By Dr. Jo-Anne Clarke, Dean, Continuing Studies
The theme for this issue of the calendar is "explore changing perspectives". Although that phrase would have been meaningful at any time in our history, it's taken on new meaning this year. I would even say that it's become our mantra at the Division of Continuing Studies. We never questioned our commitment to bringing great learning experiences to the community—COVID-19 or not—but we did question how we were going to manage this feat amid massive change. We definitely had to change our perspective. Here are the top five things this experience has taught us:
Many of our courses can be delivered online. Our entire team rolled up their sleeves, beefed up their digital literacy skills and found a way to deliver. I am proud, and grateful to them, for their resilience and for their commitment to meeting the needs of our local and global communities with great online courses.
Some people actually prefer to learn online. It's pretty nice to be able to learn from the comfort of your home. We get it! And we're listening to our learners. You can look forward to a range of delivery styles (face to face, online and blended) now and into the post-COVID future.
Face to face is great—when it's safe. Many people have told us that they'd like to be back on campus. We feel the same and dearly miss our vibrant community of learners. To facilitate a return to campus, we’ve introduced a wide range of safety measures and have even added some new in-person classes to our course calendar. Sign up for our Continuing Studies E-News to ensure you receive information about new courses as they are added. Visit continuingstudies.uvic.ca/enews.
Our technology and systems need to be more userfriendly. COVID-19 certainly put our online systems to the test and we quickly discovered that they are not as user-friendly as they need to be. We've made big changes and there are more to come. You'll find it easier than ever to take online classes.
Continuing Studies has an important role to play in our region's economic recovery. We are working closely with government, business and non-profit partners to prepare workers for a post-COVID economy. In the months ahead, you will hear a lot more about “micro-credentials”—bite-sized knowledge and qualifications that give people and organizations the boost they need to compete. A good example is our new Professional Development Certificate in Administrative Technology , which includes a bundle of three courses that give learners the flexibility to focus on developing the digital skills they need most.
Change makes us grow in ways we never expected. I would not want to repeat the year 2020, but there's always a silver lining. At Continuing Studies, we have gained a new perspective about what learners want, what our communities need, and how we can deliver. And that's a good thing. We are choosing to embrace and explore it.