Plans for online courses at Durham University have been reversed

The decision comes after heavy criticism from both students and staff

Yesterday the Vice-Chancellor Stuart Corbridge announced the decision to reverse the offering of online courses, iterating that it was “very clear most academics do not want to let go of their courses”.

The news comes after a leaked document titled “Redesigning Durham’s Educational Offer” proposed for around 500 courses to remain solely online in the 2020/21 academic year, with further courses to follow. 

Clarifying the original stance, Corbridge explained that “on the worst-case assumption that nobody is here [in the autumn], our original idea was to say it might be a bit ambitious to get all 100% of our modules ready by October.

“So we did initially say perhaps you would care to think about not putting on 25%. That was done to try and acknowledge the fact it is a difficult time for people and workload pressures.”

However, the proposal received heavy backlash and was branded by the University College Union (UCU) as “destructive”, with a petition from students garnering over 1000 signatures and a counter-letter from staff amassing over 300.

In a further statement, Corbridge expressed that “we welcome the feedback we have received on these proposals, both from Senate today (22nd April) and others in the past week. We will continue to listen to our staff and students and look forward next to hearing from the University Council.

“The University continues to plan for a full residential teaching offer in October while also ensuring that teaching can go online if there is a lockdown later in the year. We look forward to working together as a community to secure the continuing success of the University as a whole.”