TRU professor hopes to teach course on COVID-19 pandemic this summer

Dr. Michael Mehta is looking forward to the prospect of teaching an event that is still impacting the globe. “Teaching something that’s unfolding gives you a chance to use material that’s fresh and current and subject to change,” he said. Mehta is awaiting word from the university on whether the course will proceed

A Thompson Rivers University professor is hoping to offer a course, beginning as soon as next month, looking at various aspects of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Michael Mehta, who teaches geography and sociology at the university, said he has received positive feedback from students looking to enrol in the potential summer course after missing out on credits when the novel coronavirus pandemic moved TRU’s winter semester courses out of the classroom and onto the internet.

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“I have floated an idea for a summer course in geography and environmental studies and sociology and anthropology,” Mehta told KTW, noting the class would cover the health, economic and societal impacts of the pandemic — and he is open to suggestions from students for more topics to study.

Mehta said he has submitted a course application to the university and let his students know his plans. He said the feedback has been positive.

“I think there are going to be students who, perhaps, didn’t complete courses this semester for a variety of reasons,” he said. “They might be looking for summer courses and this might interest them.”

Mehta said he is looking forward to the prospect of teaching an event that is still impacting the globe.

“Teaching something that’s unfolding gives you a chance to use material that’s fresh and current and subject to change,” he said.

While a student at York University in the late 1980s, Mehta said, he took a course on the ongoing issue of public protest, democracy and communism — as the Tiananmen Square protests were happening in China.

“I found that to be the most impactful turning point of my undergraduate years,” he said. “So, I think it can be really powerful if done right.”

If Mehta’s summer class — tentatively titled COVID-19: The Course — proceeds, it will take place online. Mehta said he hopes to embrace technology in the course, perhaps making use of virtual reality.

Mehta said he hopes to find out by the end of the week whether his summer course will get the go-ahead from the university.

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