August 2020

Getting Ready for a New & Unusual School Year

Lake Louise, Banff, Alberta

It is the middle of August… Moreover, it is the middle of August 2020, which has been one of the strangest summer months in decades.¬† Most of us have spent this summer at home, or had a chance to do some small travels exploring our outdoors – such as nearby parts and campsites. If you were lucky you might even get to explore one of the greatest parks in Canada, such as Banff.

After all, it is the summer of COVID-19 – the pandemic that affected all of us, especially our students, teachers, and students’ families. For me, this time is the end of a very busy summer and unusual summer. It is also the time to get ready to the 2020-2021 academic year. Like many of us, I am thinking of the beginning of the new academic year that most likely will happen at least partially online for both secondary and post-secondary students. It is still unclear what will happen at elementary school. As I keep thinking about it, many questions pop into my head: Are we ready for it? How will we support our students? What technologies will we be using? What have we learned from the first months of 2020 and teaching online? How will we manage the increased workload with online education? How will we make sure that we offer high quality online courses and not just emergency “haphazard” remote teaching? What will be the challenges of this new academic year in the time of COVID-19 pandemic? What can we learn from other countries and how they deal with the pandemic? These are only few questions that I am trying to figure out or at least to get ready for. I am also thinking about our graduate students, as many of them were not able to come to Canada and will need to take courses while being outside of the country. So this is the motivation behind writing this post and collecting some of my thoughts on the topic:

In this post, I decided to collect a few of my recent interviews on the topic, as well as some interesting comments I found online:

CTV News Interview  РAugust 12, 2020 (interviewer Meredith MacLeod)

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