Edinburgh Uni students should expect at least some online teaching next year

Our days of pixelated tutorials and 2D interactions with lecturers are probably not over yet

Edinburgh students can expect a mix of in-person and online teaching for the next academic year.

Nothing definitive has been decided, but VP Colm Harmon has told students not to expect a “normal” year.

The university website says the “currently plan to deliver a mix of in-person and digital teaching for the academic year starting in September 2021” to both undergrads and postgrads.

In a recent email to students, Harmon wrote: “We are optimistic, as you are, about the direction we are taking in relation to vaccinations, reducing cases, etc.

“But we are also expecting to live within some level of restrictions for the next academic year and are planning in detail what we can do whilst keeping the campus safe and protected for you and the staff that teach and support you.

“What that fully means is not clear right now – but we are hoping for the best and building a cautious optimism into our planning.”

He continued: “Staff from our Colleges, Schools and services are working hard on plans for the next academic year, including our delivery of learning and teaching, on-campus events, and social activities, and of course services that support your health and wellbeing.

“We are as frustrated as you are by the realities of this Semester, and we have listened to your feedback. We will take those comments into our planning for 2021/22 and will be considering how we can make improvements for September, while following the latest government guidance.”

The university website also says they are “monitoring government guidance on Covid-19 prevention measures” and that they will “adjust [their] 2021-22 plans in response to any relevant changes.”

Either way, it’s very likely that some physical distancing measures will still be in place in September, and in-person teaching will be affected by this.

The University’s Covid-19 Contact Centre told The Edinburgh Tab: “Many students will be in different situations and each course will try to cater to everybody.”

Jenny Jarrett, the School of Social and Political Science Undergraduate Rep, told The Edinburgh Tab that from her understanding, the school is “planning to structure undergraduate teaching similarly to semester one of this year (‘hybrid’),” but they don’t have any concrete answers on what this will look like yet.

Now is the time to fill out those course feedback questionnaires and let our voices be heard about what kind of online teaching we want.

We’re probably stuck with it for the time being.

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