Design Engineering: Mitigating the pandemic’s effects on the future STEM workforce
by Dr. Mary Wells
UWaterloo’s Hive Mind tutoring program helps level the playing field for high schoolers impacted by lock-down isolation.
The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing full and partial lockdowns that swept across Canada and the world have had unprecedented effects on education. Many Canadian high schools shifted to a quadmestered system and alternated in-person and remote learning. This meant students had to learn difficult concepts in math and science at an accelerated pace in semi-isolation without supports from their peers and teachers.
How well can someone learn in this environment and how confident will they be of their skills in math, physics and chemistry at the end of this process?
These are important considerations given high school completion of subjects such as calculus and vectors, Grade 12 physics and Grade 12 chemistry are necessary to be considered for admission into many of our university programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Students have not experienced this crisis equally. Students living in poverty with limited access to technology and private spaces for learning; rural and remote students with inadequate Internet connectivity; and the stress and anxiety experienced by racialized and black students whose families were more likely to be infected with COVID-19 are only a few examples.