It isn’t surprising that some students are asking why tuition rates are not being reduced even though learning for the fall is moving online. Your education is a significant investment. Our investment in and commitment to delivering the very best teaching and learning to our students is unchanged; in fact, at McMaster we are investing significantly in the online learning experience by bolstering our resources to better serve our students and faculty. We hope this information helps.
Isn’t it cheaper to teach online?
No. Designing virtual classrooms and online opportunities for students needs instructors, technology and experts to deliver the high-quality experience our students expect and deserve. Plus there is still all of the marking, academic advising, office hours and support that we want to provide.
How can online learning cost the same or more?
The same number of instructors who have been engaged in the teaching mission of the university will be working this fall, alongside sessionals, teaching assistants and others — all of whom help us provide excellent teaching at McMaster.
In addition, the university is investing considerably to bring in more people specifically skilled in digital learning to help instructors develop courses, learn the best technology and help students understand and take full advantage of our learning systems.
That extra resourcing includes redeploying staff so that each Faculty is assigned educational developers to provide training and consultation on pedagogy, course design and educational technologies, and hiring more educational developers to bolster these teams. We have also recruited graduate students as educational development fellows who will support course design efforts and teaching development.
Other than my courses what does tuition pay for?
Almost all of the services students normally receive continue to be available. Here are just a few:
• The library has invested in a new service that makes more than 800,000 books from the collection available online along with ongoing subscriptions to journals and other resources for students
• For this fall’s entering class the new Archway Program is putting every student into a small group of 30 students along with a staff mentor to help guide them and keep them involved throughout the year
• A number of Faculties are developing special programs to help students get ready for online learning including the new Ember program in Engineering, the DeGroote StartUp Experience and the Student Transition Education Programming in Social Sciences (STEPSS)
• Supervision for research projects, upper-year thesis projects and graduate work continue
• For health professional students, requisite experiences in clinical education, such as simulation, must be arranged and clinical placements must be organized and supervised
• Health and mental health services continue to be available to all students
• Career services will continue to run online programming to help students prepare for their careers, as well as co-op and career counsellors within faculties
• Academic advising offices within Faculties will continue to offer personalized guidance to all students for their academic success
• The Equity and Accessibility Office is ready to help with online programs and confidential services and support
• Emergency financial support, along with scholarships and bursaries, are all part of the financial services available to students
• Free student access to computer programs like Microsoft Office and Teams and access to professional research related software
What about supplementary fees?
While most university-delivered services are continuing to provide services online (for example, the Student Wellness Centre), supplementary fees will be adjusted appropriately for any service where access has been reduced due to the Covid-19 situation. Fee amounts charged by student union/associations are the responsibility of those organizations and are not controlled by the university.
We know that this is a challenging time and we want you to understand that we are doing everything we can to deliver quality education at a fair cost. Our emergency financial supports have been ramped up to help our students, bolstered by a McMaster fundraising campaign. We will continue to look for ways to help you access the educational experience you need to succeed.
Changes in screening and masking protocols have been introduced at Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery (MDCL) so that researchers, staff and students can move easily between the university building and the Health Sciences Centre, following the same safety protocols.
People entering both buildings need to wear a mask and need to be screened. Masks will be provided at the screening station or you may bring your own. This screening will be done by an online survey, completed on a smartphone in advance or manually at the entrance screening desk. The survey will indicate green to enter or red to stay or return home.
More details are available on the Health Sciences website.