questions repeatedly. Aftermath they check the suspects’ stability or changeability in responding. For instance, the triangulation of interests is a deep model applicable for a criminal court work. Altrichter et al. (2008) state that triangulation “gives a more detailed and balanced picture of the situation.” (p. 147). Although the aim of the usage is almost the same, we can say it is more serious since it decides whether the accused person is guilty or not. In parallel, this might remind you of the situation in school years when your parents were asking you a lot of questions about the broken vase or window at home, etc. aiming to figure out who was guilty. At that time they might seem to be police inspectors for you.

Thirdly, popular researchers Cohen and Manion (2000) determine the triangulation as an “attempt to map out, or explain more fully, the richness and complexity of human behavior by studying it from more than one standpoint.” (p. 254). The triangulation is taught in the research classes in higher educational institutions in order to teach students to conduct qualitative interviews. Using this method appears to be easy to understand and implement in practice for students as they used to do it habitually in informal everyday communication.  

Summing up we can state that time passes and triangulation becomes more and more popular among professionals of different fields. However, people automatically use triangulation methods successfully in everyday practice to solve their family or other issues for centuries because all methods are justified if they solve vital issues.

By the way, thank you to my mother who unintentionally encouraged me to choose the title of this blog post while our breakfast conversation recently.     


Cohen, L., & Manion, L. (2000). Research methods in education (5th ed.). UK: Routledge.

Denzin, N. (2006). Sociological methods: A sourcebook. Chicago, USA: Aldine Transaction.

Altrichter, H., Feldman, A., Posch, P. & Somekh, B. (2008). Teachers Investigate Their Work: An introduction to action research across the professions (2nd ed.). Oxon, USA: Routledge.

Mathias, D. (2004, September 3). The triangulation of interests fallacy. Retrieved March 2 2017 from  

Triangulation. (2016, August 1). Retrieved March 2 2017 from  

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Multilingual and multicultural club

Being multilingual is the strong advantage for living in multicultural society. The individual with the baggage of linguistic knowledge is flexible and universal. While talking in diverse languages he/she gains more than just communication, but the deeper understanding and, in some cases, the sense of belonging to the number of cultures. This ability shapes personal characteristics and creates the global person, who thinks broadly and globally. Living in multicultural society everyone can be involved in interethnic communication, but to make it beneficial for learning, discovering, growing personally and enabling new horizons? The answer is “Multilingual and Multicultural club”. The platform for gathering different people with different backgrounds in one place, which is beneficial for every participant. Learning languages; exploring new cultural values, traditional food, lifestyle, the upbringing of children in multiethnic families, ethics in the international context are the directions for discussing in this club.


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Firstly, this idea came to my mind when I started to mention that my son tries to speak with English speaking children and he repeats English words after them. At the same time, those kids learn Russian from my son. Nobody planned this learning activity, it is the natural process of communication. This situation shows us that the purpose of the language is the communication and learning languages just for knowing is the deadlock. As Cenoz (2013) mentioned: “Multilingual speakers use the languages at their disposal as a resource in communication, and as their repertoire is wider, they usually have more resources available than monolingual speakers” (Cenoz, 2013, p. 11). In other words, language is the resource for exploring the world. Therefore, the existence of Multilingual and Multicultural club is the beneficial platform, which will create the atmosphere of effortless learning of languages and cultures.

What for do we need Multilingual and Multicultural clubs? In this case, Hummon indicates “community identity answers the question, “Who am I?”, but does so by countering “Where am I?” or, more fundamentally, “Where in the landscape of community forms do I belong?”” (Hummon, 1990, p. 143). Exploring others, we explore ourselves, we deeply analyze our beliefs, actions, acts and views. By doing so we learn how to respect others, be friendly, perceive community and educate next generation.

Do Multilingual and Multicultural clubs exist in other countries? They do! There are numerous of such clubs in every country. Mostly they promote their activities in social media. They are Multilingual club in JapanVancouverMalaysiaSpain, UAE ,USA , etc. Multilingualism and multiculturalism are supported everywhere all around the world. There is an information about the Multilingual club in Karaganda at the Karaganda State Medical University.

Nazarbayev University itself is the multilingual and multicultural community which may serve as the foundation for the Multicultural and Multilingual club, that’s why I am sharing my idea with you for espousing and empowering the project with new thoughts and support. Together we can amplify the club and develop the social project for preparing children and their families for trilingual education. Moreover, with the help of this club, we will demystify the advantages of multilingualism or plurilingualism in the multicultural society.

*For taking active participation in this project please contact*


Hummon, D. M. (1990). Commonplaces: Community ideology and identity in American culture. SUNY Press, p.143.

Cenoz, J. (2013). Defining multilingualism. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics33, 3. p.11.

photo credit: Kazhigalieva A. (2017) Mapping project on languages and cultures of Kazakhstan, Retrieved from:

“Throw away the papers! E-learning is coming! … Is it really coming?”

gfnfmgmE-learning system in Kazakhstan has been working without any changes for about four years, and there are many obstacles towards it. In order to implement something from the very beginning, we need to try to look at the research projects that were conducted before to eliminate some problems. After reading the blog post “E-learning reform” with a substantial amount of evidence, I decided to add some other points to this issue in terms of untrained teachers problem in this system.

As Sommerville (2004) mentioned that “effective implementation of E-learning requires proper integration of the needs of both e-students and e-teachers into administrative, managerial and delivery systems” (as cited in Safavi, p.52, 2008). It is highlighted that the interconnection between all stakeholders and people who are responsible for the realization of the program is crucial. It is like a triangle system that should be connected with each other; otherwise, it will not be that triangle which we were planning to have. One of the research papers that was published by Boulton (2008) was held in the ICT equipped school in the United Kingdom. It showed that E-learning would take place in the curriculum of secondary schools, but the teachers had to be aware of the system. It is important to pay attention to the preparatory courses. The needs of teachers are to be trained, firstly, in order to meet the requirements of a new system. In other way, it will impact negatively the teaching and learning processes in schools in terms of traditional lessons which make students demotivated sometimes, and there will not be a place for transparency in the process of education.

Another research that was conducted by Bulgarian team was exploring Unified eLearning Environment for the schools (UNITE) (Nikolova, Georgiev & Gachev, 2008). UNITE does provide new information to the secondary schools’ students, and it varies traditional methods with innovative ones. The shortcoming among teachers was about some technical problems that were difficult to deal with, and computer literacy was lacking. The decision was to create for teachers some workshops; luckily, such workshops began to exist (Nikolova et al, 2008). It is great that this challenge had been noticed and the main step towards the solution was made. It would be better for Kazakhstani context to create these kinds of workshops as well.

By making these steps, we could minimize the shortcomings to a less number. It would positively impact the quality of lessons in terms of more innovative lessons which bring interest among students, and these steps would also lead to transparency in the educational process.



Boulton, H. (2008). Managing e-Learning: what are the Real Implications for Schools? The Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 6 (1), 11 – 18. Retrieved from

Nikolova, N., Georgiev, A., Gachev, G. (2008, January). The Challenges in the Secondary School e-Learning Process. ECEL 2008 – 7th European Conference on E-Learning.Sofia, Bulgaria: Sofia University – St. Kliment Ohridski

Safavi, A. A. (2008) Developing Countries and E-Learning Program Development, Journalof Global Information Technology Management, 11 (3), 47-64, DOI:  10.1080/1097198Х.2008.10856473

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