Winter 2021 term update

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As President Ana Serrano announced on October 2, OCAD University will continue to deliver most of its curriculum remotely for the Winter 2021 term. I am writing to provide you  some additional details about these plans.

First, to be clear: If you are not in Toronto and/or you do not wish to take any in-person classes, you will not be required to do so. You will be able to continue taking courses remotely.

At the same time, we will be offering a small number of undergraduate “hybrid” courses. A hybrid course includes some online content and some in-person learning on the OCAD U campus. These are courses that require access to OCAD U facilities or studios. None of the hybrid courses are required courses, which means no students will be required to come to campus.

What happens next? When will the course catalogue and schedule for Winter 2021 be announced?
On October 15, the Office of the Registrar will notify all students of the list of changes for Winter 2021. This includes the small number of hybrid courses, any cancelled classes, and any new classes being added to the Winter schedule. We will need to suspend Winter registration activity for a period of time to make these adjustments after this announcement.

Should I do anything right now?
We recommend you do not make changes to your registration for Winter 2021 until we have made all of the adjustments to the schedule. In late October, we will reopen the registration system with all of the changes for Winter 2021 in place. At that time, you can make changes to your Winter schedule if necessary.

Will fees change for Winter?
As we did in Fall, we will again be removing ancillary fees related to facilities: the student buildings fee and the production materials fees. It may take us some time to make those adjustments on your fees statement and appreciate your patience with this.

We have heard from some of you who feel tuition fees should be reduced as a result of facilities being closed and we want to address this concern.  OCAD University’s budget situation is particularly challenging given the impact of COVID-19 on many aspects of the University’s finances. Reducing tuition fees would result in cuts to the quality of education and your student experience. Instead, we have invested substantially in the remote learning experience, including staff, technology, content production, faculty professional development, and new community-building initiatives. And we are still hopeful that we will be in a position to provide access to facilities, including shops and studios, in the Winter.

If you are experiencing financial hardship, we encourage you to contact Financial Aid & Awards to inquire about bursary support and government aid, if applicable.

Will I have access to any OCAD U facilities either this Fall or in Winter?
We are closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation and directives from Toronto Public Health and the provincial government as Ontario experiences a ‘second wave’ of infections.  Assuming that we are able to continue our gradual reopening efforts, next on our list of reopening plans are a service depot set up to provide access to services such as copy/print orders, studio/AV/IT equipment loans and rapid prototyping pick-up; as well as study space.

It is important to note that even when we begin to offer access to equipment, students will not be required to complete any course projects using OCAD equipment or accessing OCAD facilities. Watch for details of these opportunities as they are finalized.

Should I be planning to take courses in Spring/Summer 2021?
Some courses that we are not able to offer in Winter 2021 may be rescheduled to Spring/Summer 2021 and we certainly encourage students to consider enrolling in Spring and/or Summer. The Office of the Registrar will notify students once we have a list of Spring/Summer courses so you can begin to plan. The mode of delivery of the Spring/Summer terms will be determined based on the status of the pandemic in the coming months.

How can I stay informed on any changes?
We communicate with students through the following channels:

We are happy to try to respond to your questions if they are not answered by this message. Thank you all for your patience and understanding as we continue to adapt to this situation.

Take care all,

Deanne Fisher
Vice-Provost, Students & International
dfisher@ocadu.ca

Originally emailed to all OCAD University students on October 6, 2020 with a copy sent to faculty and administrative staff for information.

Photo by erin mckenna on Unsplash