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Surely Unis should be F2F as default again now?
39

user1497207191 · 23/02/2022 11:48

DS rang last night, really upset/angry. Another of his modules is now online only. That's ALL 3 of his current term modules now fully online. What the hell is going on? I thought covid restrictions had now officially stopped, so what possible reason is there for a Uni to being moving onto Online at this moment in time? He thought it was bad enough in January when he found out 2 of his 3 modules were online, but did get some comfort in knowing 1 would be face to face.

He's sent a very strong complaint to the dept.

He's in year 2 and had an awful first year with literally nothing face to face for the entire year, and thought it had turned a corner in September (start of year 2) when everything was face to face.

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titchy · 23/02/2022 11:55

The latest guidance from DfE is that face to face should resume. Paragraph 4 of introduction: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachmentdata/file/1056222/HECOVID_guidance.pdf

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irregularegular · 23/02/2022 12:02

I think it is outrageous to be honest. I teach at a University and we are doing some online lectures but the vast majority of teaching is F2F. It can be good practice to supplement F2F teaching with online, but it certainly should not be only/dominant mode by now. My DS is starting University next year and it is something I will be encouraging him to look at.

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DrunkenUnicorn · 23/02/2022 12:03

That’s awful for your DS.

Which uni/course? Some seem to be better than others for keeping f2f.

Good luck with the complainant!

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LiveFromNewYork · 23/02/2022 12:07

In my uni the staff seem to be able to do what they like now, especially if they cite 'individual risk' circumstances eg pregnancy, underlying health conditions. Personally I think a normal lecture is fine online if its not interactive, though should be split up into sections. Classes it's not really on anymore but our uni is incredibly cautious.

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poetryandwine · 23/02/2022 12:19

Not defending this, but even before COVID removed F2F the trend was for lecturers to put vast amounts of material online and to record the lectures themselves so that lecture attendance was optional. Part of personalised learning. Quality of these materials was variable. The idea that something happens in the room that cannot be replicated was thought quaint.

Then with COVID this effort stepped up hugely and the quality of the materials became by and large exemplary AFAIK. But the cost in time and therefore to academics’ careers has been enormous.

So now IMO unis are continuing the personalised learning trend and also trying to give academics a bit of time back by continuing the use of all this highly developed material. It is cheaper than a decent raise.

Again, not defending this. I think you can put maybe 80-90% of learning online but the magic, when it occurs, is almost always F2F.
And of course students have legitimate needs for ordinary intellectual give and take with their seniors, which can and should be part of modern lecturing technique.

I understand the frustration of your DS. But many academics lost 18 months of a career and are also in a bad way. If things had not gotten so adversarial before COVID I do wonder whether they might be different now.

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user1497207191 · 23/02/2022 12:24

It's Lancaster. Sounds like he's just been unlucky with his module choices. His flat mate who is doing a similar degree, chose different modules and all 3 of his are still at least partially face to face. The real killer is that they've also just announced that the exams will be in person, not online, so they're happy to do the lectures/seminars etc online but still expect physical/in person exams at the end of it.

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user1497207191 · 23/02/2022 12:26

@poetryandwine

But many academics lost 18 months of a career and are also in a bad way.

Yes, I understand that, but the academics will have 20+ years of their career, so can make up a "lost 18 months". Students normally are only studying for 3 years, so 2 of those badly impacted by lack of face to face teaching can seriously disrupt their Uni experience that they'll never get back.

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Change123today · 23/02/2022 12:27

I understand the split and some useful things going online/pre recorded etc but my wish would be honesty from the uni - stating what the level of online would be. I know for my daughter she wouldn’t have selected where she has gone as she has struggled with online teams etc
She didn’t pick open uni as online wouldn’t have worked for her long term but seems that the uni are very silent about what the f2f / online split would be and how it is going to be delivered in the next two years when asked.

I’m not sure they can charge the same for a course majority online delivered either allow proper choice. I knew for my daughter it would have been f2f delivered course.

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astoundedgoat · 23/02/2022 12:30

I know a lot of academics and the unis they teach at are VERY clear that all teaching should be face to face now. I think it's awful that your son is being forced to do so much online. That's not why we go to university at all.

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KirkstallAbbess · 23/02/2022 12:32

It's the lying that gets me - my son's a second year and his university advertises his course as face to face but individual staff have said they feel the risk is too high to come in for seminars so it's all online. One was very honest and said they preferred being at home as it was easier for looking after the dog.

I wish they'd been honest.

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BigSandyBalls2015 · 23/02/2022 12:37

Appalling. Our kids are paying an absolute fortune for this shambles. I really feel for this age group … DD is in her third year so she spent sept 2019 until March 2020 having a normal uni experience … that was it 🤷🏼‍♀️😡

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bumblingbovine49 · 23/02/2022 12:40

@poetryandwine

Not defending this, but even before COVID removed F2F the trend was for lecturers to put vast amounts of material online and to record the lectures themselves so that lecture attendance was optional. Part of personalised learning. Quality of these materials was variable. The idea that something happens in the room that cannot be replicated was thought quaint.

Then with COVID this effort stepped up hugely and the quality of the materials became by and large exemplary AFAIK. But the cost in time and therefore to academics’ careers has been enormous.

So now IMO unis are continuing the personalised learning trend and also trying to give academics a bit of time back by continuing the use of all this highly developed material. It is cheaper than a decent raise.

Again, not defending this. I think you can put maybe 80-90% of learning online but the magic, when it occurs, is almost always F2F.
And of course students have legitimate needs for ordinary intellectual give and take with their seniors, which can and should be part of modern lecturing technique.

I understand the frustration of your DS. But many academics lost 18 months of a career and are also in a bad way. If things had not gotten so adversarial before COVID I do wonder whether they might be different now.

This post is obviously written by someone who doesn't work in a university. The reason lecture materials were more often being put online pre covid was because lecture attendance was so poor despite continued efforts to monitor students attending lectures. No one can compel adults to attend. Materials were put online therefore because so many students didn't attend the face to face lectures and were asking for online versions. Since these were done as well as doing a face to face, the amount of work is much more - and no , good online materials do not consist of a video of the lecture. Presentations designed to be given online are as much if not more work than delivering this face to face so doing both ( which is what most students are asking for at the moment) is a phenomenal amount of extra work . Extra work which many lecturers are doing anyway post Covid ,just to be told they are putting lectures online to suit themselves Hmm

Some universities may be only offering online teaching and this is not on but many are offering both face to face and online options which is much more work than offering one or the other

All the students demanding face to face teaching now may well believe they would have attended all of the lectures and seminars/ tutorials but actual past experience in actual universities tells a very different story .
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Comefromaway · 23/02/2022 12:42

But many academics lost 18 months of a career and are also in a bad way.

Tough, if they don't like it they need to find another career.

And I speak as the wife of a lecturer although he has been back face to face for ages now.

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DoNotTouchTheWater · 23/02/2022 12:47

All the students demanding face to face teaching now may well believe they would have attended all of the lectures and seminars/ tutorials but actual past experience in actual universities tells a very different story.

Indeed.

I know that my ex-colleagues are dealing with students complaining a great deal about everything. The fact is though, attendance was utterly abysmal before COVID and the students still complained anyway.

They’d complain about the lectures they didn’t attend. Complain they’d had no support with their assignments and didn’t know what to do, despite not attending anything. Complain if anyone ever expected anything of them as students.

Now the easy thing for them to complain about is not having enough face to face teaching. So that’s what happens.

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Comefromaway · 23/02/2022 12:55

Well my daughter is postgrad now but the only time she has ever missed any lectures or classes (practical subject) was when she was ill or had a medical appointment that couldn't be re-arranged.

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JenniferBarkley · 23/02/2022 12:57

We've been F2F since Sept, but a few colleagues are teaching online due to genuine personal need - pregnancy, an immunosuppressed child, serious health condition etc. Has your son perhaps been unlucky with his modules? Miserable for him, but may just be unfortunate circumstances.

The real killer is that they've also just announced that the exams will be in person, not online, so they're happy to do the lectures/seminars etc online but still expect physical/in person exams at the end of it.

I don't understand this. Why is he unhappy with in person exams? It is difficult in my subject area to do decent online exams - bluntly because it's too easy for students to cheat. We have seen huge numbers of cases going before panels compared to before the pandemic, and that's just the ones we're catching. We have seen students getting high marks last year suddenly struggling to pass now they have to actually sit in an exam hall and do their own work. In person assessment is crucial for academic integrity.

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AlwaysColdHands · 23/02/2022 12:57

Just to stress that we’ve not all been at home with our dogs: as a snapshot, I bent over backwards and worked double my contracted hours from Sept to Dec 2020 to provide high quality online AND face to face teaching. The f2f stuff was in small, socially distanced groups and so I repeated consecutive sessions to keep numbers down.
Hardly anyone attended.

Attendance is still now seen by some as ‘optional’ “Can’t make it today, can I join online?” Sorry, no.
Can I get an extension….because Covid? (Vague). Sorry, no.

It’s really unacceptable that some students still don’t have any face to face teaching, but it’s different in every institution and some students are still trying to play the covid rules.

In this instance a complaint should definitely be made.

I’ve absolutely loved getting back to the classroom seeing my students normally since September

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DoNotTouchTheWater · 23/02/2022 12:57

@Comefromaway

Well my daughter is postgrad now but the only time she has ever missed any lectures or classes (practical subject) was when she was ill or had a medical appointment that couldn't be re-arranged.

With the best will I’m the world, how would you know? She’s not going to tell you she didn’t bother going to a class, is she?

The actual attendance stats on most programmes show that students attending everything is not what happens.
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Comefromaway · 23/02/2022 13:04

That's where it's useful to have a dh who either teaches in her institution or has friends who do!

But in performing arts if you don't attend you are out

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DrunkenUnicorn · 23/02/2022 13:44

@user1497207191

It's Lancaster. Sounds like he's just been unlucky with his module choices. His flat mate who is doing a similar degree, chose different modules and all 3 of his are still at least partially face to face. The real killer is that they've also just announced that the exams will be in person, not online, so they're happy to do the lectures/seminars etc online but still expect physical/in person exams at the end of it.

Ah… was hoping you’d not say Lancaster…

It’s DS’ possible firm choice… not politics and international relations by any chance?

If a big portion of it is online then that’s a massive negative for him when weighing up his choices
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CovidCorvid · 23/02/2022 13:45

The university minister said the other week he wants to hear about cases like this and that he will personally pick up the phone to the vice chancellor and ask what’s going on.

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thevassal · 23/02/2022 14:17

@CovidCorvid

The university minister said the other week he wants to hear about cases like this and that he will personally pick up the phone to the vice chancellor and ask what’s going on.

Ooh OP bring out the big guns and do this.

Although I do sympathise with the pps stating that when they do put lectures on in real life half the students don't turn up. I lived with 2 girls who both got good 2.1s despite never (and I mean never, one worked full time!) went to any lectures in person and just relied on the online PowerPoint slides, and this was in 2008 so not a new or a covid thing!

I do however think it's incredibly cheeky that f2f lectutes, or even smaller tutorials are deemed too much of a risk for the lecturers and academics but it's fine to expect students and lower paid invigilators to sit exams in person. Either having a large group of people indoors breathing all over each other for several hours is too dangerous or its not.
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NewModelArmyMayhem18 · 23/02/2022 14:19

I'm under the impression from DS (final year now) that hardly any students attend f2f lectures/seminars, even when they're offered?

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poetryandwine · 23/02/2022 14:19

@bumblingbovine49, I am shocked that you would (wrongly) classify me on a public forum, basing this on a superficial (mis)reading of my post. Because I find the whole situation so depressing, I recently left a senior lectureship at a Russell Group uni for a good opportunity. One of the key moments was being tasked to review numerous online course materials across various disciplines. I felt this was based in an institutional paranoia around TEF and it was one of the last straws.

For other PPs, I wish I had clarified my complete support for CV employees who must WFH, and made more of my real sympathy for your DC. I agree a lack of honesty is infuriating.

But academics are honestly On. Their. Knees. The job has always been intense and the rewards have never been financial, considering the training, but that is also true of some other public sector employees. A difference is that people only see the tip of the academic workload and I do wonder whether this is informing some of the posts? If the system had a bit of ‘give’ or flex left I really think COVID would have landed more softly.

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purplehairlady · 23/02/2022 14:23

@user1497207191

DS rang last night, really upset/angry. Another of his modules is now online only. That's ALL 3 of his current term modules now fully online. What the hell is going on? I thought covid restrictions had now officially stopped, so what possible reason is there for a Uni to being moving onto Online at this moment in time? He thought it was bad enough in January when he found out 2 of his 3 modules were online, but did get some comfort in knowing 1 would be face to face.

He's sent a very strong complaint to the dept.

He's in year 2 and had an awful first year with literally nothing face to face for the entire year, and thought it had turned a corner in September (start of year 2) when everything was face to face.

Does he mean lectures or tutorials?

In my time no one attended lectures and trend was towards them all being online. For the reasons others have highlighted it creates a lot of extra work.

Tutorials should be face to face though, their effectiveness greatly decreases if not imo!
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