THE PANDEMIC RESPONSE
Behind the scenes of Sheridan’s pandemic response
UNPRECEDENTED CIRCUMSTANCES DROVE AN UNPRECEDENTED RESPONSE.
The approximate number of courses that were retooled, rethought and reorganized for remote delivery within a week when Sheridan closed its campuses.
The number of Sheridan groups or individuals recognized by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities with Awards of Excellence for pandemic response efforts.
The total value of bursaries and scholarships awarded since September 2020 for students to invest in their postsecondary education during the pandemic. We also reduced deposits, offered flexible payment plans, minimized ancillary fees and even allowed students to experience remote learning risk-free, offering full refunds without academic penalty for anyone who wasn’t satisfied after their first month of classes.
The number of students our cross-departmental team connected with during the initial phase of our Student Wellness Outreach Campaign, an initiative that monitored students’ well-being and mental health during the pandemic. Sheridan also facilitated a similar campaign during the holiday closure, connecting with 414 international students who were spending the holiday season in Canada.
The approximate number of remote and virtual internship and co-op opportunities created by Sheridan’s Career-Integrated Learning (CIL) department. CIL secured more than $1 million in wage subsidies and funding from various sources — money that went directly to students as employment wages.
The number of first-year courses into which Sheridan’s Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) embedded virtual supports, helping ease students’ transition to remote learning. Modules detailing tutoring, library resources, academic advisement and virtual faculty support received nearly 6,000 views.
The amount Sheridan invested to purchase, ship and hand-deliver free loaner laptops to 625 students during the six-month period from March to August.
The number of interactions logged by the Contact Centre, Centre for Student Success and Student Advisement departments between March 16-31, 2020, helping students with challenges and questions presented by the pandemic.
The number of views of our dedicated COVID-19 communications webpage within the first two months.
The number of mass emails, video messages and voicemails sent by the Communications, Public Affairs and Marketing team regarding COVID-19 in 2020.
"At Sheridan College, professors and instructors created personal protective equipment to meet supply-chain demands, developed engaging online early childhood education programming, designed virtual labs and internships so students could complete their hands-on coursework, and implemented systems to monitor COVID-19 cases across Canada. I am incredibly proud of the work that Sheridan has done."
Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities
"Quality and pedagogically-driven curricula should not be measured or constrained by the medium, whether that be traditional face-to-face instruction or online delivery. They should be driven by other inputs and outcomes such as active engagement, peer and instructor activity, and authentic assessment."
Dr. Janet Shuh, Director (former), Educational Development and Technology, Centre for Teaching and Learning
Supporting Students and Faculty
All the regular student support services have been available in alternative formats during the pandemic with staff working remotely to support students online and/or over the phone.
We monitored students’ mental health by personally reaching out to thousands through the ongoing Student Wellness Outreach Campaign, promoted physical and mental wellness through a variety of virtual events designed to keep students connected and offered free and confidential counselling to all students via phone or video calls.
Created by our Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) in partnership with Library Learning Services, Sheridan’s Online Learning and Teaching Guide provided faculty with tools, practices and examples to support and inspire ideal online approaches that would resonate with our learners. Last fall, CTL also launched Teach Well, a comprehensive series of centralized resources aimed to inspire innovative, inclusive and accessible approaches to online learning.
"I told students on the first day of class, 'Look, cameras aren't ideal, but we're going to beat them. Because we've got ideas."
Joe Morse, Coordinator, Honours Bachelor of Illustration
"From the onset, our pandemic response and recovery actions have prioritized protecting people’s health and well-being while maintaining our high standards of academic quality."
Dr. Janet Morrison, President and Vice Chancellor
"I looked at what I did in a regular classroom environment and searched for technology that would replicate it online."
Wayland Chau, Professor, Pilon School of Business
When Dr. Andy Alubaidy watched his teenage nephew play video games, he got an idea: why not use that same technology to simulate in-person learning experiences? With support from Associate Dean Dr. Amjed Majeed from the School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology, Dr. Alubaidy built a virtual environment that replicated the C-138 lab at Sheridan’s Davis Campus, enabling students to conduct experiments and export data to write reports.
Joe Morse, Coordinator, Honours Bachelor of Illustration, teaches a remote illustration class. Photo by Graham Gentleman.
Illustration skills are best refined through in-person observation, but Sheridan faculty had to quickly rethink their stance on cameras when COVID-19 forced them to deliver their program remotely. By treating their classes as if they were television shows, professors were able to provide their students with multiple simultaneous viewpoints and keep the learning going during the pandemic.
Sheridan held its first-ever virtual convocation celebration last summer, celebrating its 6,791 new alumni with six separate ceremonies for each of the faculties, and another 1,900 graduates were honoured with a similar virtual convocation in the fall. Many of our other significant in-person events were moved online, including Open House, Animation Industry Day and various academic awards ceremonies, exhibits and year-end shows.
Three days into rehearsal of a new Canadian Music Theatre Project (CMTP) production, the music suddenly stopped when COVID-19 forced the closure of Sheridan’s campuses. Faculty and staff found a way to ensure the show could go on, overcoming various hurdles to continue workshopping the musical using video conferencing software. A month later, students not only performed the musical in its entirety on Zoom, they also recorded and released a video of the opening number that received thousands of views on YouTube.
Although the shift to remote learning presented challenges for learners and educators across the country, marginalized and equity-deserving groups may have been disproportionately impacted. In response, Sheridan’s Inclusive Communities team launched a webinar series that highlighted and raised awareness about specific impacts faced by Indigenous and racialized people, older persons, students with disabilities, victims of domestic violence, members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, economically-marginalized individuals and more.