Expect more online learning options in the future
Despite finding it challenging at times, many students have adapted to this new way of learning
By Amir Khan
Transition to the online delivery of lessons in post-secondary institutions such as Langara College has been a learning experience for students and instructors.
Ray Gutierrez, a first-year associate degree student in family studies, says that after taking a two-year hiatus after high school, the online format had him feeling nervous.
“For me, an in-person learning experience would’ve been better, but my instructors that I’ve had for my first semester were really good and they helped organize the course in a way that put my mind at ease and made it a lot easier for me to ease my way back into school after a long time,” said Gutierrez.
Adapting to change
The onset of the pandemic last March forced instructors at Langara to adapt to teaching online, seemingly overnight. The teaching staff had to work in tandem with the departments of educational technology and teaching and curriculum to move material online in a matter of weeks.
The adjustment caused instructors like Kina Cavicchioli, department chair for creative writing, to re-evaluate and restructure her courses for an online audience, while attempting to convey her passion for the material she teaches.
Cavicchioli says that the combination of enthusiasm for her courses and understanding the challenges presented by the pandemic for her students created a learning experience for herself as an educator.
“I started realizing there are things I’ve done for 15 years that maybe aren’t that great, even in person. I’m going to be teaching this course very differently in the future,” Cavicchioli said.
“The best teaching moments in the last few semesters were when everyone was kind of just human together and students were able to share how tough things were for them and instructors were able to share how they were struggling.”
Online classes have offered students an advantage for studying course material. Most instructors record their lessons, which allows students to replay what was said during a lecture.
Rebecca Liu, a third-year under-graduate honours student at the University of British Columbia, says that recording lectures allows students to study more effectively.
“I think what would be cool is if they keep the recorded lecture format when we go back to in-person schooling, I think that’s something that would be beneficial for students,” Liu said.
While the question of when the return to on-campus learning remains unclear, post-secondary students can expect tuition increases, despite studying under the online format.
As of Sept. 21, 2020, Statistics Canada reported a nationwide increase in tuition. Full-time under-graduate and graduate students now pay an average of $6,580 and $7,304 respectively. International students have seen an increase and now pay around $32,019 and $19,252 respectively.
Langara College has recently announced a tuition hike of two percent for domestic students, which is expected to be applied by summer semester. The college cited the lack of on-campus food and beverage and parking revenue, as well as the cost of maintaining an online infrastructure for learning, as some of the reasons for the increase.