Carleton students disappointed with switch to online courses for winter semester

ByMike V. Cooper

Nov 22, 2021
A petition calling for transparency from Carleton University on the method of course delivery has more than 4,000 signatures on November 21. [Photo from Screengrab]

Carleton University announced by email on November 15 that changes had been made to the winter 2022 course schedule.

Classes that were scheduled to be delivered in person next semester have moved to an online format.

“The date and time of your classes will have remained the same, but the type of class (in person or online) may have changed,” the email announcement read.

In less than a week, an upload petition The university’s call for transparency around the decision to provide courses has collected more than 4,000 signatures.

The move came as a surprise to many students, like Edidiong Okon, a sophomore software engineering student, who left Nigeria for Ottawa last month, expecting his winter classes to be in person. All four of Okon’s courses are now online.

“The fact that I’m here is an additional financial responsibility. I’m paying for the residency and now I don’t even think I need that room because this situation here, like studying online, is basically the same as back home, ”Okon said.

Chris Babcock, a sophomore global and international studies student living with his family in Malawi, said he plans to move to Ottawa this winter to attend his five scheduled classes in person. He only has one.

Babcock said he is unsure why the changes were made and is hopeful the university will overturn their decision and revert their classes to an in-person format.

Francesca Lepore, a second year student in Global and International Studies, said online learning makes it difficult to build relationships with peers.

“There are so many people I have from my Zoom classes that I haven’t had a chance to meet and the online environment really doesn’t promote community,” said Lepore.

Lepore, from Vancouver, British Columbia, said three of his four courses have been moved online.

“In the future, the university must have better communication. They have to be a lot more transparent with big issues like this, ”Lepore said.

Steven Reid, spokesperson for the university, wrote in an email to the charlatan that when the students registered for winter classes in July, the delivery method was not yet finalized. He said that as a result, when the mode was determined, some courses moved from in person to online.

“The change has caused understandable confusion and disappointment, and we’re sorry for that,” the email read.

The winter trimester will include about 50 percent of in-person classes, up from 30 percent that were in-person this trimester, according to Reid. He advised students to continue to review their class schedule for changes.

Anthony Valenti is a second year global and international student and program advisor for the Carleton Academic Student Government (CASG).

Valenti said he urged the elected student representatives of the Board of Governors (BoG), the Rideau River Residence Association (RRRA) and the Carleton University Student Association (CUSA) to speak with the administration on behalf of the affected students. by these changes.

“I want to see activism. I want to see a plea, ”Valenti said. “It is crucial that our student leaders are in constant contact with their colleagues to advocate well in a way that is not performative. “

Amy Hinchey, president of the Society for the Bachelor of Global and International Studies (BGInS), said she heard from many “frustrated” and “disappointed” students over Monday’s changes.

Hinchey said the BGInS Society was looking to reach out to the university, but she, like others who spoke to the charlatan, do not know who is causing the changes.

CGSA President Jennifer Ramnarine and CUSA Vice President (Student Issues) Vera Valentina Gonzalez maintained a live Instagram account on Thursday afternoon to update students on the situation after meeting with the Vice President. (students and enrollment) from Carleton University, Suzanne Blanchard.

“What Suzanne basically said is that even though they don’t have to distance themselves socially, they don’t have to respect those capacity limits, they will do it because they want to prioritize security measures, ”Ramnarine said.

In a letter Sent to the president and president of the university on April 15, the Carleton University Scenario Planning Working Group (CUSP) noted that although the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities has announced that courses in person can resume without physical distancing, tThe group recommended that the university continue to adhere to Ottawa Public Health guidelines for physical distancing.

Reid wrote in the email that the next few semesters would be closer to normal.

“Notwithstanding any changes due to the ongoing pandemic, we anticipate a return to more conventional course delivery and primarily in-person classes by Spring / Summer 2022,” Reid wrote.


Featured image from Screengrab.