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University Fees for on-line Lectures

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Kastanien Mon 04-May-20 09:00:29

Latest this morning(sorry if it is already on here, I checked and could not see a thread)
www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-52506283

Just wondering how those of you with DC due to start (or return to Uni) in the Autumn feel about full tuition fees for on-line learning?
I feel there should be a reduction as the teaching is not the same on-line as face to face.

OP’s posts: |
SkelingtonArgument Mon 04-May-20 09:16:12

Why should there be a reduction in fees? Your DC is still getting the benefit of a university education albeit on line. The biggest impact will be on the social side of a degree, which isn’t covered by the fees anyway.

Bigfishylittlefishy Mon 04-May-20 09:16:46

Depends on the quality of the content. Lots of Universities are well equipped for online learning, many aren’t though and I would be reluctant to pay the full price.

I’m starting my nursing degree in September, I presume the first semester will be online. For me that’s not a problem. I am a mature student, and I have already done a degree with the OU, so I’m used to distance learning. I will still need some contact however, to learn how to inject etc.

If I was young, I would delay it for another year. No way would I want to miss out on freshers week and all of the fun.

Kastanien Mon 04-May-20 09:21:05

Why should they get a reduction? Because there are no guarantees as yet that the teaching will be the same quality as face to face. A lot of lecturers have never taught in this way before, it is not as simple as putting the lesson you were going to deliver on line- and voila- the same quality! The Open University do lot of on-line courses but it took them a while to develop the content, it was not done in six months.
Also, not every student has the tech to support this, or a decent place to study at home.

OP’s posts: |
GlomOfNit Mon 04-May-20 09:35:56

Choose. Either pay a lot less and watch the university you registered at go under, or pay the going rate for a university education that faculty staff are working their arses off to deliver safely.

Universities are not all going to make it through this. There are going to be massive redundancies throughout the sector.

Give the staff some credit, please. They are working very hard and will continue to all through summer, I'd imagine, to bring top-notch education to students come autumn and beyond. Most universities are preparing several different teaching models for several different possible outcomes. In addition, most if not all universities have had to put lecture content online BEFORE the courses start (on Blackboard, etc) so the infrastructure is already partially there.

This won't last forever. But universities, with their funding utterly slashed by the philistine policies of successive Tory governments, cannot afford to cut course fees because the beginning of the course will be mostly online for a few months.

IcedPurple Mon 04-May-20 09:47:18

Choose. Either pay a lot less and watch the university you registered at go under, or pay the going rate for a university education that faculty staff are working their arses off to deliver safely.

You could also make the argument that the unis need to choose between offering students a reduction on their course fees for online tuition, or taking the risk that they'll defer entirely until next year. This would leave the unis with a massive hole in their finances and the possibility that some/many of these students will choose a differerent uni next year.

Even the best online courses are not a substitute for face-to-face learning, and are also much cheaper for the unis to run. So some discount sounds reasonable to me. Universities are not charities, and I say this as someone who works in one.

Sb131216 Mon 04-May-20 09:58:21

I'm finishing my degree this month and don't have any qualms about tuition fee from online course.. Most of the time tutors recite the lecture and thats it anyway
Still paying for receiving education and information but I understand its not as planned but the course will still be the same content.

My advice would be if they are concerned to look up lectures online. I just paid for a module (law) which I found much more informative and detailed than my own lecturer and that on top of my course is making me feel better (it was about £20)

It is also upto the student to top up online learning with self study, textbooks, online resources anyway and out my uni the library is open at reduced hours still plus books online that you have access to. It all comes as a bundle in the payment.

I think I'd be more precious if having to pay accommodation without being there but we own our own house as I'm a mature student

If it bothers so much maybe consider a gap year and return when things stabilise?
Fees are so high as it is.. I would just make sure to have the conversation with dc and make sure this is whst they want, how they think they'll manage if some learning is online and what you can do to support them

milveycrohn Mon 04-May-20 10:04:37

A lot of the university content is online these days anyway. The extra stuff will be library content (which presumably is closed at present), but the university will possibly be paying royalties for content made available online, such as research papers, presentations etc.
As said earlier, what the students will really be missing is the university experience of (possibly living in university accommodation), the other students.
There may well be online participation for the various modules, courses, which should be accessible.

Catsmother1 Mon 04-May-20 10:07:26

The unis need money, but the students will not be able to access a lot of the facilities. They will have to buy books, rather than borrow them from the uni library. Some of them are £100 each. They won’t have access to necessary equipment - for example laboratories for science degrees. My daughter is hoping to do a music degree - she can have instrument lessons online, but she will not have access to expensive computer software/equipment for composing. I’m sure it will work for things like history and English, not so sure about science, performing arts/music, medicine, veterinary science, sports degrees etc.

IcedPurple Mon 04-May-20 10:12:13

A lot of the university content is online these days anyway

That 's mainly uploads of lectures. But there's a lot more to a university education than attending lectures. And I'm not just talking about going to the student union bar on Friday night, but tutorials, experiments, practical demos, language practice etc. Some of this can be moved online but it's a pretty poor substitute, and students aren't fooled by any claims to the contrary.

NameChange84 Mon 04-May-20 10:15:46

I teach at a university. We’re working round the clock to ensure high quality content and delivery.

Lectures, tutorials and seminars are working very well online from our point of view but attendance has been much poorer than usual.

We are currently developing our curriculum for next Semester for both online and face to face as we don’t currently know if we will be allowed to reopen.

I can empathise with your concerns but we are doing everything in our power to ensure high quality teaching. Most lectures are filmed and put up on the intranet now anyway along with all the resources each week for students who are absent or have additional levels of need.

Most of us are very concerned about our jobs. Despite working harder than ever with zero off time for months now, I genuinely have no idea whether I will have a job in September. Many staff are in the same position.

Kastanien Mon 04-May-20 10:17:56

You could also make the argument that the unis need to choose between offering students a reduction on their course fees for online tuition, or taking the risk that they'll defer entirely until next year. This would leave the unis with a massive hole in their finances and the possibility that some/many of these students will choose a differerent uni next year.

Even the best online courses are not a substitute for face-to-face learning, and are also much cheaper for the unis to run. So some discount sounds reasonable to me. Universities are not charities, and I say this as someone who works in one.

This. This is exactly my point, thank you IcedPurple I will be having the conversation with my DC about possibly deferring for a year, but I think that if so many students ask to do that they universities will just say a blanket no and force this years cohort to accept online or forfeit their place altogether. I believe it is at the discretion of the universities to allow a deferment or not, normally they would only get a few requests so it doesn't matter too much to them, but if so many want to defer this year that the numbers go significantly down, then I think they will refuse those requests.

However, keeping their numbers stable by offering a slight reduction this year to do it on-line instead of deferring for year and paying full fees would tempt enough students to start this autumn as planned.

OP’s posts: |
AgileLass Mon 04-May-20 10:21:25

attendance has been much poorer than usual

Yes. I’m slightly less sympathetic to handwringing about the quality of online teaching when students (this year, at least) simply aren’t engaging with it. Less than 30% of my students have engaged with the online materials over the last 6 weeks, and this is broadly the case across my dept.

Singingatmidnight Mon 04-May-20 10:26:59

I don't know how all of this will play out, but the problem is that for most universities, the education of home/EU students is cross-subsidised by other things.

Education and buildings and facilities are subsidised by the money made on summer courses and conferences using the halls when students aren't there - that income is gone this year.

Home/EU students are subsidised by international students - a lot of that income will be gone if international students don't want to, or can't, come.

Some of the cheapest-to-run arts subjects subsidise the science teaching - if there are fewer students coming for arts courses or universities reduce their fees for these courses, then they might have to close the most expensive degrees.

There's not much saving in teaching online, because the staff are doing all the same work anyway - sometimes more, if they're being asked to prepare for both in-person and online teaching or they need to teach more courses (because most unis have now started a hiring freeze and there are staffing gaps).

I don't know what the solution is, tbh.

pocketem Mon 04-May-20 10:27:59

The universities' greediness in charging full fees is going to come back to bite them in the longer term.

They are making the argument that online taught courses are just as good as existing ones and therefore they will not be reducing fees.

By that argument there is nothing to stop universities offering online courses to whoever they like - Britons could attend online courses from European universities which charge far, far lower fees than UK unis. Without the disruption and living costs of actually having to travel and live there. Many of these courses are taught in English and offer internationally-accepted qualifications.

Singingatmidnight Mon 04-May-20 10:32:03

There's actually a lot of additional costs to teaching online, too, such as paying publishers for ebook versions of everything. These costs can be huge. Anyway, it's all a bit, costly nightmare all round. Some unis will be closing whole departments or campuses, no doubt.

If I was 18 I'd probably be trying to defer.

Servers Mon 04-May-20 10:32:44

As a lot are already struggling financially, it just isn't viable to reduce fees. The content and qualification will be the same, I am sure plans will be in place for units and assessments which need to be face to face to be done later in the academic year. A lot of their income is from international students, as they cannot travel here at the moment I do think a lot of departments will be on the brink, even with the government's pledge to help. Even if more are offered online going forward, plenty of people will want to go in person for the experience, it's just that in the middle of a global pandemic this isn't possible at the moment.

IcedPurple Mon 04-May-20 10:34:49

Yes. I’m slightly less sympathetic to handwringing about the quality of online teaching when students (this year, at least) simply aren’t engaging with it. Less than 30% of my students have engaged with the online materials over the last 6 weeks, and this is broadly the case across my dept.

But isn't that the problem?

Your 'clients' - students - simply don't want the 'product'. That's not in any way a criticism of the university staff involved in creating and delievering the online courses. It's simply a reflection of the fact that even for the most internet savvy generation in history, online teaching just isn't the same. It just doesn't motivate and engage students in the same way. So charging the same for online as for face-to-face courses is going to be a very hard sell.

MrsHuntGeneNotJeremyObviously Mon 04-May-20 10:35:38

Maybe students are watching the lectures after they've been live streamed? Lots of kids are on different time zones or have poor WiFi.

I don't think anyone doubts that lecturers are working hard, but the truth is they've been shafted by their own establishments for years. DS' university had strikes before the lockdown due to this - he hasn't had proper face to face teaching in a long time. But he's still expected to pay £9,000 in tuition. He isn't getting £9,000 worth of quality teaching imo.
What are the vice chancellors of all these universities getting paid?
These are businesses - students don't have an obligation to keep them afloat if they aren't getting value for money.

SeasonFinale Mon 04-May-20 10:37:04

You do realise they have overheads to pay. Crack on with insisting they give discounted rates and the uni may not be in existence by the end of your child's degree course in some cases and they won't have a degree at all, just to save a bit of money.

There seems to be this race for discounts without thinking through how sustainable businesses or institutions are without a proper income!

GCAcademic Mon 04-May-20 10:38:34

Why should they get a reduction? Because there are no guarantees as yet that the teaching will be the same quality as face to face

If the quality is poor, then there is recourse for that, as there has always been.

The universities' greediness in charging full fees is going to come back to bite them in the longer term.

Greediness? Do you think that universities will be making a profit? Most courses will be running at a loss next year. My university has lost £30 million as a result of the pandemic. It would be way cheaper for us to continue face to face teaching. As a previous poster has said, it is going to cost a lot of money to put resources online. A lot of courses are going to end up closing over the next couple of years.

AgileLass Mon 04-May-20 10:38:50

Fair point, IcedPurple.

I don’t think it’s necessarily helpful to speak of “online degrees” as though students registering in Sept will have the whole of their degree delivered online. I can see a scenario where the first semester is wholly or partly online, but that’s just one out of six or eight. Which is why I don’t think that U.K. students will decamp en masse for cheaper online degrees in the Netherlands or Germany - I’d be really surprised if that happens and would caution any parents to get their children to think carefully through the implications of a decision like that.

Kastanien Mon 04-May-20 10:39:14

They are making the argument that online taught courses are just as good as existing ones and therefore they will not be reducing fees.

That is a good point- in that case they won't need all those expensive buildings as they could just continue to teach on-line. In my home town the university has bought up whole roads of large buildings and converted them into university buildings. Maybe they won't need them anymore, so they could return them to residential use and provide much needed housing in my town. Bet they won't though, once this is over they will be back to convincing everyone how important face to face learning is. This is my point- they want to have it both ways.

OP’s posts: |
AgileLass Mon 04-May-20 10:40:06

Maybe students are watching the lectures after they've been live streamed? Lots of kids are on different time zones or have poor WiFi.

We can track that. They’re not. And it’s not just live-streaming lectures, it’s discussion boards, various online tasks, seminars and individual tutorials.

elastamum Mon 04-May-20 10:41:38

Some courses can be taught online and some cant. I have one DC doing English - not a problem apart from me having to buy a lot of expensive books as he has no access to the university library and the texts are not available on line. His £9k a year is funding a couple of seminars a week and a few recorded lectures. However, his uni is very prestigious and they will just do what they like.

My other DC is doing engineering and without lab access he has no idea how he can graduate. His uni have not yet come back with a plan, as to how they propose to run his final year. However, having got this far he will just have to go with whatever they propose

It is also really difficult for some students to find somewhere to work. We are really lucky in that everyone here has study space. However, for a lot of students studying from home is really difficult.

From what I can see its not a great way for a young person to do a degree. if they were starting as first years I would probably recommend they defer.

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