Faculty of Arts & Science: online option for “nearly all” fall 2020 courses, likely for winter 2021

Classes with over 200 people will likely be held entirely virtually
The Faculty of Arts & Science confirmed an online-only option for Fall 2020.
SHANNA HUNTER/THE VARSITY
The Faculty of Arts & Science confirmed an online-only option for Fall 2020. SHANNA HUNTER/THE VARSITY

The Faculty of Arts & Science (FAS) has confirmed that students will not need to be physically present on campus for the fall 2020 semester, writing in an updated Q&A that “nearly all” classes will have an online option. The FAS is also in the process of extending its guarantee for an online option through the winter 2021 semester.

These new guidelines come after the university’s initial announcement of a mixed online and in-person fall semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To accommodate the planning students need to do before the school year begins, Arts & Science is in the process of extending its commitment to online access to courses that start in January,” the FAS announced today, noting that more information about the winter semester will be available in late June.

For classes that will be taught both in-person and online, there will be limited space for students choosing to attend in-person. The FAS also revealed that course sections with over 200 people will likely be held entirely online to comply with public health guidelines.

If a student is in a program that requires an in-person component, then the program will contact them directly about next steps to fulfill those requirements, according to the Q&A. 

Students will not be able to switch between in-person and online sections, and must stay in the section they have registered for. Full-year courses will also not switch instructional methods during the year, since courses that begin online will remain so, and students enrolled in an online section of a full-year course can complete it that way through the winter 2021 semester. All assignments and exams for students in an online section of a course can be completed online. 

It’s likely that students will not be able to complete the entire semester asynchronously. The FAS noted that, while most course material will be delivered asynchronously, some course material, such as tutorials or labs, may require that students are online at the same time as the material is delivered. 

Students in different time zones who enrol in courses with synchronous learning components “should not expect alternative scheduling options,” noted the Q&A. Students will be able to view more information about course delivery when the Arts & Science timetable is released in late June.

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