Mid-afternoon last Tuesday, the first day of school for Queen’s students, fourth-year psychology student Simon Onorato suddenly received an email announcing that his developmental psycholinguistics seminar would be delivered remotely this semester.
“The [University] told us that courses would be in person,” Onorato wrote in a statement to YGK News. “The [developmental psycholinguistics] course was under ‘undergraduate,’ not ‘online undergraduate,’ so I assumed that it was going to be in person.”
According to Onorato, around 10 students are enrolled in the course.
“I am disappointed that the class moved online,” he wrote. “Queen’s advertised an in-person [school year], but it was not true for a number of students … I wish that Queen’s, specifically the [psychology] department, was more direct and clear with the information provided during course enrollment.”
“Since I am from Italy, I only stayed in Kingston because I thought all courses would be in person. I [wish] that we were given an accurate representation of what the [fall semester] would be like.”
Onorato isn’t the only student disappointed by the sudden move of courses online.
Michelle*, a fifth-year concurrent education student majoring in global development, shared similar frustrations with YGK News.
Michelle had been told by the University and academic advisors that courses would be “completely in-person”, but over Labour Day weekend, three of her four in-person courses were moved online.
According to Michelle, two of the three courses, both taught by the global development department, were moved online for the semester, while the third, a con-ed requisite, will undergo reevaluation at the end of September.
“None of my classes gave any reason for changing our mode of instruction,” she told YGK News. “My [con-ed requisite] has around 70 students … I understand this large of a class may need to be placed online, [but] when other courses of 100+ students have in-person lectures on campus, this can’t be an adequate reason.”
Michelle’s two global development courses had 15 students in one and 80 in the other.
“I am both frustrated and confused,” Michelle wrote. “I am not an online learner and was hopeful and excited for in-person classes. The little to no time to prepare [for online learning] was uncalled for. The [University] had the entire summer to plan, and students got less than a weekend.”
“I want to know how these students who have the majority if not all of their course placed online will be compensated,” she added. “We are not using the school facilities, [yet] paying full tuition as if we are. We are stuck in leases and have to pay rent when we could be living at home for free.”
According to an email from the Faculty of Arts and Science, some courses were moved online last minute because “the instructor [had] requested to teach remotely undergrounds covered by the Ontario Human Rights code.”
*Michelle is a pseudonym requested by the interviewee.