Relieved and disappointed: Lincoln students’ opinions on not returning to face-to-face learning
‘It’s confusing that we can’t go back considering everything else is going back to normal’
On Easter Monday the Prime Minister announced that England’s plan for progressing out of lockdown would go ahead as anticipated. This included the reopening of pubs, non-essential retail, and hairdressers from Monday 12th April.
Many students at the University of Lincoln were under the impression that face-to-face learning would return in a blended format from this time. However, an e-mail sent out to students the following Tuesday detailed that post-Easter teaching would “remain the same as before the Easter break.”
This meant practical sessions as planned will be face to face on campus and theory sessions will continue to be provided online. For many students, this announcement came as a surprise, while others seem to be relieved to hear that they won’t be hiking around Minerva in a mask.
Since then, the government has confirmed that university students will not be allowed to return to campus until May 17th, despite many students’ final semester ending before then, causing discourse amongst many. They have said: “All university students who have not yet returned to campus and in-person teaching will be able to do so from 17 May, at the earliest.”
Unis opening on the 17th of May when I literally finish uni on the 17th of May is quite something
— Sabine✨ (@sabine_foyster) April 13, 2021
We spoke to students at the University of Lincoln about the news:
One student said: “It’s strange that schools and colleges can return to face-to-face learning while universities have to stay online. I have given up and it’s not worth the nine grand we are paying!
“What annoys me the most is having to pay for accommodation that I technically do not have to live in, and I could be at home with my family in an environment that I am a lot more comfortable in.”
Earlier this year, several universities were met with rent strikes as a result of students feeling scammed due to government guidance to stay at home despite paying thousands of pounds in accommodation fees.
In February, one University of Lincoln student told The Tab: “I paid £1,663 for the first term and I am expected to pay £1,330 for the second term even though I haven’t spent a single day in Lincoln. So I have paid about three grand for a room I got to spend four weeks in.”
Another student said: “Paying over £9000 for a year that has been dominated by online learning hardly seems fair. We really aren’t getting the same quality of learning that we would get from face-to-face learning. But in these current times, it’s understandable that we need to make some compromises to ensure that everyone is safe and well.”
The return to pubs isn’t everything for students either, “It’s a bit ridiculous, especially when, let’s be honest, part of the price is the educational ‘experience’ and we aren’t getting any of that,” one student said.
“It’s great not having to get out of bed at seven for a 9am seminar,” they admitted, “but the awkward silence [in online learning] is horrible.”
One Lincoln student said: “Over the Easter holidays I have moved back to Lincoln as I was told by lecturers that we would be going back to blended learning. It’s confusing that we can’t go back considering everything else is going back to normal.”
A student on a practical course, who is allowed to go onto campus for lab work said: “I wish that the seminars would also go back to being in-person, they’re more interactive than the lectures so need to be in person. I don’t mind continuing online for the lectures though.”