Home Online Work Carleton students ‘disappointed’ as university shifts in-person courses online

Carleton students ‘disappointed’ as university shifts in-person courses online


Ava van den Boom said she was nearly in tears when she called her parents this week to tell them all her courses for the winter term at Carleton University had been moved online.

“It’s really isolating to just sit here all day on my computer, at my desk, rather than actually going and attending classes and meeting new people and meeting your professors,” van den Boom said.

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The 18-year-old is in her first year of childhood and youth studies at Carleton University and, as of last week, expected three of her five courses for the winter semester to be in person.

Then on Monday, Carleton’s registrar’s office sent an email to students advising them to review their winter timetable for changes to course schedules.

The date and time stayed the same, but the course delivery type changed.

WATCH | Carleton switches back to virtual learning, leaving students frustrated and upset

Carleton switches back to virtual learning, leaving students frustrated and upset

First-year Carleton University student Ava van den Boom says she chose to live on campus because she was anticipating in-person classes and wanted to avoid a commute from Kanata. Now that classes are virtual again, she says she’s questioning that decision. 0:48

‘Why am I here spending this much money’

Van den Boom said she was “super disappointed” to see her courses moved online and had she known her first year was going to be all virtual, she would have saved money and lived at home in the west-end community of Kanata instead of in residence.

“Why am I here spending this much money just to sit in my room all day watching videos on my computer, of my classes when I should be in person,” van den Boom said.

In a written statement, the university said “all return-to-campus decisions are made with the health and wellness of students, faculty and staff as our top priority.”

The statement went on to say the school was offering more in-person courses than were offered during the fall across all departments.

It said about 50 per cent of courses in the winter term would be in person, with online courses available to maximize flexibility for students. The university said it offered only 40 per cent in-person classes in the fall. 

A spokesperson for the university said Carleton was working with its departments this week and next to add more in-person classes to the schedule to meet demand. 

The university hopes to return to normal class delivery by the 2022 spring/summer semester. 

WATCH | Switch back to online learning leaves science students in a bind, student says

Online learning affecting mental health

Jennifer Ramnarine, president of the Carleton Academic Student Government, said she has been inundated with emails from frustrated students since the changes were announced.

“Students with strong feelings of shock and disappointment and confusion over the fact that the plans they’ve made for this semester, the way they saw it happening, the way they expected their education to look has just changed without warning,” Ramnarine said.

An online petition asking Carleton to show transparency in their course delivery decision had already garnered more than 2,600 signatures by Wednesday afternoon.

Carleton University says it continues to update courses for the winter 2022 term. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

“The students are alone in their room. They work, study, eat, sleep in the same place. It really has a toll on your mental health,” Ramnarine added.

As president, Ramnarine said her job is to help create an open stream of communication between the student body and administration, but the school didn’t give her any heads up that these changes were coming.

She would like to see the school apologize to students for the way the amendments rolled out.

Carleton said changes to the winter 2022 course schedules are continuing this week. It advises students to continues monitoring their course schedules “as we further increase in-person sections due to demand.”

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