Humber College announced yesterday the majority of its programs will be delivered online for the upcoming fall semester, joining many other Canadian post-secondary institutions in the transition to online learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The college posted a statement on June 1 to its COVID-19 updates page on its plans for fall 2020, with most programs transitioning to online delivery and some moving forward with a mix of online and in-person delivery.
Emily Milic, public relations and communications manager for Humber, said the plan was created by a large team of academic representatives from each program, where the learning outcomes and requirements were used to determine which programs would have the online and in-person mix.
“Wherever is was necessary and safe to have in-person [courses], those are the ones that have those elements… and those that didn’t require it will be delivered online,” Milic said in a phone interview with Humber News.
The following graphic outlines the main points of Humber’s proposed Fall semester plan:
Students can expect to begin hearing more program-specific details on how their Fall semester will be conducted over the next couple of weeks, according to the statement from Humber.
While many of the finer details of the plan have yet to be released, many students do not agree with some of the college’s decisions so far.
Fernanda Lacerda and Thrinayana Kaipuram, two Humber students starting their third year of the 3D Animation program this fall, are critical of Humber’s decision to keep tuition rates the same, believing it will create a larger financial burden on international students.
Shortly after the fall term announcement, they launched a petition urging Humber to reduce tuition fees for programs that have moved online. They have more than 1,000 signatures so far.
Lacerda and Kaipuram, both international students, worry the financial burden of their program will be too much to bear, especially when they have little to no access to funding in Canada.
“[International students] don’t get any funding from the government,” Kaipuram said in a Zoom interview. “We are not supported. We don’t get CESB, and most of us don’t qualify for CERB because we couldn’t work enough part-time hours.”
“Most of the students [in 3D Animation] are being required to purchase the equipment to keep up with our assignments…and because it’s 3D, it’s going to be costly on top of fees that we already have to pay,” Lacerda said in a Zoom interview.
According to Milic, tuition fees are determined based on academic program delivery and college operations but are not specific to how programs are delivered.
“The cost has to do with cost of instruction, assessment, and administration of program delivery, which would still be ongoing,” she said.
However, Kaipuram believes the delivery method of courses should be something taken into account when it comes to tuition rates.
“The delivery does affect us, because the quality [of education] we receive in-person is completely different from what we receive online,” she said.
Although Milic understands the frustration many students may be going through, she said Humber’s current plan for fall 2020 is the best way to keep students safe while they continue their academic goals.
“It’s not where we wish to be, but the safety of staff and students has to be the guiding principle,” she said.