The article is devoted to generalization of the first experience of mass distance learning received in the conditions of the coronavirus pandemic. The author of the article points out that a lot of debates in domestic universities about organizing distance learning for students, when diametrically opposed points of view were expressed about its effectiveness and inefficiency, necessity and uselessness, etc. could be observed. It is noted that in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, domestic universities had to switch to using distance learning methods when teaching students. Research methods: reviews and articles of teachers and university specialists on the first results of the organization of distance learning for students in domestic universities in the conditions of the coronavirus pandemic as well as the method of participatory observation and conversations with university lecturers. Results of research. The majority of Russian universities were not ready for such a simultaneous and complete transition to distance learning. This is due to the fact that neither teachers nor students were prepared for such a critical situation, which had never been before and was not supposed to be. Nevertheless, teachers and students since the beginning of the crisis have established communications by their usual means using social networks and e-mail. The transition to information platforms, which were created at the university to control the learning process, led to new problems, as it was necessary to restructure the work of both teachers and students, increasing the tension of their work, often without the possibility of obtaining technical support for the transition to new platforms.