Cambridge: No F2F lectures until Oct 2021

(179 Posts)
CamDram Wed 20-May-20 08:41:19

A senior tutor at Cambridge has apparently leaked the university's plans to deliver all lectures online for the whole of the 2020/21 academic year.

To say my DC is unhappy about this is an understatement. It also means that the drama and sports scene she loves almost certainly won't be happening at all.
She now wants to take a year out and return in 2021 when she can actually have a decent uni experience. So far, she has only had one decent term at uni as her second term was disrupted by the constant lecturers strikes.

Apparently other unis will be 'broadly in line' with this.

Will your DC who have already started still go back next year?

OP’s posts: |
ShagMeRiggins Wed 20-May-20 08:43:09

Still happy to take the £9k though. Not good enough.

LynetteScavo Wed 20-May-20 08:52:11

DS is refusing to look for a uni house for next year.

He initially thought lectures would be online until Christmas. I've no idea.

I guess I'm mostly place marking.

AllTheWhoresOfMalta Wed 20-May-20 08:53:43

I think they’ve said that tutorials may still go ahead. Crazy though.

LynetteScavo Wed 20-May-20 08:55:51

And I don't think the risk will be that huge. But then I'm not as bright as the folks running Cambridge University grin

cremuel Wed 20-May-20 08:59:04

I imagine this is contingency planning rather than a definite plan. Unis can’t do most of their activities (e.g., lectures) under social distancing, so really can’t start doing them live whilst this is still a government requirement. This is absolutely the last thing unis want to do - it’s a nightmare for teaching and finance. They will continue to charge the same fees because it costs just as much - sometimes more - to deliver education in this way. If they don’t charge for what they are delivering they will be bankrupt. It absolutely sucks for students but it’s hard to see what can be done about it. But if there’s a vaccine or for some other reason a let up in social distancing, I’m sure unis will be fully open.

cinammonbuns Wed 20-May-20 09:00:22

And they’ll all charge the 9.25k fees as the government won’t force them not to.

I understand it’s difficult times for universities but I think they should be able to ensure a university experience that’s worth the money and I don’t think online lectures are comparable to real life lectures.

There is also a lot of misinformation on twitter that for humanities degrees at Cambridge and Oxford most of the contact time is through small seminars so humanities students won’t be heavily affected which is incorrect. Most humanities students will have a few seminars/tutorials a week (2-3 hours) whereas they will have 6 - 12 hours of lectures so yes they will be heavily affected.

For other universities whereby small seminars are once weekly for example the students will really only have one hour of contact per week which I think isn’t unacceptable if they are expected to pay the same fees.

How will universities justify students staying in student accommodation for one hour contact per week. It would be cheaper for most to take the train from their home for the day they need to go in.

And it’s really going to cultivate a culture of students just staying in their rooms working. Seems like a pretty miserable student experience.


cinammonbuns Wed 20-May-20 09:02:02

@cremuel well if it’s a contingency plan then I think they should have done what Manchester did.

Online lectures for term one and then review for the rest of the terms as they saw the situation at the time. It seems a very hasty decision.

cremuel Wed 20-May-20 09:06:06

@cinammonbuns but isn’t this a leak from a tutor rather than an official policy? If it’s anything like my uni, they’ll be planning for full online teaching next year but desperately hoping they won’t have to do that.

Nearlyoldenoughtowearpurple Wed 20-May-20 09:07:15

It’s so sad, I feel so disappointed for all those kids who work hard to get to uni and have their dreams squashed.
Dd going into third year, in a very heavy lecture and lab orientated subject. Certainly this term the on line lectures were variable in effort put in to produce them and some were very late being put up. It was no where near the usual standard of educational experience. Not through lack of trying by the staff, just that a zoom tutorial is in no way as good as a face to face meeting.
They only get one shot at this and it’s such a shame it’s being disrupted so badly.

Noworrieshere Wed 20-May-20 09:08:10

Universities are stuck, people are desperate for clarity so they are erring on the side of caution, although summer 2021 does seem extremely cautious. There is no way lectures can be socially distant, it's just impossible. So for as long as those rules are in place there is no other option.

Once sports and theatre reopens in the rest of the world there's no reason why they can't open in universities too, once pubs open back up then student unions will open too.

But it certainly won't be the same experience. We're a year off uni in our household. If ds was due to start 1st year I think I would suggest he defers. But it's harder when you have already started I think. My niece is due to start this year and had chosen a place living away from home. Her first choice is now to swap to a university she can travel to and stay at home, if that doesn't work then defer. Moving away from home to a partly open uni with fewer chances to meet people is her least preferred option.

I'm sorry for your dd @CamDram it really is a shit situation.

cremuel Wed 20-May-20 09:11:05

I’m sure they will be doing everything they can to enhance the student experience, but if students are not allowed to get within 2m, there’s a limit to what they can do. Everyone working from home is currently government policy and may continue to be for some time - it’s not something the universities have made up.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 20-May-20 09:12:57

DDs lectures were always all available online anyway. She nearly always turned up for them but since lockdown has realised actually online is fine - the ability to pause and think about something or write more detailed notes is useful. Doubtless students can form study groups if they wish and watch together and discuss them.
Putting all lectures online is extremely sensible. It might be good if they could allow a certain number to attend in person, with distancing but having all 450-odd first or second year engineers in the big lecture theatre was clearly not a good idea.

It's the supos and (obviously) the labs which matter for physical presence.

She's already considering renting a house with a 'bubble' of fellow 4th years as her pals are from various colleges.

hablar Wed 20-May-20 09:14:28

I’m sure as soon as social distancing rules are lifted, they’ll be back to normal lectures ASAP. I’m not sure what else they are supposed to do really?

At least at Cambridge, there is still the tutorial system to keep them going. They can still live in their accommodation and make friends; discuss the online lectures; share notes; etc. They’ll all be in the same boat.

Since March, many people have been paying school fees for their 17 year-olds to work remotely in their rooms. No face-to-face contact whatsoever. No contact friends to break the monotony, except for online.. They’ve had to get on with it.

At least they’ll be able to explore their new environments; have some face-to-face contact and meet new people, which is a large part of the uni experience.

CamDram Wed 20-May-20 09:25:17

This was the original piece:

OP’s posts: |
ErrolTheDragon Wed 20-May-20 09:30:57

The universities have to make contingency plans relative to the current rules. If the rules relax - which may well be the case especially for people of student age - then the plans can be adjusted. This is the worst case scenario, it's easier to adjust in the direction of loosening than to start with a more optimistic stance and have to tighten it.

The lectures should definitely all be made available online anyway, for the subset of students with vulnerabilities. Ways to do supos and labs with distancing need to be worked out anyway, for the same reason.

If lectures are available online so can be 'attended' at any time, that presumably frees up larger rooms which can be used for spread out tutorials where required, and should mean that labs can be run over longer hours more sparsely occupied.

MoltoAgitato Wed 20-May-20 09:34:01

Given most of us found out about this from BBC News, we’re a bit miffed. How we are supposed to do labs hasn’t yet been communicated....

ErrolTheDragon Wed 20-May-20 09:38:27

I hadn't read the original piece when I wrote that post ... looks like my guesses are in line with what they're actually saying. All of which is - under current circumstances- very sensible.

Don't forget the lecturers in this ... those who don't already have their lectures recorded (I'm surprised it's not the norm ) need a bit of time to prepare, and also while most of our youngsters aren't at much risk from the virus some of the teaching staff may be. These proposals will hopefully allay their concerns.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 20-May-20 09:41:11

* Given most of us found out about this from BBC News, we’re a bit miffed.*

That's what happens when journalists write pieces on the basis of leaked emails ahead of stakeholders being informed by official channels first. But that's what journalists do - sometimes justifiably - so not sure why you're miffed?

MarchingFrogs Wed 20-May-20 09:49:36

It would be cheaper for most to take the train from their home for the day they need to go in.

Blimey, I can see why young people from Middlesbrough or the back end of Merthyr Tydfil feel that Cambridge isn't for the likes of them, if most students are from within daily commuting distance. We're only 75 miles from Cambridge and a day return is certainly cheaper than a week's rent, but to get there and back for a working day by train involves up to six hours travelling, in and out of London on the way.

Ironoaks Wed 20-May-20 09:57:22

If he gets the grades he is hoping for, DS will be due to start a science course this October.

He is keen to start this year, rather than wait until 2021. Strong maths skills are needed for the course he wants to do (A* in Further Maths is part of the offer). He is working independently (no input from school) to stay at this level for 6 months; 18 months would be too long.

He is OK with lectures being streamed rather than face to face, but is a bit concerned about how the practicals will take place. 3 of the 4 subjects in first year are experimental subjects with a lab-based component.

cinammonbuns Wed 20-May-20 09:59:13

@cremuel I’m not sure if it was originally a leak but I’m pretty certain it has been confirmed to be true now.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 20-May-20 10:00:19

I very much doubt 'most' students are within commuting distance of Cambridge - quite a lot might be within distance of some university but again not all. Don't blame Cambridge for that odd comment from one poster! grin

cinammonbuns Wed 20-May-20 10:01:17

@MarchingFrogs I said for most the reality is quite a lot of Cambridge students live in London so they could make that commute.

I did not say all.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 20-May-20 10:01:28

* I’m not sure if it was originally a leak*

The varsity piece (which has more detail than the bbc or guardian) says it was a leaked email.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in