Canadian Lawyer

December/January 2021

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32 LEGAL REPORT 4STUDENTS W r o n g f u l D i s m i s s a l • E m p l o y m E n t l a W • H u m a n r i g H t s p o s t E m p l o y m E n t C o m p E t i t i o n • C i v i l l i t i g a t i o n • a p p E l l a t E a D v o C a C y • D i s a b i l i t y 82 Scollard Street, Toronto, Canada, M5R 1G2 | Contact Stacey Ball at (416) 921-7997 ext. 225 or ball profEssional Corporation Excellence in Employment & Labour Law • Counsel in Leading Cases | Author of Leading Treatise • Referrals on behalf of employees and employers respected be done in a way that students could work around their home lives and things they couldn't control — such as the need to look after children. Originally, it was proposed that exams could be done any time in a 24-hour period, with no time limit, but Nikolaou says that idea "stressed out some students even more — they were thinking that some of their classmates could use all that time when they had obligations that wouldn't allow that." The solution, she says, is to offer a 24-hour period in which students can pick a window that works for them. And they have been given 50-per-cent more time to complete the exam, to provide a buffer from their home life. The situation at Ryerson University's faculty of law is unusual, as it is a new program that is now instructing its first cohort of students. Dean Donna Young says the school is predominantly online now. However, it has been arranging and encouraging students and instructors to connect in voluntary ways with appropriate social distancing and protocols. The school started its orientation early in the summer and organized lectures and seminars, bringing in guest panels of judges, lawyers and the business community. Now that school is in full swing, there are fewer ways of connecting in person, but Young says instructors, staff and student services are "working hard" to ensure students are coping. The school has orga- nized and encouraged drop-in sessions and study groups, and the student services office is conducting regular checks. "The challenging part is to build up community experience under difficult circumstances," Young says, adding that, for the most part, the plan is working, but "it's heartbreaking that I could pass by one of my students on the street and wouldn't know it." Classes at York University's Osgoode Hall are predominately online for the fall and winter terms. The law school has a remote synchronous or asynchronous program, based on what instructors and students are most interested in. Associate dean Gus Van Harten says that "one of the best" moves the school made was to hire "tech-savvy" people to join the online classes, especially large classes. That person looks for raised online hands, comments and technical issues so that the instructor can focus on teaching. "It was one of the best single investments we made in online learning. It reduced a lot of stress, and we managed to avoid many prob- lems and challenges." Eric Adams, the University of Alberta's vice dean of law, says, "no one wants to learn this way forever." Yet, the law school has learned there can be some advantages to doing this online, especially as instructors committed to engaging in the "act of classroom" even when the course is virtual. "We worried about interaction, but we're discovering that students have been very quick to adapt," he says. What's more, he adds, "There are some students who normally would have been quiet during in-person classes but have actually become more involved in an online world." Adams says the chat function is especially appreciated. One school that seems to be going against the flow of predominately online learning is the faculty of law at Queen's University LOOKING EAST: WHAT SCHOOLS ARE DOING Dalhousie University: online for fall, except for the Dalhousie Legal Aid Clinic University of New Brunswick: all online via Microsoft Teams and Zoom University of Ottawa (common law): entirely online for the fall semester University of Toronto: started off with hybrid in-class/online format. After Thanksgiving, it moved to online only University of Windsor: primarily online with limited exceptions when possible and essential to learning

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