MRU classes to be online for Fall 2020 due to COVID-19
By Karina Zapata, Publishing Editor
Classes in the Fall 2020 semester will be delivered primarily through alternative formats, such as online, according to an early announcement by Mount Royal University’s President, Tim Rahilly, on June 1. There are limited exceptions for courses that require in-person attendance.
This announcement was made after MRU staff had to make an emergency switch from in-person classes to online classes in mid-March, following the Government of Alberta’s COVID-19 guidelines.
“Unlike the Winter 2020 semester when the transition to alternative delivery was fast, we now have time to take what we learned and strengthen the student experience,” says Rahilly.
The online announcement came as a shock to many students, considering other universities with bigger class sizes in the city, such as the University of Calgary, have yet to share their plans for the semester. Additionally, according to a previous email about navigating classes around COVID-19, MRU’s official decision was supposed to be made and announced by the end of June.
“We could wait to get a definitive answer, but that will not give all of you — students, instructors and staff — time to prepare,” says Rahilly.
Students in the following faculties may have courses that require in-person attendance:
– Health, Community & Education
– Science & Technology
The full list of in-person courses for the Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 semesters can be found here. The website states, “Please note that courses in this list may include both online and in-person components in a combined method of delivery. And, not all in-person course components are delivered on our campus.”
There are many challenges that come with online education, including a lack of access to technology, a lack of face-to-face engagement between students and professors, various learning styles that make it difficult for students to learn virtually and more.
Additionally, due to businesses shutting down in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, many students — who often work part-time jobs for flexibility during the school year — are struggling financially.
To prepare students for online education, MRU has launched workshops and other virtual supports. Further, the New Student Orientation — typically done in-person before the semester begins — is now offered online. Updates for further in-person services and non-academic activities will come closer to September.
To help students with financial needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, MRU has opened the Emergency Student Bursary Fund, which allows people to donate directly to “address urgent financial needs for students including bill payments, medical expenses, transportation and childcare.”
If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, call HealthLink 811 and follow all guidelines set out by Alberta Health Services. If you recently traveled outside Canada or were exposed to someone known to have COVID-19, do not leave your home for the next 14 days.