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Timetables and teaching space
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acatox · 21/08/2022 12:04

We have ever increasing numbers of students coming into university next academic year (I'm not against this or being elitist- it can be transformative for people)

However at my place we are about to go into the Autumn term without enough rooms big enough to hold a whole year cohort for face to face teaching. Academic staff are being asked to double or triple teach sessions, shorten lectures and timetables for students have a lecture at 9am and then another at 6pm on the same day.

Is it similar across the sector now?

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aridapricot · 21/08/2022 15:19

We actually faced this last year. I think the university admitted too many students in the understanding that teaching was going to continue online, and then when we went back to f2f in January, the problems started to emerge (some of my colleagues actually continued teaching online for the rest of the year). This year what I have been dealing with is an unprecedented number of timetable clashes - likely has to do with the fact that we added some extra seminar groups to some courses, actually just a handful, but then other subjects might have done the same, and now Joint Honours students are faced with these clashes. We can "override" them as long as both course coordinators are ok with it, but I fear that down the line this will result in endless accommodations and mitigations, as students could argue that they're not receiving all the teaching they should and hence cannot cope...

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ungleimpact · 22/08/2022 13:20

We had this last year. In one module, I had to repeat one lecture five times in one day - four in-person, one on-line. It wasn't very fun. My understanding is that this isn't particularly unusual although I believe they are now able to teach in the larger lecture theatres so they may be able to reduce the repetition (not sure as I recently moved institution). A bigger problem in some ways is that we were taking in students with vastly different educational, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds but providing no additional or tailored support for those most likely to struggle. I always felt this was a massive ethical issue.

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acatox · 22/08/2022 14:56

I've had to deliver multiple sessions across the day too and it is exhausting - a little bit like being on a production line to fit everyone in.

The growth in student numbers hasn't been met by sufficient growth in physical, technological and staffing infrastructures. I'm all in favour of increasing access to HE and widening participation. Like you I struggle with the ethical dilemma that we haven't sufficient support for study skills and well being support for those students when they arrive. They are promised everything by admissions to get them through the door and then we have to deal with the fallout as they quickly become overwhelmed.

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FlySwimmer · 22/08/2022 15:07

I’ve also experienced teaching multiple sessions of a course on a single day. For us it’s 95% the first year only. By the time they reach the 2nd & 3rd year, modules are more specialised and there’s generally only one seminar group, unless it’s mega-popular and a second can be put on.

Timetables at our place are a mess & have been for years. Being supposedly student-led and prioritising them getting as many first-choice modules as possible, has created these stupid timetables for both students and staff, often spread across four days a week but with maybe 1-2 hours of contact a day. A class at 9am and another at 4pm, all in the name of student ‘choice’. And often the students don’t receive their timetable until halfway through September as it’s so complex, many changes are always needed, etc. Students hate it, and so do the staff.

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