Loyola to offer a free, three-credit COVID-19 class

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Cristian

The horseshoe on Loyola's campus sits empty on a foggy day. The university is offering a free three-credit course on COVID-19 to students this summer. Photo credit: Cristian Orellana

Rae Walberg

Loyola is offering a free three-credit general elective class titled “Understanding the Science and Impact of COVID-19” in the second seven-weeks of the university’s summer program to teach students about the global effects of the coronavirus.

Loyola included the class in the free course list in order to make it more available to students, according to course supervisor and Associate Vice Provost Erin Dupuis.

“For some students, when we went into online only in the spring, they might’ve had to withdraw from courses, they might have found themselves failing courses, and so I think this gives them an opportunity to make up for some of that,” Dupuis said.

The university is also offering this course to high school students as compensation for their cancelled neuroscience camp due to COVID-19, Dupuis said.

The class also does not have a student limit.

“We’ll offer it to as many students who want to take it, Dupuis said. “If all Loyola students want to take it, all Loyola students will be taking it.”

The course draws from the expertise of seven Loyola professors from areas of biology, sociology, criminology and business in an effort to help students understand the “complex disease,” Dupuis said.

“It affects so many different elements of life right now, and we have such great experts on campus that we can bring them all together and have them offer, at least for one week, their expertise in a particular area of COVID,” she said.

Since the courses’ announcement, Dupuis said it has received a lot of interest with 100 students already enrolled in the class.

“I’ve already had faculty reaching out to me to ask me if they can sit in and audit it because these professors that are teaching are experts in what they do,” she said. “To have all of these experts coming together to teach a course is something that we’ve never really done before, so it’s a good opportunity to interact with faculty from these different areas.”

Dupuis said that professors will have teaching autonomy for their week. However, she stressed that students will have the same assignments throughout the course to avoid confusion.

In addition to being one of the largest classes Loyola has offered, Dupuis said the three-credit course could also “potentially” be one of the first opportunities for students to take a course on a new learning management system provider.

“If we do decide to switch from Blackboard, it will be new for us to build a course up in that new system, but I think if we do switch, students are going to like that,” Dupuis said.

While the start date is nearly seven weeks away, Dupuis said she is excited for the class.

“I think that this is going to be an awesome class,” Dupuis said. “It’s a reward for all the hard work students have been doing and while it does create more work for students, it’s a three-credit course that’s free.”