Three major universities move to online learning amid Covid surges

Students, including those at Birley Halls student accommodation at Manchester Metropolitan University, will move to online learning after a surge in Covid-19 cases (Peter Byrne/PA)

The restart of Britain’s education sector has been dealt a severe blow after three of the country’s largest universities shifted to online classes due to coronavirus outbreaks.

More than 50 universities in the UK have confirmed cases of Covid-19, after thousands of undergraduates returned to campus for the start of the autumn term.

Manchester University, where there have been 382 coronavirus cases since September 21, joined with Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Sheffield in announcing a move to online learning to protect the health of students and staff.

The Manchester universities said they had made the decision together in consultation with the area’s director of public health, supported by Public Health England.

They added they would increase the level of online learning for

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SC charter school enrollment surges as COVID-19 awakens parents to education options

Quan Pollock had long felt like the local public school district in Beaufort County wasn’t the best option for her teenage son.

She’d looked at home schooling and seen commercials for virtual charter schools on television, but wasn’t sure her son, who has attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, was self-sufficient enough to thrive in a virtual environment where he would have to take greater responsibility for his own education.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, forcing Pollock’s son to finish his freshman year virtually, she realized she had underestimated his ability to learn independently.

“We saw that he would have been able to adjust and maintain himself,” she said.

So over the summer, Pollock joined the burgeoning ranks of South Carolina parents who have abandoned traditional public education during the pandemic and enrolled her son at Connections Academy, the largest of the state’s five virtual charter schools.

The pandemic-fueled exodus

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Dreamscape Education And Defense Business Surges In Lockdown

Last week, Dreamscape Immersive announced the creation of Dreamscape Learn, an VR education platform now in development with Arizona State University. Over one hundred fifty designers, coders, and educators will work collaboratively to create immersive learning curricula on the Tempe campus. The first course, an entirely immersive approach to introductory biology, takes place inside of Dreamscape’s signature VR adventure Alien Zoo, which will serve as a virtual laboratory for students to explore, observe and solve problems. Michael Crow, President of ASU, said “Dreamscape Learn will take education into the 21st Century, where students become scientists working within pods in an Alien Zoo to study evolutionary biology.” 

Dreamscape Learn is expected to be available to students in 2021 with rapid expansion into other subjects by 2022. “Education is not a new direction for us. They’re in the founding DNA of the company,” said Parkes, “This is what Artamin, our Swiss

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TDSB turns to supply teachers for online classes as e-learning demand surges

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“Given the reality that we’re facing right now and the changing information over the summer, we could not begin that as early as we had hoped, so the timelines have been quite tight, and then over the weekend it became abundantly clear that the numbers just weren’t adding up.”

The newly hired teachers can’t immediately start their classes since — they need to be trained to use the board’s online learning platform, among other things, he said.

The TDSB announced Monday it was again delaying the start of some virtual elementary classes as more students signed up for online learning.

It said while the online courses were set to begin Tuesday, some classes had not yet been assigned a teacher.

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Students with no teacher assigned were expected to start off with independent learning.

The board said 60,000 students

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TDSB postpones start of some online classes as e-learning demand surges

Canada’s largest school board is once again delaying the start of some of its virtual elementary classes as it tries to keep up with growing demand for online learning.

The Toronto District School Board says 60,000 elementary school students have now signed up for online classes amid rising COVID-19 case numbers, and it originally intended them all to begin their studies on Tuesday.

But the board now says it hasn’t been able to assign staff to all classes, meaning some students will have to wait to begin school until they have a teacher in place.

“We have around 500 teachers [that] still have to be hired so that we can have everyone up and running,” said TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird. 

The TDSB says parents and students will have to log on to its online learning portal on Tuesday morning to find out if their lessons can get underway on schedule.

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