Red Deer College president Peter Nunoda. (Photo by contributed)

Peter Nunoda: Winter term will be busier on RDC campus

In my column last month, I shared details about Red Deer College’s fall term.

Now, six weeks and several snowfalls later, I’d like to provide updates about our plan for the winter 2021 term. It feels like a quick transition between the seasons in several ways.

However, it’s important for us, as a college, to look ahead and plan for the coming months. We’ve shared this plan with our students, and now I’d like to share it with our community, as well.

The first important takeaway about our winter term delivery is that RDC will increase in-person course delivery to approximately 40 per cent of our student enrolment.

We anticipate that between 2,000 to 3,000 students, in addition to the faculty and staff who support these students, will attend main campus each day.

It’s a very unusual thing to determine how to best serve students during a pandemic, and we have had to weigh the options across our programs.

A guiding principle that has driven our decision-making is our commitment to providing students with a high-quality learning environment, whether online or in person, as well as finding creative ways to enhance our students’ overall experiences.

With this in mind, we’ve looked at the curriculum for each course, in each program, to determine what must be delivered in person in order to support student learning.

Labs and shops across RDC’s programs fall under this umbrella. We have also looked at the suitability of each course and program for the different delivery options, because some courses and programs are not a fit for continued online delivery.

With these curriculum-based and suitability criteria providing the framework, we have established what programs will be offered in person on main campus, as well as those offered through a blended model, with some in person and some online instruction.

All other programs will continue to be delivered online in the winter term, as this is the best method we have determined to minimize the number of people on campus, in an effort to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. These details are available on our website at

When I consider RDC’s current and continuing online delivery, I’m reminded of the diligence and dedication that our students, faculty and staff have committed to making this successful.

RDC has offered select programs through online delivery for many years, but in the past several months, this has obviously grown exponentially.

As an institution, we have already learned from these experiences, and we are committed to ongoing learning so that we will continue to evolve and offer students the best experiences possible.

We’re currently surveying all students to better understand their thoughts about online delivery from the fall term.

From this, our academic teams will look to refine our online offerings for winter term, creating an even stronger learning experience for students.

Another important part of being a post-secondary student is making connections with others. We know that this can sometimes be more challenging in an online environment.

As an institution, we are exploring creative and safe opportunities for RDC to provide in-person interactions in the winter term, even for those students who are learning online.

We are continuing to look at all the options and will inform students as decisions are made.

All of our decisions are based on our top priority, which is the health and safety of the RDC community.

As we look to accommodate the increased number of people on main campus in the winter term, we will continue to follow Alberta Health guidelines and RDC’s rigorous protocols to protect people from exposure to COVID-19.

The hard part, though, is that COVID-19 continues to be pervasive worldwide. In recent weeks, we have had people test positive who were at RDC, and we wish them well as they recover.

For all of us collectively, part of the balancing act of this pandemic is determining how to proceed – how to work and learn and live in a safe manner.

Our plan for the winter term at RDC strives to achieve that balance, as we are guided at the college-wide level by government directives, expert advice and best practices, but we are still recognizing the needs of our students and employees as individuals.

We will continue to monitor the situation and make the best decisions for the health and safety of our college community. And we will always advocate for kindness and support of each other as we all navigate through this unusual time.

Peter Nunoda is president of Red Deer College.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said growing COVID-19 case numbers continue to be a concern in the province. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta announces 1,077 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

There are currently 14,052 active cases in the province

Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s chief medical health officer publicly criticizes staffer who leaked info

EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, dealing with rocketing COVID-19… Continue reading

The RCMP major crimes unit is investigating after a person was found dead at a residence on Stewart Street in Red Deer’s Sunnybrook neighbourhood Wednesday afternoon. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Red Deer RCMP investigating suspicious death in Sunnybrook

A ‘deceased adult’ was found by officers

A detail from Canyon Light, an oil painting by Joan Clement, in the Scale exhibit by members of the Red Deer Art Club. It’s showing at the Viewpoint Gallery in the city’s Culture Services Centre. (Contributed image).
Outdoor art gallery and scavenger hunt is on in Red Deer next month

But First Friday receptions and patio concerts are postponed

All Red Deer students from Grade 7 to 12 will be learning remotely as of next week, and are not expected to return to in-person classes until Jan. 11. (Contributed photo).
Red Deer schools prepare for temporary remote learning, starting next week

Middle- and high-school students start learning remotely on Monday

Head Coach Jason Chatwood (left) sports one of the Sylvan Lake Gulls’ first on-field hats next to Aqil Samuel, general manager and president of baseball operations, at Hockey Central on July 26. (Photo by Sylvan Lake News)
Sylvan Lake Gulls ticket sales off to flying start

With the inaugural season quickly closing in, the Sylvan Lake Gulls hit… Continue reading

Players at Canada’s World Junior selection camp in Red Deer last hit the ice Sunday in an intrasquad game. On Tuesday, it was announced that two players had tested positive for COVID-19 and the entire camp has since gone into isolation. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Hockey Canada Images)
Canada’s world junior camp to remain on pause for 14 days

Camp halted after two players contracted COVID-19

File Photo
Sylvan Lake Town Council asks for a mask bylaw to be brought forward for consideration

The bylaw would require face coverings in all indoor Town-owned and operated facilities

The Alberta Junior Hockey League has halted the season after the provincial government put in place new COVID-19 measures. (Photo courtesy of AJHL)
New COVID-19 restrictions bring pause to AJHL

The Alberta Junior Hockey League has postponed the season in the wake… Continue reading

Canadian currency (
Opinion: These are among the ways we’ll pay off our crippling debt

Ordinary Canadians have begun worrying about something that usually only dismal scientists… Continue reading

FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2018 file photo, Chadwick Boseman, a cast member in “Black Panther,” poses at the premiere of the film in Los Angeles. Boseman, who played Black icons Jackie Robinson and James Brown before finding fame as the regal Black Panther in the Marvel cinematic universe, died of colon cancer on Aug. 28, 2020 in Los Angeles. He was buried on Sept. 3, in Belton, South Carolina, about 11 miles from his hometown of Anderson, according to a death certificate obtained Monday, Sept. 14 by The Associated Press. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
Chadwick Boseman delivers heartbreaking performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”:review

By Jocelyn Noveck THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Chadwick Boseman surges onto the screen… Continue reading

The Toronto Star building is shown in Toronto, Wednesday, June 8, 2016. Torstar Corp. says it has sold digital advertising technology developed by its subsidiary, Eyereturn Marketing Inc., to Loblaw Companies Ltd. Financial terms of the agreement were not immediately available. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Eduardo Lima
Torstar sells digital marketing technology developed by subsidiary to Loblaw

TORONTO — Torstar Corp. says it has sold digital advertising technology developed… Continue reading

Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen speeds down the course during an Alpine Skiing World Cup men’s slalom, in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, Sunday, March. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)
Lack of snow in France moves World Cup ski races to Italy

VAL D’ISERE, France — Two men’s World Cup races scheduled in France… Continue reading

Most Read