More than 270 University of British Columbia students have signed up to study COVID-19 in a whole new way when they return to classes.
UBC has developed a new credit course that delves into the implications the global health crisis has had on society.
Registration for the COVID-19 and Society course filled up in just two weeks for the September start date, with another 75 students on the waiting list.
According to UBC, it's the first course of its kind in Canada that focuses solely on the sociological aspects of the pandemic. It has been put together by UBC's department of sociology and has been popular with students across various faculties and year levels as it doesn't require students to have any prerequisites.
UBC says it's unique because it acknowledges that all students are affected by COVID differently and therefore, it doesn't require students to attend the class at a specific time. Instead, the course content takes place within 48-hour windows, to allow for more flexible learning.
Students will have to complete a final project where they work with community partners to develop a strategy to inform the public about COVID-19.
"What makes this course so special is the student projects at the end of the course where they will partner with a regional or international organization to develop materials intended to be useful in supporting the organization's mandate," said Wan Yee Lok, media relations specialist at UBC.
"For example, students could create an infographic for employers with research about how to support employees working from home under lockdown."
Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops has already been offering a COVID course to its students over the past couple of weeks. The TRU course covers the health, economic and societal impacts of the pandemic.
UBC's course will feature several guest speakers from different industries who will share how they were personally impacted by the pandemic.
"The course helps students make connections between their own experience of COVID-19 and larger social patterns occurring locally and globally," said Katherine Lyon, course instructor and developer, in a news release.
The first part of the course will focus on how the pandemic impacted different groups of people based on their race, age, gender, sexuality and class.
It will also explore day-to-day life during this unprecedented time and how people maintained social interactions while in self-isolation.
The third part of the course looks into how the coronavirus affected social institutions, including science, health care, the economy and the legal system.
"A theme underlying the entire course is social change," said Lyon.
"How people and societies respond to sweeping and unexpected social change and how individuals and groups can seek to make a meaningful change for the future in light of what we have learned from this pandemic."