Frequently Asked Questions about Returning to Campus

We know this has been a complex and challenging time for our students. We are working hard to prioritize your health, safety and academic well-being as we complete the Winter 2022 semester.

The following FAQs have been developed to help address some common questions and concerns as many of you prepare to return to in-person learning. Thank you for your patience and resilience as we continue to respond to the ever-changing realities of the pandemic, and for doing your part to keep the University of Alberta community safe, healthy and kind.

To find the latest information on the University of Alberta’s response to COVID-19, visit

Will my course be returning in person?

If your course was previously scheduled to be in person, you will return to in person learning on February 28 unless you are in a course being delivered remotely as indicated in BearTracks and the course syllabus. 

We appreciate that some students chose to learn remotely outside of Edmonton and Camrose and may be wondering whether there are ways to continue with remote learning. Unless your course was already scheduled as remote delivery, you are strongly encouraged to return to our campuses to complete your course work.

Returning to campus safely on February 28 »

Will my instructor record lectures?

Students with a related approved accommodation under the Duty to Accommodate Procedure will see no changes to lecture recordings.

Your instructor may also record lectures in order to provide them to students asynchronously, but not all instructors do. Some reasons why an instructor may choose not to record a lecture include the privacy of course participants, and the sensitivity of the material. 

Your course instructor is your first point of contact to determine whether lecture recordings are possible in your class. If they are unable to resolve your questions/concerns, you can address them to the course Department and Faculty Office. This is the same process for all course issues you may encounter during your time at the University of Alberta. If you are not sure who to contact, the Student Service Centre, Office of Student Ombuds or Academic Success Centre for students with approved accommodations.

I have a practicum this term. Will it be in person?

Please contact your practicum coordinator or instructor for additional information. Many of our practicum partners are working under the same rapidly changing circumstances as the university, and are trying to get information confirmed as quickly as possible.

What happens if I’m sick and miss an exam or need a deferral?

The Calendar remains the official publication of academic regulations for students. The existing regulations in the Calendar address what is to be done when students are incapacitated, miss term work or exams, or need a deferral.

What mental health supports are available?

We know that students have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and there is high demand for mental health support. The Wellness Supports team welcomes the opportunity to help find solutions and match you with a wide variety of services tailored to your unique circumstances. Some of these include Counselling & Clinical Services, the University Health Centre, the Sexual Assault Centre, along with Students’ Union (SU) partners like the Peer Support Centre and The Landing, a service to support gender and sexual diversity on campus. 

To get a sense of what the present needs are, the Office of the Dean of Students launched Student Service Experience surveys in the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 semesters. Combined with external data from the Canadian Campus Wellbeing Survey (CCWS) and the Canadian Postsecondary Education Alcohol and Drug Use Survey (C-PADS), this data provides a snapshot of the student experience, and will be used to identify how our services can be adjusted to the greatest benefit in the present and future.

What kind of accommodations are available for students with documented disabilities?

Accommodations are available for students with documented disabilities affecting mobility, vision, hearing, learning, and physical or mental health, including those who are immunocompromised. Students can access the supports and advice they need this semester through the Academic Success Centre. Students who require modifications on other grounds should first contact their faculty for guidance. 

Professor Allen Ball has recently been appointed a Provost’s Fellow to lead the Student Accessibility Assessment Project, which aims to assess the current state of student accessibility at the U of A, identify recommendations for the future, and contribute to the development of accessible environments that facilitate all students’ academic and campus participation.

How is the university ensuring stable internet service in residence and on campus?

The university is exploring the creation of a separate environment for online exams to improve stability, so that vulnerabilities in the large course environment do not propagate into the exam environment.

What do I do to resolve an academic issue?

Your course instructor is your first point of contact for resolving issues. If they are unable to resolve your concerns, you can address them to the course Department and Faculty Office. Regardless of your area of study there are designated staff available in the faculty office who are there to help and support you. 

The Office of the Student Ombuds also provides confidential, impartial service that strives to ensure that university processes related to students operate as fairly as possible. If all other options are exhausted at the department or faculty level, the General Faculties Council (GFC) is the University governing body which has statutory authority over academic matters and student affairs. Information on appeals and grievances is available in the Calendar.

What kind of technology is available for online learning?
As of Fall 2021, 50 hybrid classrooms equipped with a computer, document camera, projector/display, microphone and a webcam are set up on campus for teaching and learning to occur concurrently through digital networked and in-person spaces.
My instructor is using remote proctoring for remote exams. What do I need to know?

A small number of instructors at the University of Alberta continue to use remote proctoring for reasons related to ensuring academic integrity. AI-mediated remote proctoring technology is evolving and improvements have been made to the technology since the beginning of the pandemic; however, the technology can still present challenges, and the university does not widely promote the use of AI-mediated software tools. 

There are two online proctoring programs for which the University of Alberta provides technical support: SEM and Examlock. University faculty member Roger Moore wrote a blog post last year about how instructors and students can collaborate to ensure positive experiences with remote proctoring. 

It’s ultimately the instructor, not the software, that determines if an act of academic misconduct may have occurred. If what happened in a flagged moment is not entirely clear, instructors will most likely communicate with students directly to provide an informal opportunity to explain what happened.

Some instructors of remote courses may use Zoom or Google Meet to supervise remote exams. Instructor-supervised exams via Zoom or Google Meet are not considered to be remotely proctored; the term refers specifically to AI-mediated software. However, students may have concerns about the use of virtual meeting technology for exam supervision. Students are encouraged to raise those concerns with their instructor. The University will continue to review the use of these tools to ensure they reflect best practice. The Centre for Teaching and Learning has resources for instructors to assist with pedagogical strategies for online final assessments.

As is true of all technology, technical issues can occur while using these tools. Any student who has a challenge with remote proctoring, or with the use of Google or Zoom, should raise those concerns with their instructor immediately. If they are unable to resolve your questions/concerns, you can address them to the course Department and Faculty Office. This is the same process for all course issues you may encounter during your time at the University of Alberta.