‘I didn’t know what a normal lecture would be like’: Notts students on the return to in-person uni

Oh how I’ve missed 9ams

After a year of very different modes of teaching and the adaptation to online learning, the start of this year differs largely to that of the last.

It’s safe to say there’s a fair few things that haven’t been missed including the treks up the hills, bumping into those people you’d rather avoid and having a dreaded Thursday 9am.

But how has the experience been overall? We spoke to UoN students to hear their experience and thoughts on the return of in-person teaching to find out:

‘I missed lecture halls.’

When it comes to the return to in-person teaching, each subject seems to differ largely on their approach, having different blends of in-person and online teaching.

Mehar, a final year Politics and IR student, said that her course have put everything in-person.

She is pleased to be back in-person and enjoys being back in lecture halls. Like Mehar, it is fair to assume that many students are relieved to be back in-person and get the education they are paying for after complaints about the quality of online learning last year.

‘I prefer blended learning.’

But not all students prefer things beings back in person.

Will, a final year Physics student, likes the balance of online and in person teaching and feels “they should keep it more like this in the future.”

He explains the benefits of having some materials online as in a lecture hall it is quite easy to “zone out” which can put you behind and “make the end of [the lecture] redundant.”

At home, there is the opportunity to work at your own pace and take breaks if needed which he feels definitely comes in useful! However, like other students he says “it’s nice to go onto campus again.”

‘I was scared…I didn’t know what a lecture hall would actually be like.’

Lauren, a second year nutrition student, has has mixed emotions on returning to in-person teaching.

She was a fresher throughout the pandemic and was unable to socialise properly with her course mates, especially as a student living on University Park but studying on a course located in Sutton Bonington.

She said she felt “extremely isolated last year due to living on a different campus” and is happy to finally be in-person and engaging with her course mates.

With second years never having attended university as we used to know it, the return to in-person teaching felt like a big step. Lauren expressed her anxiety of “the fear of the unknown”, as she was unaware of what a lecture hall would actually be like.

‘I felt relieved.’

Jay, who studies Mathematics, had less anxiety and says he is “quite relieved” about the return to in-person teaching.

“Online lectures are easier to put off which caused me to get behind more,” he says. The return of in-person teaching has created  a stricter timetable compared to last year which students like Jay find beneficial.

But Jay has concerns about the return of in-person exams. His course has decided to put summer exams in-person.

“It will be two years since I last sat an actual exam,” he said.

Will expressed similar worries. “It’s a more stressful environment taking exams in an exam hall,” he says and is unsure how this will affect his grades.

Lauren says she thinks it is “unfair to have students switch from the examination layout [they] have come accustomed to.” Especially in their final year.

Even though there will be some students who are more covid conscious, overall there seems to have been a generally positive response to the return to in-person teaching and the use of blended learning, with students happy to be back on campus.

If you’ve been affected by this story, you can find out more about UoN’s support and wellbeing service here.