I’m not actually bothered about online teaching and here’s why

In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a pandemic going on

Both University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University have announced that despite all campuses being open in September, they will still be utilising online learning for lectures and large groups. Manchester were the first to announce similar plans, shortly followed by Exeter, and even Cambridge, who have extended this to last the full academic year. With fears more universities will follow suit, students nationwide are understandably worried about the prospect of the best years of their lives being taken away. 

Trust me, I get it. As someone who spent the majority of first and second year struggling with my mental health, coronavirus cancelling everything came at the absolute worst time. Just as I was starting to get involved in both attending lectures and joining societies, the world went into lockdown. Although I’ve lost another chunk of the experience, I am done with complaining. Not to sound too much like Kourtney Kardashian, but there really are people dying. 

Yes, it sucks. You are only young once and coronavirus is quickly eating away at that time, but the world, including universities, are having to adapt to the ongoing situations, and the decision to move lectures online is done only to benefit our health. Online lectures will also benefit those who struggle with the fast pace, allowing you watch and take notes in your own time. It has even been suggested by some that online lectures could carry on long after they need to, making university more accessible for students who may be unable to attend in person for medical reasons.

And all is not lost. Although lectures have been moved online, UoN and NTU are planning to continue as usual with all other teaching in small groups, including seminars and practicals, whilst also adhering to ongoing changes to the coronavirus social distancing measures put in place. This means you still have the opportunity to see your friends, and if anything, this blended learning gives you even more free-time, cutting out the long commute to and from university just for a singular one-hour lecture. Be honest, how many of your nine am lectures did you actually attend? How many times did you wish all your modules were recorded so that you could have a cheeky lie in, or bunk off for a midday pint? Well, now your wish has come true!

The universities have also stressed the importance of the flexibility of this change in learning – suggesting as the coronavirus situation changes, so will the adaptations to learning. Whilst there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the exact details of what will actually happen next year, this has to be expected, as no one knows just what is going to happen with the virus. The university has already had to make many adjustments and alterations to the last few months of this year, including changing all lectures, seminars, practicals and assessments. They also need to mark these assessments, give feedback, and organise the resit period before they can look to the autumn term.

I personally was not expecting to hear about University of Nottingham’s decision at least until after the academic year had finished. After all, once exams are over, I really won’t be thinking about university much until it’s time to return.  If you still have not heard from your university, be glad they are taking the time  – it is much better to wait than have a premature plan put in place that ultimately ends up being redundant.

Related stories recommended by this author:

• BREAKING: Notts Trent says its campus will be open in September

• Breaking: UoN announce all campuses will be open in September

• From 20 contact hours to none: Notts students share their online teaching experience