Week 5: Online Teaching and Learning – THANK YOU

Colleagues,

How’s everyone holding up? Please tell me that you’re not all binge watching Tiger King…

Well, we’ve reached the end of the first week of final exams, and let’s just say it’s been an interesting ride. As always, thank you, thank you, thank you all for your continued efforts in making our ‘pivot’ to online teaching and learning a success. Special thanks to those of you who’ve spent a good deal of time getting your hands dirty under the hood of Canvas, sorting out the bugs and coming up with some slick workarounds for online exams.

You will have seen the announcement today that Summer Term 2 courses will be fully online. By way of a further update, we continue to push hard for some clarity on what is happening for Fall Term. As you can imagine, these discussions are complex, nuanced, and obfuscated with considerations of risk, impacts, wellbeing, finances, and so on. My position from last week has not changed – I still believe that there is a high likelihood of being fully (or at least mostly) online in September. One solution that has been proposed is some sort of a blended/hybrid model (remote and in-person teaching), but this leads to all kinds of tricky issues. For instance, can we reasonably provide high quality instruction to students in different time zones? And is there enough classroom space at UBC to teach to students who are required to physically distance by two metres (spoiler alert – the answer is no).

So, where does that leave us? Well, there will be much more on this coming your way as things evolve. But as I said last week, the most sensible approach would be to start planning now, and to spend some time thinking about ways in which we can continue to provide the high quality of education that the Faculty of Forestry has become known for. Again, the materials that you develop over the summer can be used in any context or modality. And it is worth noting that, if things turn around, the pivot from online to in-person teaching is considerably easier than what we just went through.

Enjoy your weekends. Stay safe and well,
Rob

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