Carleton University considers smaller or online classes next fall

Students attending Carleton University next fall may find that large classes are replaced by online courses or other alternatives.


In a post on Tuesday, Carleton president Benoit-Antoine Bacon gave a hint of what students might expect in September.


Restrictions on large gatherings and international travel put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 probably won’t be fully lifted by then, wrote Bacon.


“While it is too early to speculate about what September will look like exactly, it is difficult to imagine a return to full international mobility, and a complete lifting of physical distancing measures that would allow the return of large gatherings in confined spaces.”


That would suggest that large lectures with several hundred students are not likely. Classes at Carleton range from as low as 10 students to as high as 400, said a spokesperson.


“I would encourage deans and department heads to engage their units in discussions on how to best use digital technologies as alternatives to large classes, and as important options for international students who may be delayed in returning to Canada,” said Bacon.


The university has set up a team of experts to study how courses might be conducted. They are expected to be able to “narrow the range of scenarios” by mid May.

Changes might also be made to physical spaces on campus.


“It goes without saying that in doing so the safety of students, faculty and staff will be our first priority,” wrote Bacon. “Social distancing will almost certainly remain part of our reality, in one form or another, and we will soon engage unit heads in how to start preparing our physical spaces in anticipation of an eventual progressive return to campus.”


Bacon said it’s likely that Canada will follow the lead of Germany, Denmark and other European countries in lifting confinement measures partially and gradually.


“Almost certainly, however, the very last measures to be lifted will be those around assembly in large groups and restrictions on international travel, which would continue to pose challenges for post-secondary institutions.”


The same dilemma is faced by colleges and universities around the world.


In the U.S., a survey of 210 college officials found that just more than half were considering putting the fall semester entirely online, according to a report in USA Today. The survey found that two-thirds of colleges were also considering offering more online courses than the year previous.


And a handful of colleges were considering delaying the start of the fall semester or shortening it, said the report.


A report by National Public Radio said some U.S. colleges were considering hybrid options, with smaller classes held in person and larger classes going online.


At the University of Ottawa, officials say they are “developing scenarios to be ready to return to normal or near-normal operations on campus as soon as circumstances permit,” but have not yet released any more details.


Ontario university students are now completing their winter semester in drastically altered circumstances after school buildings closed in March.


Carleton, the University of Ottawa and other post-secondary institutions across the province shifted classes online.


Grading has been altered, too. Students at Carleton are allowed to choose either a letter grade for this semester’s courses or a “satisfactory-not satisfactory” option.


At UOttawa the same grading option was offered at the discretion of faculties and professors.


At Carleton University, convocation ceremonies have been postponed for about 5,000 students set to graduate this spring.


UOttawa also cancelled its spring convocation and promises a “reimagined” ceremony but no details have been released.


The University of Toronto announced Tuesday that it would broadcast a virtual convocation ceremony in June, followed by in-person ceremonies hosted by various academic divisions later when it’s safe to do so.


Many universities are offering summer courses online, including Carleton and uOttawa.


Carleton is offering 1,000 summer courses, maintaining more than 95 per cent of its regular summer offering, says the university.


Carleton and UOttawa have also pushed back payment deadlines for summer courses, waived athletics fees for the summer term since facilities are not operating, and suspended the OC-Transpo bus pass program for the summer.

Original Article found HERE. 

Recent News
Browse News