Concerns around access, cost emerge as U of C preps for remote learning

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Gaps in access are potentially greater for students who may be living off-campus in rural areas without full internet access, Finley said, adding that the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations is asking for more federal funding into rural high-speed internet access to help students.

The U of C said in a statement to Postmedia that study spaces on campus would be opened to allow students to access stable internet connections. But Finley said the ongoing measures due to the novel coronavirus will limit the number of school computers available for student use.

“There’s a real concern here that there’s going to be people essentially priced out of their education,” he said.

The university said financial aid is available for students in need, in the form of a bursary of up to $2,000.

The U of C added that webcam use will be at the discretion of instructors, but students will not be required to have their webcams active at all times when attending remote lectures. Instead, cameras will be required for learning activities like group work, lab work or presentations.

The school acknowledged increased potential for cheating in remote classes, a topic that gained prominence in June after 14 students at the school were handed academic misconduct notices for allegedly sharing assignment answers online.

“Instructors are aware of the potential for cheating and, through a combination of mechanisms, try to create environments which minimizes the opportunity or potential for cheating – mostly through choice of assessment methods,” the U of C said.

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