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How technology can transform the Olympic Games experience into educational programs

RIOU Russia

Russian International Olympic University (RIOU) is an autonomous not-for-profit organization founded in 2009.

RIOU is the world's first university dedicated to sports business education, offering unique programs infused with Olympic values and experiences. RIOU's activities concentrate on training specialists in sports management for the Russian and international sports industry, and the Olympic and Paralympic Movements.

The University's educational programs cover the main aspects of sports education: venue and infrastructure management, competitions, mass communications, diplomacy and administration, and career management.

Learn how RIOU uses CYPHER to transform the knowledge gained during the Olympic Games into educational products.


Professor Lev Belousov, RIOU Rector: RIOU stands for Russian International Olympic University. It seems to be a strange mix - Russian and International. This is a unique combination because our educational institution itself is unique.

Our university plays a key role in the anti-doping promotion; we cover a wide variety of categories of sports managers, coaches, and athletes.

We don’t do only lectures or just seminars. We use all kinds of business games, cascade training, team building and a number of other tools. For these modern methods of education, we use a number of technical innovations.

When and why did you start using CYPHER?

Professor Lev Belousov, RIOU Rector: The pandemic has pushed us towards a hybrid form of teaching. However, I must tell you, we have thought about this before. Since 2016 we have been looking for a platform that would allow us to solve all educational problems. We have chosen CYPHER, and I must tell you that it was the best decision. First of all, it allows us to solve all didactic tasks simultaneously.

Alexander Smirnov, RIOU Head of IT: Since our students are in Russia as well as other countries, we needed an English interface. One of the criteria by which we selected an LMS was also an API system that would allow us to connect with various modules and software products.

Who are your students?

Veranika Hres, MSA Program Student: In Belarus, I am the Secretary-General of the Belarusian Athletics Federation, and among other things, I am the organizer of mass sports events. I came here to learn the best practices of teachers from all over the world and adopt and implement them at my sporting events.

Professor Lev Belousov, RIOU Rector: They really burn with the desire to become the best managers in the sports industry.

How do you accommodate users?

Alexander Smirnov, RIOU Head of IT: We do not have special support for users who study with CYPHER. They intuitively dive into the platform and usually have no questions. Teachers also like this system. They find it convenient; there are no complex interfaces or dependencies that need to be tracked to create a course.

How has CYPHER helped you to improve educational dynamics?

Sergey Serdyukov, RIOU Head of Distance Educational Programs Department: First of all, CYPHER allows assessing students’ knowledge quickly based on the unit results - for example, final testing. We can also measure the depth of students' learning over time in terms of creative tasks, such as essays or presentations that students upload to the system, which we can check.

Veranika Hres, MSA Program Student: You can easily find the necessary task that needs to be completed, instructions on how to do it; you can conveniently send an already prepared task, find the required learning materials, find out the deadlines, get to know the teachers, and contact them.

How has CYPHER helped you in your daily activities?

Sergey Serdyukov, RIOU Head of Distance Educational Programs Department: CYPHER provides an opportunity to set the timeframes, the deadlines, the number of given attempts. This frees up some of the teacher’s time when organizing the final certification and also puts all students on the same level.

Veranika Hres, MSA Program Student: It helps to systematize, monitor, control, and thus to make your learning process more intelligent, advanced, and modern.

Which LMS features are the most important to sportmen?

Sergey Serdyukov, RIOU Head of Distance Educational Programs Department: Adult sports students are accustomed to being in constant contact with their coach and with their mentor - with the person who constantly conducts their activities and training process. In this sense, when they come to university, they are very attentive and perceptive to what the teacher tells them. CYPHER's LMS helps the teacher a lot in this regard, in terms of communication with the student - both as a tool with instant messages, and a feedback form where the teacher can comment and give feedback on student-submitted work, for example.

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