ryerson online courses

Ryerson is first university in Toronto to confirm most classes will be online next semester

Ryerson University has confirmed that the majority (if not all) of course offerings will be online in the fall semester, making them the first university in Toronto to do so. 

The news came in a letter from President and Vice-Chancellor Mohamed Lachemi published Thursday, which outlines the approach the university is taking to plan for the upcoming term. 

"I know students, faculty and staff are very curious, and in some cases anxious, about plans for our fall semester. As the province starts to ease some restrictions and reopen certain services across Ontario, I want to provide our students, faculty and staff with an update," reads the letter.

"I appreciate that uncertainty is challenging for all of us; we all want to be able to make the best decisions for ourselves and our loved ones, and to do so with confidence."

In the letter, Lachemi reassures students and faculty members that the fall term will take place no matter what. 

"While the majority of course offerings will be online, we continue to explore and plan for a potential mix of online and in-person classes. We will also offer as many on campus activities as provincial and public health guidelines permit, along with an array of online extra-curricular programming and academic supports," he wrote.

The letter goes on to indicate that they've established two main groups to work through the many details and challenges the university is facing: the Scenario Planning Group and the Opportunities Group. 

The first is in charge of "looking at critical uncertainties and devising a list of plausible scenarios to help [them] navigate through potential disruptions and to ensure that [they're] prepared for any challenges that the fall may bring," while the latter is focused on "strategic planning, managing change, and positioning Ryerson for longer-term strategic success that will help [them] meet [their] goals."

Lachemie says no one will be asked to come to campus until the government and public health agencies have said it's safe to do so, which may mean a gradual return to campus — a scenario which they are actively planning for.

And while other post-secondary institutions in Canada have announced similar plans for the fall semester, both York University and the University of Toronto have yet to indicate whether classes will take place online come September. 

In a letter published almost one month ago, York said "classes for the 2020-2021 academic year will begin in September even if courses need to be delivered wholly or partially through online/remote instruction."

And in a letter published just this morning, U of T said they're "working hard to ensure [they] can continue to offer [their] students an outstanding educational experience, no matter what the format, come the Fall."

So while it remains to be seen whether other schools in Toronto will follow Ryerson's lead in announcing online courses for the fall, it's safe to say post-secondary students will have to adjust to a whole new normal when September rolls around. 

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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