Manchester Uni announces permanent move to ‘blended learning’

Uni Vice President April McMahon sees blended learning as the ‘norm for students in the future’

The University of Manchester has announced plans to move parts of teaching such as lectures permanently online even after the pandemic.

In an interview with The Manchester Tab, University of Manchester Vice President, April McMahon and Associate Vice President, Dan George spoke about the uni’s long term plans for blended learning.

When asked if this move for lectures might also lead to other parts of teaching moving online, McMahon said “this doesn’t mean we’ll never develop completely online courses”.

Yet when questioned on whether online courses would mean lower tuition fees, her response was “absolutely not”.

The Tab also asked whether the online move would result in staff redundancies, McMahon refused to indicate one way or the other, stating “we never give guarantees on staff numbers”.

Professor George confirmed that blended learning “would not be an opt-in” choice for students and that the move was indeed a “long term” permanent one for even after the pandemic.

The Tab spoke to Vice President McMahon and Associate Vice President George

The Uni provided to us two students who had helped in researching students’ opinions on the move.

One of those students, Ayma Khan, agreed that students are against the idea: “With the data we have and the students I’ve spoken to, they’re so demotivated by online learning they don’t want any element that’s online.”

McMahon maintained that the uni is willing to “listen to student input”.

When pressed on the recent referendum where 89% of students voted they had no confidence in senior management, McMahon claimed “Not everything we do is something you can decide on by having a vote.”

On whether students might not trust her after ignoring the referendum, she said “I’m not going to answer that”.

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