Professors adapted courses for the virtual environment. Many faculty made use of resources from UFV’s IT Services department, which ensured the right technology for optimum learning, and the UFV Teaching and Learning Centre, which hired additional learning specialists to facilitate the transition to online.
There are a few programs where a hybrid model has been activated. Approximately 15 percent of UFV students will be on campus for a portion of their studies — mainly in areas that have strong hands-on or clinical components. These include trades and technical programs like welding and culinary arts, health science areas such as nursing and dental assistant, and some science labs. UFV has implemented stringent steps to help keep students and faculty safe through physical distancing, use of masks, plexiglass barriers, smaller groups, frequent cleaning regimens, and personal protective equipment.
Many faculty members already have considerable experience teaching in a virtual space that now boasts synchronous (everyone gathers at the same time) and asynchronous (students log in when convenient for them) learning, videos, virtual break-out meeting rooms, live polling, and two-way communication.
“We’re here to help. Faculty at UFV have spent the summer refining online courses to ensure student success and we’ll be communicating as frequently as possible with our students. We want them to enjoy and benefit from their education!” says Mai Anh Doan, a communications professor at UFV.
Online support resources offer guidance and information for students new to this environment and student services such as advising, counselling, accessibility, financial aid, and registration are all offered virtually.
Students can still enjoy a variety of university experiences including clubs, academic tutoring, and online recreational activities.
Many students enrolled in Smart Start, an online orientation that included modules on culture and conduct, wellness and success, prepping for class, and how to get involved in university life. UFV also held an online welcome ceremony attended live by hundreds and viewed later by over a thousand.
“Our faculty and staff have faced these uncertain and challenging times with extraordinary leadership, collaboration, and flexibility. It has made me prouder than ever to be a part of the UFV community. We will continue to engage learners and transform lives by providing exceptional learning opportunities and supporting our students in this new and complex environment,” said Dr. Joanne MacLean, UFV President and Vice-Chancellor.
For more information about learning online at UFV, go to www.ufv.ca/online.