During the COVID-19 pandemic, institutions of higher education pivoted from in-person teaching to virtual learning at home. Yet, for university campuses that are specifically organized for distance education, what was the impact of the pandemic on their curriculum, student body and overall learning strategies? In the province of Quebec, Canada, a province-wide university system called ‘Université du Québec’ has more than 100,000 students enrolled on campuses in ten (10) cities across the province, including a well-established distance education e-learning university campus. This campus, called ‘Université TÉLUQ (abbreviation for Tele-distance de l’Université du Quebec), offers more than 20,000 students online-only courses as well as the ability to complete a undergraduate, Masters or Doctoral degree. During the pandemic, the number of students at TELUQ increased by almost 15% since 2020. The demographics reveal many of these students were older than the traditional 18-21 years-old age group, are studying part-time, and join an increasingly global community. This phenomenon was reflected throughout several programs in our university, including students enrolled in Geography courses. This poster presentation will explore challenges and opportunities related to this influx of new virtual students studying online in a French-Canadian university program. We will share preliminary reflections on how pandemic-impacted educational approaches also shaped change in a distance-education e-learning university campus. We will also explore practical strategies implemented including the creation of a learning resource for new students in a e-learning geography program.

Author: Rémy Tremblay

Published in: Ireland International Conference on Education (IICE-2023)

  • Date of Conference: 11-13 April 2023
  • DOI: 10.20533/IICE.2023.0036
  • ISBN: 978-1-913572-51-8
  • Conference Location: Dún Laoghaire, Ireland