Summer Online Semester Begins May 25
Centennial College students now have the opportunity to meet their educational goals and work towards advancing or launching their careers from the comfort of their personal living spaces. That’s because, in response to the physical distancing requirements of the COVID-19 pandemic, the College is offering 23 programs whose summer semester has been redesigned to be completely compatible with online delivery.
Centennial’s ability to demonstrate such a high level of flexibility in its response is ushering in a new era of increased access to education that goes beyond the summer semester, says the school’s Associate Vice President, International Education.
“You don’t have to put your education or career goals on hold,” says Virginia Macchiavello. “This online learning opportunity reaches a number of demographics, from recent high school graduates to international students. It will give anyone sitting at home social distancing a purpose.”
To prepare for the summer semester’s May 25 start date, Centennial had about two months to determine which programs would be most suitable for an online environment, consult with industry experts and faculty members about program design that will result in the necessary learning outcomes for career success, and roll out the digital classrooms. Macchiavello says she is impressed with efficiency of the process.
“It was a true team effort, involving everyone from our Corporate Planning Office, Executive team and Academic team to our faculty members who we paired with instructional design and technology experts to work on getting the curriculum online-ready,” she says. “We wanted a global solution that looked ahead at recovery in the middle of an emergency, and considered that we won’t go back to our old normal. It will be a new normal, with the world increasingly going online for education.”
The result is a digital summer semester catalogue of 23 full-time programs across four of Centennial’s seven academic schools: The Business School, the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, the School of Community Studies, and the School of Advancement. Once enrolled, students will access what Macchiavello calls a virtual campus. Flexibility has been incorporated through the capacity to log in at any time to participate in simulated labs, complete case studies, watch instructional videos, interact in online forums and more, depending on the program.
“The learning experience that can be created with today’s technology is amazing,” says Macchiavello. “It will also give students digital skills for the new reality. Additionally, an online classroom experience presents opportunities to share ideas with classmates who may be in various parts of the world, so you gain a globalized perspective that really enriches learning.”
Centennial’s full-time online summer semester will be a 360-degree experience, with access to resources such as tutors, career counsellors, online learning strategists and instructors. Once local physical distancing restrictions are lifted and in-person classes resume, online students will have the opportunity to transition to in-class delivery.
“One thing we are looking at for fall is offering some courses in-class and others online for a hybrid model,” says Macchiavello. “This is also opening doors for us to consider what other programs can be remodelled for an online environment. It has catapulted us into a new digital learning atmosphere.”
Of the 23 programs being offered online in the summer, nine are also moving to a fully online delivery, from start through to completion. Additionally, Centennial College offers a host of part-time online programs and courses.