Reading in Tamagawa Garden

English COVID Information for Students

Important information about Fall 2020 English courses

I am looking forward to welcoming you to Vancouver Island University for the fall 2020 semester. While it will look different than what you have been expecting, I am excited to share more details with you today on what your English course in the Arts and Humanities Faculty will look like as well as some of the other supports, services, and activities you can look forward to this coming September.

First, I’d like to share more details about what you can expect in your English course this September: 

  • English courses will be delivered in fully online formats, with no residency in Nanaimo required.
  • Many classes will have some synchronous activities for students that will take place online, in the timeslot scheduled for that course;
  • However, students will also be able to complete courses asynchronously without penalty.  More details will be on your course VIU Learn page by mid-August, or will be communicated to you directly by your instructor.
  • You can expect to connect with your instructor and classmates regularly online through email, VIU Learn, Zoom, and VIU Tube. No other special software or applications will be required.
  • Some courses will make course readings available electronically, but others may require a purchased textbook either in paper or e-book forms.  The VIU Bookstore has excellent online ordering and delivery/pick-up options, as well as competitive pricing.  Information about required texts will be on the Bookstore website over the summer.

During your course, instructors will communicate with you by email and through the class VIU Learn page, and you can contact your instructor through VIU Learn as well, or by email.  Do make sure that the email address registered on your student record is one you check regularly.  Later in August, your course VIU Learn site will have details on how the specific course material will be delivered, how your instructor will be hosting office hours online, and more information about supports and resources available.

More information about our courses, faculty members, and English program is also available on our website.

Your English professors have been working hard to develop online course delivery that will be engaging, create community, and enable you to enjoy and stay on track with your learning goals.  We are excited about all the new tools and resources we have ready to share with you! 

I also wanted to let you know that our student services and supports, such as counselling and advising, as well as a variety of virtual fun activities and events will be available in the fall. For example:

  • Plans are being put in place for a virtual Rock VIU student orientation event
  • You will already find numerous events and activities on our Campus Events [insert link] page, where you can connect with other students and have some fun

I know that many of you may still have questions about the fall semester and I want to assure you that VIU is here to assist you in various ways to ensure that you have an enriching experience.

The University has put together a FAQ for students that is being updated as new questions come in, and we are also happy to answer any further questions you may have – please reach out to me directly if you have questions about the English program, or with more general questions to

I’m very much looking forward to seeing you (virtually) in the fall. In the meantime – I hope you have a wonderful summer.


Toni Smith

Professor and Chair
Department of English