A tentative light at the end of the tunnel of remote learning

IMAGE BY SARA SHEIKH / THE SPUTNIK PHOTOGRAPHY

 

For the first time in history, Wilfrid Laurier University looks to finish a full academic year in a mainly-remote environment. 

However, the following academic year of 2021-2022 sees the potential for golden hawks to return to campus.

On Jan. 20, VP Academic released an email to the Laurier student body, sharing that the 2021 spring, intersession and summer term would be delivered primarily remotely. 

The email cites that remote delivery was decided, “given the continued public health risks presented by COVID-19 in Ontario.”

There have been no additional announced changes to the method of delivery for spring term courses, and as of now, the term isn’t expected to look any different than the fall and winter semesters in terms of programming and academics.

Associate professor Mark Davidson anticipates that the spring term may go better for students than previous.

“I think it may be a little bit easier, because students will … be spending less time online and they’ll also be able to get outside and you know, get some air and sunshine and socialize a little outside at least, and I think that will help engagement,” said Mark Davidson, associate professor on the Brantford campus.

The official announcement of a remote spring term means that the academic year of 2020-2021 is Wilfrid Laurier University’s first official academic year operating in a mainly remote environment. 

On March 16, 2020, Laurier officially discontinued in-person instruction for all courses. Since then, academics, students services and programming has been delivered mainly remotely. Over the past year, student services and programming transitioned to online delivery.

In fall 2021, the university welcomed a new batch of students online, and professors continued to teach classes over video conferencing platforms and recorded videos.

However, the upcoming academic year of 2021-2022 could see a return to campus.

“We are pleased to share that as we look ahead to Fall 2021, we are planning and preparing for a return to campus and to offer as many undergraduate and graduate courses in person as possible within public health guidelines,” said an email from VP Academic, released to the Laurier student body on Jan. 28. 

However, since public health restrictions may still be in place in fall, the email cautions that, “these requirements may limit Laurier’s ability to offer certain kinds of courses, especially very large ones, on our campuses.”

Regardless, many look eagerly to the potential of seeing others in-person, on campus. 

“I am jubilous,” said Davidson,“I am afraid I’m going to break down into tears when I see my students–that’s how happy I am that I’m going to be able to connect with them in person.” 

For students who would rather stick to online learning, remote options will be available to accommodate their preference. Over the coming months, more details about how the plan to return to campus will be released to students as the situation evolves.

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