SFU responds to claims equating online education with a Netflix subscription

The university counters students’ so-called “negative” experiences

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By: Hannah Kazemi, Staff Writer

Dear students,

Many students are comparing their tuition to purchasing a Netflix subscription the primary complaint being it was overpriced for what they paid for. SFU has heard your cries for attention and wants to address your half-baked (but adorable) concerns.

We’ve received complaints about how online classes had tiny capacity caps and our waitlists were (and continue to be) even smaller. You criticize this, though you fail to recognize this indicates SFU’s desire to present students with the best education possible. We are actually stretching our resources and facilities to accommodate only a select few students so we can maintain the quality of our education.

We are sympathetic to the pressures students face these days, and endeavour to support you in any way possible — we’ve heard enough about how “Netflix only allows a certain number of users on a profile at once” and how “SFU is being like Netflix and straight up not slaying right now,” but we trust that these inexplicably low capacity limits are what is best for our students.

A lack of transparency regarding what exactly is included in distance ed learning was also noted by administration. Many students issued complaints about the quality of content, citing instances where, “profs would upload videos of themselves introducing the lecture and then blankly staring at the screen for thirty seconds,” and “it felt like when you open Netflix and the screen buffers for so long trying to load your profile, but nothing is happening.” It appeared to students that most professors were so unaware of the simple fact that their actions do, in fact, have consequences. 

The allegations against SFU focus most on the instability and inconsistencies that come with remote learning. One student statement read: “You opened Canvas expecting to find all of the assignment descriptions and the syllabus uploaded, just like you expect to find your favourite movie or series on Netflix so you can refer back and pick up where you left off. Except that’s never the case. One day it’s there, the next day it’s gone. It’s like how Mean Girls and Mamma Mia left Netflix after being there for years. How am I supposed to complete assignments when the criteria and syllabus aren’t there?”

In response to this, SFU believes that students are not giving their esteemed professors the benefit of the doubt. How are they expected to get any administrative tasks done while simultaneously learning how to navigate online learning? They were ill-equipped. It’s really not on us, but rather their own fault for being unfamiliar with technology. SFU didn’t have the funds to teach all of the professors how to use Zoom anyways. We were too busy making sure we could license Zoom on Canadian servers following multiple security breaches, and having another one happen anyways.

All the best, darlings,

SFU Administration

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