Students shocked as UCL lecturer gives online class while driving his car

Dr Edwards decided to give his animal and human physiology class from behind the wheel

UCL biosciences students were stunned when their lecturer Dr Ian Edwards started their Zoom session on Tuesday morning whilst driving his car. For over 10 minutes of their Animal and Human Physiology class, the UCL lecturer was behind the wheel while talking to students as part of a Q+A.

Students were very concerned about what they witnessed, not only were they annoyed about the poor quality of their lecture and how distracting the learning environment was but many expressed genuine concerns for other drivers on the road and their safety. Whilst Dr Edwards was on hands-free many would argue that by law, using a computer or tablet in a car is illegal.

Dr Edwards has since explained that this was because of an “emergency” and that he was just trying to do right by his students, but he now regrets his decision to teach and drive.

Students were very confused as to why it was the case that their lecturer was driving and not teaching their lecture as expected. Many highlighted that face to face tuition would have not allowed for this to happen.

We spoke to a student in the module who said: “I couldn’t believe it, it’s so illegal. It was also just so distracting because all you could hear were road noises and it’s just so disruptive.”

Another told us: “I’m sorry they tell us that online learning won’t affect teaching quality, bullshit, you can’t teach your class from your car. This would never happen if we were face to face.”

Dr Edwards said: “Due to a sudden family emergency, I had to make an unexpected short trip in my car at the same time as I was due to be helping with a Q&A session for our students. This Q&A was to help the students with a practical report that they were due to submit shortly. I wanted to do the right thing by both my family and my students, who I did not want to let down at the last minute. As a result, I joined the session using a hands-free device. With hindsight, I should not have continued with the Q&A and should have cancelled the class. I apologise for any concern or distress inadvertently caused.”

A UCL spokesperson said: “While we would not condone teaching while driving, we have spoken to Dr Edwards and he has explained that this was an exceptional and difficult situation due to an unexpected family emergency that will not happen again. We ask all staff to seek assistance and support from colleagues in an emergency.”