University of Manitoba to offer course on COVID-19

The University of Manitoba is set to see a new course debut in the anthropology program this fall -- one that's all about COVID-19. Global News File

The University of Manitoba announced it will offer a course on the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic to a new batch of students next fall.

Put on by the anthropology department, the course — which is still under development — will focus on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected our lives.

The idea came about after the institution moved its classes online in mid-March.

“The last few weeks of the semester, we began looking at the pandemic and what had been written about it,” Dr. Lara Rosenoff Gauvin says. “A lot of students chose to do their final papers on it, and I thought it was a valuable time for the class and myself to come together.”

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After a great response from her students, the assistant anthropology professor decided it would be a good idea to continue educating her students on the topic.

“We’re going to look at how we’ve responded to it, and how people’s responses have differed around the world and in different positions.”

It will also include an extensive look at how the media has covered the pandemic, particularly in North America, where Canadians and Americans watched it unfold overseas for months before it finally arrived on their shores.

Dr. Rosenoff Gauvin adds it’s an important chance to showcase what anthropology means during a pandemic.

“I think for someone studying anthropology, it’s important to understand how they can be useful in today’s world or when looking at challenges we face.”

Online learning presents challenges for students and professors across the university, including Rosenoff Gauvin, who is currently reworking her learning materials for the upcoming online semester.

But she adds it’s also an opportunity.

“(The course) is very much about changing perspectives and examining our own assumptions, and a lot of that is done in our private moments. It’s very self-exploratory.”

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Rosenoff Gauvin is set to debut the course this fall for fourth-year and graduate anthropology students.

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