Red River College will deliver all possible programs and services through online delivery for the full term in fall 2020.
This decision allows appropriate planning to take place to ensure the delivery of quality online programming, and to ensure that students know what to expect for the coming fall term.
While the College is focused on online delivery for the fall, planning is also underway to allow a limited return of some on-campus activities if and when public health directives permit it. Should this happen, priority will be given to hands-on training that was delayed and restricted to those students who are nearing graduation but have one or two outstanding courses.
Even if social distancing measures begin to relax, it is expected the majority of fall programs and services will be delivered online.
The high-caliber hands-on, applied and experiential learning opportunities that have always set Red River College apart pose unique challenges in the face of social distancing requirements. Our planning includes, by necessity, nimble and innovative solutions to these challenges in an environment where public safety regulations may change at a moment’s notice.
Planning Design and Principles
- Safety first. Everything we do we will do safely and in compliance with provincial health guidelines and recommendations.
- Quality program delivery is paramount. Courses that are offered must be able to meet the expectations of students, employers, and industry partners in terms of quality and outcomes. Students should have a comparable level of education regardless of the medium of delivery.
- Online where we can. Given the challenges with returning to campus, classes that can be offered online, should be planned to be offered online for the fall term. This will free space for catchup and hands-on work, reduce the students on campus, and help support international students who may not be able to attend campus or may be delayed in their arrival in Canada.
- Future-proof design. New programs should consider online delivery as part of their design. Whether though disaster recovery, pandemic response or response to other emergent situations, Business Continuity Planning must be considered in design.
- Financial viability. Programs need to be financially viable and sustainable, and the resources applied to ensure proper delivery must be appropriate, using budget as a guide. The financial impacts of decisions need to be well understood and vetted appropriately.
- The College will be changed. There are opportunities for positive change out of these events. The College will be different when we return to normal and we should take every advantage of the learnings and opportunities that arise to meet the evolving needs of our students, advance pedagogy, and respond to industry. This includes:
- Advancing the use of blended and online learning.
- Respond to new opportunities and new markets emerging as a result of the pandemic.
- Using our space in new and different ways
- Offering services in expanded hours and days of use. Ie: student services, courses, IT, libraries, food services, eTV, etc..
- Conservative approach. We will err on the side of caution when deciding what programs to offer, how they are offered, and when to return to campus.
- Catchup is prioritized. Hands-on, experiential labs and classes that have been delayed will be given priority when determining what to offer on campus and which students will have access to the programs. Further, priority will be given to students close to graduation.
- Experiential delivery is prioritized for on-campus programming. Hands-on, experiential labs and classes are a key component of our educational philosophy and the success of our students.
- Labs and classes that cannot be held online, are given priority when considering what programs to offer on campus.
- We need to be innovative with what is considered applied or hands-on learning, and how we can provide applied learning in different ways.
- College and system response. While being attentive to our unique situation and making the right choices for our programs, students, industry partners, and College community, we will work to respond with other Post-Secondary Institutions as a System, synchronizing our approaches and aligning with Government.
- All hands on deck. This is a significant effort for the College and, aside from delivering programming right now, planning and preparing for the fall is our top priority. The College, as an entity, and as individuals, will support faculty and staff in their preparations and delivery.
Definitions and Guides
ESSENTIAL IN-PERSON DELIVERY
In general, if a component of a course can be delivered in online form, it should be delivered in online form.
Essential, in terms of what programs, or parts of programs, must be delivered in-person is defined as:
- The physical use of tools or equipment where alternatives are not possible.
- Learning outcomes that cannot (due to any physical or technical limitations, regulations or accreditation requirements) be delivered in online forms.
- In-person delivery, where barriers to educations exist that can only be addressed through in-person delivery
Courses and programs will be given priority as follows when determining what will be offered in the fall including who will have access to in-person delivery. Within this, priority is given to essential labour market needs.
- Courses/programs where students are close to graduation, with consideration for the closeness to graduation.
- Incomplete components of programs
- Deferred programs
- Programs that require essential/hands on in the first term in order to run
- Programs that require essential/hands on in subsequent terms in order to run
- Corporate training where the training is essential to the industry
Deferring and delaying in-person programming is creating a backlog. Some of this is addressed by scheduling catchup work in the fall, and prioritizing essential hands-on delivery when on-campus work can resume. When planning a program where scheduling would create a backlog:
- Consider whether the backlog created by delays or deferral would make delivery impossible
- Consider reduced intake to reduce impact of backlog
- Consider delayed start / staggered start to reduce impact of backlog