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Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies gets creative to bring students back on campus

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: May 17, 2021 10:00 a.m.

New students in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies receive a personalized postcard from KHS staff.
New students in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies receive a personalized postcard from KHS staff. Photo: Provided by the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies

When Dr. Harold Riemer, Professor and Dean with the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies (KHS), was looking at what the upcoming semesters in KHS would look like, he knew that he wanted to find a way to offer a classroom experience to students, while adhering to all COVID-19 restrictions. The faculty worked together and came up with creative solutions to have small, in-person classes in addition to an extensive amount of remote courses. 

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KHS worked with AV Services to
ensure each of the classrooms had
the correct technology so that all
students would be getting the same
in-person learning experience.  
Photo: Provided by the Faculty
of Kinesiology and Health Studies

In the Fall semester, KHS will be offering in-person classes to small cohorts of students in their first and third semesters. The students will be divided into groups of 25, and each group will take three on-campus classes together. Each group will come onto campus two or three days per week, and take their classes back-to-back in the same classroom. This helps to limit the number of trips to campus, and the distance the students will need to walk around the campus. 

Setting up the cohorts required a lot of input from Audio Visual Services at the U of R, to ensure each of the classes would be getting the same in-person learning experience. The final set-up allows an instructor to teach from one of the classrooms, while the other classrooms are connected to the lecture via Zoom. Each classroom will also have a Teaching Assistant to facilitate questions and class discussion. 

“Post-covid, we are going to look at continuing with the cohort idea, at least for the students’ first semester on campus,” says Riemer. “The small class sizes allow students to get to know each other because they see each other so often. If they can make connections with each other during their first semester, they are more likely to be engaged in their classes and stay in their chosen program.” 

In the Winter 2021 semester KHS also piloted four hybrid classes. These classes each had a limited amount of on-campus spots available for students who wanted to attend the class in person, and the remaining spots were for students joining the class remotely. This gave Riemer and his team an opportunity to ensure they had the correct technology in place and gather feedback from the course instructors. 

Kinesiology student Wyatt Wiebe grew up in Swift Current and is now going into the fifth year of his Bachelor of Kinesiology degree, with a major in Human Kinetics. He has played sports his entire life and worked as a Student Trainer with the University of Regina Rams, doing athletic therapy. While he prefers to take classes in person, he likes the flexibility of hybrid classes because they give him the ability to keep up with his class in the event that he isn’t able to make it to campus. 

“Hybrid was a great experience this semester,” says Wiebe. “Although I chose to take classes in person, the hybrid format made class less stressful knowing I had the option of accessing my professor and course activities if life got in the way.” 

KHS recently released a full list of its Fall 2021 courses. Most of the courses listed as being on campus are hybrid courses, so they can also be taken remotely. There are also several courses being offered remotely in addition to an array of web delivered courses (i.e., traditional asynchronous online courses), for students who live outside of Regina or would like to continue with remote learning. +

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These “receiving carts” will be used in the
cohort classrooms, connecting students
to the lecture via Zoom.
Photo: Provided by the Faculty of
Kinesiology and Health Studies

“We have found that some of our students either really strongly prefer to be in an on-campus class, or they are completely comfortable with remote learning, and yet others like the flexibility of web delivered courses” says Riemer. “We wanted to make plenty of course options available to them. Our main priority is for them to be able to continue their studies, uninterrupted, and take courses in a modality that they feel they can learn their best.” 

With new student enrolments and course registrations coming in every day, Riemer and his colleagues in KHS want to make sure students feel welcome in the Fall semester. Every time a new student accepts the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies’ offer of admission, KHS staff send a personalized postcard to the student to welcome them to the University of Regina and congratulate them on their admission. 

Student success is part of the Discovery area of focus in the University of Regina’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan kahkiyaw kiwȃhkomȃkȃninawak – All Our Relations. The U of R aims to help all students achieve their goals and strengthen their ability to connect with learning opportunities in ways that ensure they develop the independence and agency to pursue their life and career goals. This include evaluating distance and distributed learning opportunities and technologies to enhance flexible learning options for students.