The University of Toronto Mississauga will be offering a variety of new courses across departments. Over the summer, the historical studies and the department of economics announced the names of the new courses commencing this academic year.
The new courses issued by the history department are HIS104: A History of Here, HIS212: The History of Capitalism, GRK211: Introductory Ancient Greek I, CLA395: Horror and the Grotesque in Ancient Rome, and LAT211: Introductory Latin I.
Assistant Professor of History Brian Gettler, who will be the instructor for HIS104, discussed the course in an interview with The Medium and how course delivery will be different this year.
“HIS104 is what it says—a history of here,” said Gettler. “The course will focus on Mississauga and the GTA, while also digging into the history of UTM and the University of Toronto.”
“It will focus on a broad range of topics, including colonialism, rural, urban and suburban development, consumer culture, and campus life. It will also focus on more timely issues like disease and policing,” he continued. “The course, aspart of a new approach by the department of historical studies to offer relatively small first-year courses, also serves as an introduction to the academic discipline of history.”
Gettler emphasized the importance of historical scholarship and how the course was designed to teach students how to “analyze material and immaterial traces of the past, and problematize the space in which they find themselves.”
When asked about how new online course delivery methods, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, will impact learning, Professor Gettler responded, “It is true that I, like many other professors, am not an expert at online teaching, I think the current context allows for some unique opportunities.”
“Though we will be unable to take group field trips, we will still host visitors and may take virtual field trips to more places than would have otherwise been possible,” continued Gettler. “I am also hopeful that the technology we will be using will allow for greater student feedback and more flexibility in terms of when, where, and how everyone participates.”
Professor Gettler went on to assure students that these courses will be available in upcoming years alongside several other new first-year courses.
“Though I will certainly miss the classroom experience and the excitement of campus in the fall, I am convinced that the new environment will provide unexpected benefits,” concluded Gettler.
The economics department will also be offering several new courses this year. As published on the department’swebsite, ECO351: Special Topics: Macroeconomics and Psychology, ECO352: Special Topics: Financial Crisis & Actions of Central Banks, ECO420: Research/Dissertation Course, and ECO466: Empirical Macroeconomics and Policy will be debut during the 2020-2021 academic year.
The undergraduate advisor for the economics department, Ferzeen Sammy, spoke to The Medium about ECO466.
“The department of economics has introduced ECO466H5 this year—this course was previously offered as a special topics course,” said Sammy. “It is common for courses to evolve from special topics to permanent courses.”
Students wondering how COVID-19 will impact course delivery for the 2020-2021 academic year will be reassured to hear from Jane Stirling, the executive director of marketing and communications at UTM. Stirling spoke on behalf of Professor Amrita Daniere, UTM’s vice-principal academic and dean, regarding the online delivery of courses.
“UTM as a campus and U of T as a university have devoted significant resources to enhancing remote learning and teaching for the fall,” said Stirling. “UTM has worked through its Teaching & Learning Collaboration to inspire faculty engaged in remote teaching for the first time through many different webinars and providing individual consultation around syllabus design, communication and technology, and best practices in terms of remote or online pedagogy.”
Moreover, new staff specialized in online learning, and new filming equipment for classrooms ensures that UTM remains flexible in its course delivery methods.
“In addition, we have provided additional educational development support that will continue through the fall by hiring two additional educational developers with expertise in online instruction,” continued Stirling. “ The Instructional Support and Technology unit has equipped classrooms and labs to allow for improved filming of lectures and experiments, and we have provided departments with state-of-the-art equipment to use when delivering instruction from their homes or offices.”
Encouraged by UTM’s initiatives for a smooth transaction to different modes of learning such as online synchronous and online asynchronous, Stirling said, “We believe the educational experience will be wonderful despite the change in delivery mode.”
Both departments showcase an exciting new course selection for both first-years and upper years. Although COVID-19 has drastically changed everyone’s lives in different ways, the university is actively working to ensure that course delivery remains at the highest quality possible.