Enrolment for online summer courses up at some N.S. universities

While COVID-19 forced post-secondary institutions in Nova Scotia to temporarily shut down in-class learning back in March, some universities are seeing a spike in the number of students who have enrolled in online summer courses.

At Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., online registration for courses is up 50 per cent compared to the same time period in 2019.

Jeff Banks, the university’s director for its online and community learning programs, said the spike is pretty much across the board. He said the largest enrolments are in introductory psychology, critical reading and writing, and two kiniesology courses.

“I think it’s mostly because they don’t have other options,” said Banks. “They don’t have the options to do the face-to-face courses, so in some ways we were kind of expecting that that might be the case.”

Acadia’s online courses operate on a continuous intake format. In other words, students can enrol in any online course any day of the year. Whenever they complete their assignments, they’re given a grade.

At Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., popular online courses courses include introductory psychology and critical reading and writing. (Robert Short/CBC)

“I think we have a bit of an edge with those particular courses, as opposed to others who might have a term session,” said Banks.

He said typically about 300 students enrol in online courses during April and May. This year, that number grew to 450.

Acadia wasn’t able to say how many summer courses were forced to migrate from in-class to virtual. For those courses, though, students will not see any reduction in tuition and fees.

What other universities are seeing

Other schools are seeing increases in online enrolments. Dalhousie University in Halifax has seen a summer bump of eight per cent over last year.

“Students have expressed multiple reasons for which they’re enrolling this term, ongoing need for upgrading, accelerating degree progression and limited summer employment options,” said university spokesperson Lindsay Dowling.

At Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, 13 per cent more students were enrolled in online courses in this year’s spring term compared to last year. (CBC)

Dalhousie has not made any adjustment to its tuition fees.

Saint Mary’s University in Halifax is reporting 13 per cent more students in this year’s spring term compared to last year, which represents 170 more students taking one or more courses.

Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax is reporting a 12 per cent spike.

The Nova Scotia Community College said its spring/summer enrolment is stable and in line with enrolment in past years.


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