COVID-19: Open Learning Information

To our Open Learning Students,

I hope this message finds you, your family, and friends well.

I am writing on behalf of the Open Learning division of Thompson Rivers University. First, I would like to acknowledge that we have not been able to communicate as effectively as we might have hoped for in these uncertain and stressful times. Neither have we been timely in our decisions. For that, I would like to extend my sincere apologies. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed organizations of all levels into unprecedented action, with no real certainty of outcome. There is no member or sector of society that has not been affected, and like others, we have found that our established processes have faced unprecedented levels of pressure and strain. The unfortunate result has been that we have not always been able to keep up with your need for timely support and decisions.

Nevertheless, I want to assure you that every member of the Open Learning team is aware of your significant concerns as the result of personal upheaval and questions about your courses and programs with us. We are working hard to address the many issues in a manner that is considered, effective, timely and fair.

Thompson Rivers University remains open to support your personal and professional educational goals. Open Learning in particular continues to welcome students who wish to start or continue their educational journey. But we also acknowledge these are not normal times, and we have had to adjust in order to address the various and evolving constraints.

The following pieces of information and requests for your understanding and help are important. Please read carefully.

Communications

It is critical that we have lines of communication with you that enable us to deliver important information in an efficient and effective manner. To date, we have emailed, posted FAQs to our website, uploaded information to Moodle and continue to communicate with our Open Learning Faculty Members. However, none of these channels of communication have proven sufficient on their own. Please help us keep in touch by:

  • Frequently checking the Open Learning FAQ page for the latest information
  • Looking for announcements in your course Moodle shell
  • Checking your myTRU email frequently or ensure it is forwarded to a personal email account that you check often
  • Checking our social media accounts regularly on the following platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @truopenlearning
  • Watching your Moodle Dashboard for TRU-wide announcements

Further, if you need to contact us please note the following:

  • If your registration requires special assistance, note that phone lines are currently unavailable. Please email student@tru.ca
  • If you have questions about your Open Learning courses or your Open Learning Faculty Member, please email deliverysupport@tru.ca
  • If you have questions about your final exam, please contact exams@tru.ca
  • If you have questions about your Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) process, please contact plar@tru.ca

Academic

Please know that our primary concern is to help support you during this period. This support is taking a variety of forms. For now, please note the following:

  • Withdrawals during the COVID-19 crisis: As a temporary measure, students who feel that their final grades have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 situation may elect to withdraw from the course, resulting in a grade of “W” with no impact on their GPA. If you started your Open Learning course on or after August 15, 2019 and had not yet completed it as of March 15, 2020, you can choose this option. This includes courses that began up to and including March 31 that are scheduled to be completed within the next 30 weeks. Please contact student@tru.ca to inquire.

  • Pressing pause for health: In consideration of the incredibly important work our health care professionals are doing for all of us at this time, we are offering the opportunity for students in health-related programs the ability to pause their academic studies (excluding practicums) for an initial term of three months. Students who exercise this option will be able to carry forward whatever marks they had obtained in their current studies and carry on in their course without fear of penalty or having to start over. Eligibility will be for those program students who started their Open Learning course on or after August 15, 2019 and had not yet completed it as of March 15, 2020, you can choose this option. This includes courses that began up to and including March 31 that are scheduled to be completed within the next 30 weeks. Please email Deliverysupport@tru.ca to inquire. Applicable programs are as follows:

Health and Wellness

It is especially important at this time to monitor and care for your own mental and physical wellbeing, especially if others are relying upon you. TRU offers the following supports for OL students:

While there are a number of resources available for mental health and wellbeing, you might find the following resources useful:

For almost 13 years I have had the privilege of meeting former, current and future Open Learning students across Canada. I have always been impressed by the passion and commitment of those who are struggling to find the time to pursue their academic interests or address the demands of their careers. I have often heard stories of sacrifice and struggle, of self-doubt, fear and determination. Beyond personal goals or needs, what has attracted students to us has been our approach that did not demand they put their lives on hold. An approach that recognized each learner as being unique in terms of circumstance, knowledge, and way forward. Well today, life has been put on hold for so many. The future seems uncertain and the way forward obscure.

The Open Learning team has always found strength and direction in the stories and triumphs of our students. I want you to know that despite our struggles to reach out, your personal challenges, anxieties and needs have never left our gaze. We have been and will continue to be fixated on your success. I would strongly encourage you to help us stay in contact with you. As always, if you need help continue to reach out. While our regular offices might be empty, the Open Learning team is working to help.

Sincerely,
Don Poirier
Associate Vice-President, Open Learning


Find Open Learning frequently asked questions here

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