Arts and Science Online Featured in the Queen's Alumni Review | Arts and Science ONLINE

Arts & Science Online Featured in the Queen's Alumni Review

Online learning comes of age

Queen’s, for many years a world leader in “correspondence courses,” is blazing new trails in the fast-growing world of online degree programing.

For most of his adult life, Brian Woodman worked as an automotive technician in Kingston. Although he wanted a ­university degree, he’d never had the time to earn one. That changed in 2001, when – inspired by his mother, a lifelong homemaker who earned her high-school diploma as an adult – he enrolled in a Queen’s online course in English Literature.

Last November, after a decade of plugging away at his course readings and assignments at nights and on weekends, Woodman finally graduated from Queen’s at the age of 47. His mother, who’d recently been diagnosed with cancer, was at his convocation to watch her son receive his degree. Woodman is now training at the Faculty of Education to be a teacher.
Online learning artwork

Brian Woodman, Artsci’12, is just one of thousands of students who have changed their lives through Queen’s Continuing and Distance Studies (CDS), which has been a part of the University in one form or another since 1888. Until recent years, that has been in the form of paper-based correspondence, or “extension,” courses. Over the past decade Queen’s has taken much of this curriculum online.

Today, the University’s online courses – including ones in English literature, history, classical studies, drama, organic chemistry, anatomy, music, psychology, sociology, calculus, biology, and film studies – harness a full range of digital technologies to provide live tutorials, online seminars (“webinars”) and other interactive tools that enable students to communicate with their professors and teaching assistants, and with each other, in real time or whenever it suits them.

Plans are afoot to add many more new courses to the 60 or so that are now being offered.

“Advances in technology and knowledge about online learning allow us to offer programs with the kind of academic quality that Queen’s is known for,” says Brenda Ravenscroft, the Associate Dean (Studies) of the Faculty of Arts and Science. “Through online extension, we can reach out to some of those populations that Queen’s has served for more than a century.”