The Science of COVID Introduced as New Special Topics Course
Tonight, the Algoma University Board of Governors learned about plans for a different approach to Spring/Summer programming. As a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic, all courses will be delivered remotely through technologically assisted instruction.
With a primary focus on maintaining a positive student experience, Asima Vezina, President and Vice-Chancellor of Algoma University, shared that the University had already been developing productive relationships with two very strong distance education providers. As part of a comprehensive strategy, and given the magnitude of the task at hand, the University’s Senate made the decision to delay the start date of the Spring/Summer term to June 1st. “We’ve taken this time to engage Contact North and PowerED by Athabasca to help our faculty mobilize quickly. These partners are bringing world-class technology systems and expertise, ongoing student and faculty support, and professional development opportunities for our faculty as they prepare to teach over 100 courses this term,” noted Dr. Donna Rogers, Provost and Academic Dean.
“Sars Cov2, which produces the illness called COVID-19, has impacted the lives of people all over the world. Just as widespread has been the coordinated efforts by scientists to understand and hopefully develop treatments for the infected, and vaccines for the rest. This course will explore the science behind the pandemic and the coronavirus, including the political, psychological, environmental, and of course biological science related to the novel coronavirus and how the world has responded to it. The course will enable students to critically digest and understand the current situation using a scientific perspective.” – Dr. Jennifer Foote, Associate Professor and Chair, Biology and Environmental Science
Vezina acknowledged the role of local MPP and Minister of Colleges and Universities (MCU) Ross Romano and his team at MCU for their support and initial facilitation with Contact North; a not-for-profit corporation established by the government in 1986. “Contact North | Contact Nord is pleased to support Algoma University and its faculty to move their classes to faculty-led remote teaching in record time and coach them to effectively utilize our remote teaching platform,” stated Maxim Jean-Louis, President-Chief Executive Officer, Contact North.
“We are creating deliberate learning intended to ensure that students master the knowledge, skills, and capabilities needed to complete their studies wherever you are in the world, connected to our faculty.” – Dr. Linda Burnett, Associate Academic Dean-Faculty Affairs.
Launching a strong, high-quality Spring/Summer program was essential to maintaining the overall fiscal and operational health of the University in uncertain and unprecedented times, Vezina explained.
Board members were given a peek into the course offerings, which included: a new special topics course being designed by the Biology, Environmental Science, Psychology and Health Sciences departments called The Science of COVID; an English course called Fantasy, and Geography’s Climate Change and Communities. The presenters shared that they expect that many courses on the Spring/Summer roster will appeal to community members who may wish to upgrade skills, take courses for personal interest or want to start a new program/new career during this time.