Mix of in-person, online learning gets mixed reaction from University of Alberta students

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WATCH ABOVE: University of Alberta students have selected their classes for the fall, but for some, it isn't panning out exactly as they expected. As Morgan Black reports, a mix of online and in-person learning is creating a mixed reaction – Aug 4, 2021

Students at the University of Alberta will head back to school in the fall, split between 80 per cent in-person learning and 20 per cent online.

Now, after selecting their classes, some students are surprised with where their learning will be based.

Brady Duiker will have two classes in person and one class — along with a lab — online.

“Lectures are better in person but that same information can be conveyed easier online,” Duiker said. “But the whole point of a lab is hands-on learning. That being online was confusing to me. They have the option to do it in person now.”

Duiker is entering his last year of a bachelor degree in science and kinesiology. He said he was surprised to learn he would still be doing a class online that he expected would be available in person.

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“Online has been less than ideal, but I tried to focus on the positives. I’m definitely glad it’s mostly over now,” he said.  It feels like I missed out a little bit by having labs online. It is what it is I guess.”

The International Students’ Association said the hybrid model is creating the opposite problem for students unable to return to campus due to a COVID-19-induced travel ban.

The ISA’s Gurbani Baweja said many students outside of Canada need more online options.

“It’s most problematic for students in the upper levels of their degree. They don’t need preliminary courses — and those are the ones being offered online,” Baweja said. “We have been hearing from hundreds of students who, while enrolling in classes, have noticed that some are in person.”

READ MORE: NDP, University of Alberta students demand freeze on post-secondary tuition hikes 

Baweja said the ISA wants the U of A to communicate a plan for Fall 2021 to accommodate and support international students.

“The financial burden on international students is a lot. Tuition plus travel from their home country to Canada because they don’t have access to direct flights,” Baweja said. “We’re really optimistic. We also want them to provide a deadline extension for students, if they feel they can’t travel to Canada. They can defer their degree and do it when they can travel to Canada.”

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Abner Monteiro with the University of Alberta Students’ Union said the university plans to move ahead with its June plan of offering the 80-20 split.

“That’s currently still the plan,” Monteiro said, “depending on the year of the course, the class sizes and the resources available to that faculty.”

Global News reached out to the University of Alberta for comment on Wednesday for more specifics on how in-person and online classes were chosen. This article will be updated when we receive a response.

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