Online learning option may be here to stay for some N.S. universities
HALIFAX -- Some Maritime post-secondary schools say online learning may be here to stay even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
The majority of classes have been moved online, while a small percentage of students are still having in-person classes.
Nick Bode is a chemistry student at Dalhousie University in Halifax, who still attends labs on campus. He says he feels somewhat fortunate to have some time on campus during these unusual times.
"Just the idea that they don't get to see anybody and they're trying to do everything at home," said Bode.
Robert Summerby-Murray is the president of St. Mary’s University in Halifax. He says online learning has opened up a whole new world of educational opportunities, which is why their campus is likely to keep that option available. He also says he doesn't see the change translating into smaller campuses or fewer resources needed.
"Do we need that number of large lecture theatres or do we need a set of video recording studios? So, I wouldn't necessarily see us downsize space, but I would see some space reallocations, some different forms of infrastructure requirements," said Summerby-Murray.
Other schools are also leaning towards the same decision.
Officials with Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax say although they are anxious to get back to in-person classes, they agree online options are likely here to stay. The campus has already had a long history of distance learning.
Dalhousie University was already offering a small number of courses online before the pandemic began. They say they’ll continue to assess the situation, but fully expect to have more online classes when COVID-19 is gone.
Officials with the Nova Scotia Community College also anticipate blended learning options.
Although many universities say virtual learning is here to stay, none are suggesting tuition would drop, citing high costs to set up and maintain the online offerings.
"I'd like to see those financials just to know, where is this money actually going," said Bode.