What will Philosophy courses be like in 2020W Term 1?
In response to COVID-19, UBC’s BA programs are moving online for the fall semester. This means that, if you are a Philosophy student, you do not need to be on campus (or even in the country) to complete your coursework during 2020W Term 1. We have expanded our popular online course catalogue – which typically includes Distance Education (DE) courses like PHIL 220 and PHIL 333 — to include courses which feature real-time (a.k.a “synchronous”) components. Many of our instructors are planning to use a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning methods in their Term 1 courses; however, Philosophy will be offering entirely-synchronous and entirely-asynchronous courses this fall as well. Please see course syllabi for information about specific courses.
Your location and your personal learning style will determine which type of online course is the best fit for you. Students who register for courses featuring synchronous components will be expected to meet with their instructor(s) and classmates during scheduled course times. In practice, this may mean attending a live lecture or participating in an active class discussion via Canvas Collaborate (or equivalent video conferencing software). If our synchronous course times do not fit into your schedule (or if you prefer learning at your own pace), you may want to consider exploring our asynchronous course options. These courses are specifically designed to allow students to engage with course materials – whether that comes in the form of watching a recorded lecture or reading and responding to posts on class discussion boards – independently.
Keep in mind that synchronous courses require engagement in a more structured manner, which might help students who benefit from external motivation. On the other hand an asynchronous course offers more freedom but requires more self-discipline. Another consideration is what kind of experience one wants. For example, if in-class discussion is particularly important to you, then synchronous courses might appeal more because of the live lectures and/or discussion groups.
We are currently in the process of planning how to best support our students with this transition. Both Faculty- and department-level advising services are available on a remote basis should you have any specific questions about what this shift means for you and your learning.