"I just found out the the prof for this online course I’m taking died in 2019."

Beyond the Grave

Aaron Ansuini, a student at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada made a shocking discovery: He found that his art history professor wasn’t alive anymore.

“HI EXCUSE ME,” Ansuini wrote in a tweet, “I just found out the the prof for this online course I’m taking *died in 2019* and he’s technically still giving classes since he’s *literally my prof for this course* and I’m learning from lectures recorded before his passing.”

“I mean, I guess I technically read texts written by people who’ve passed all the time,” he continued, “but it’s the fact that I looked up his email to send him a question and PULLED UP HIS MEMORIAM INSTEAD that just THREW ME OFF A LITTLE.”

Open Casket

Concordia University confirmed to Slate that professor François-Marc Gagnon, a lecturer in the university’s art history department, did indeed pass in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

His lectures, however, live on in Concordia’s online course catalog and are used for a dedicated online course. The class is technically being led by a different professor and two teaching assistants, with Gagnon’s recordings being used as a “teaching tool,” according to Slate.

Musicians’ recordings are frequently released after they die. Social media data often outlives its account holders as well. But the phenomenon is less common in higher education.

The incident also sheds light on the difficulties of learning online during COVID — a phenomenon that’s upending all sorts of social norms.

READ MORE: How a Dead Professor Is Teaching a University Art History Class [Slate]

More on online learning: Scientists Predict the Pandemic Will Set Students Back for Years


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