Queen’s University students will be heading back to the classroom later this month after switching to virtual learning after the winter break.
The transition to full in-person academic activities is set for Feb. 28th.
St. Lawrence College will return next month, but Royal Military College has already returned to in-class learning.
In-person learning has been happening here at the military college for about a week and a half now.
“From the beginning we had a four part plan to return to classes,” says Dr. Phil Bates, Vice Principal of Academics at RMC.
“That’s students in Kingston, profs willing to teach, local health and safety conditions permit and having a health and safety plan in place.”
In chemical engineering product design class, the students are happy to be back.
“It’s great to see all of my fellow students,” says Sebastian Lees, a fourth year officer cadet.
“It’s been two years since I’ve last seen them.”
Lees says there’s something special about being back.
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“There’s a lot to say about on-line learning,” he says.
“I find it good for time management, but from a productivity and motivational perspective, I get a lot more done and I feel a lot better completing work in person when I can collaborate with my fellow students and professors more.”
One of the people calling the shots agrees that in-class, in-person learning really is better.
Read more: Coronavirus: RMC to send 300 officer cadets home after fall break to finish semester remotely
“To be able to see the cadets and see their faces, obviously they’re still masked up, but it’s easier to determine do they understand, are they following and I can adjust my teaching style to that,” says Bates.
“It’s easier to engage in discussion. I think we’ve all experienced discussions … on Zoom or on the phone, it’s not quite as easy and that’s one of the things that I appreciate about in-person teaching.”
A fourth-year student in business administration and economics is also pleased to leave the online learning world behind.
“Definitely it’s a lot easier to concentrate in person and having people like-minded right beside me,” says Officer Cadet Xiao Fan Wang, a fourth-year business administration and economics student.
“Physically I think really challenges me to be a better person and be a better person in that sense.”
School officials say around 800, or two-thirds of the student population, is back in the classroom and more will return in time.