Exclusive: UoS plans for next year include online lectures and much smaller class sizes

And there are fears of ‘massive budget cuts’ to come

The University of Sheffield has put contingency plans in place to prepare for all lectures to be moved online and for class sizes to be dramatically decreased, a source inside the university has revealed to The Tab Sheffield.

The online teaching plan will be rolled out across the whole university as part of the wide-spread and extraordinary change to control the pandemic.

Even semesters will undergo dramatic transformation, with group size expected to decrease and meetings expected to move to much bigger rooms.

The Tab Sheffield can also exclusively reveal that the University of Sheffield has suffered financially from the pandemic, with a loss of income from the closure of the halls of residence and cuts to research grants.

A lecturer at the university told The Tab Sheffield: “I know students feel that tuition fees fund universities – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

“There will be massive budget cuts. Things will have to go, including some training for staff and extra teaching support.”

A separate source inside the university told The Tab Sheffield: “There is quite a lot of concern regarding funding for the upcoming year. The furloughing of staff only began department-wide in the last few days.”

Students are still expected to pay full fees for the online learning experience, and a lot of students are growing frustrated.

However, universities have assured that the online teaching provided will be of the same quality as face-to-face teaching.

It comes following Manchester University moving all teaching for next semester online and The Tab’s reveal of King’s University expecting a £200m loss from the pandemic.

Despite the huge changes, the lecturer assured The Tab Sheffield that: “No matter what happens, everyone will graduate getting all the skills they need. We will get through it.”

A spokesperson for the University of Sheffield told The Tab Sheffield: “Like all organisations, we are looking at how the pandemic has affected our work and our finances.

“It is important students know that we are committed to their education, development and graduate opportunities and that will not change – despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.”

They went on to say: “We are placing the safety and the needs of our students at the heart of all our plans.

“Staff from across the University are working incredibly hard to make sure that we will deliver an outstanding student and learning experience – whether that is face-to-face, online or a combination of both.”

They said they will write to all students as soon as possible to update them fully on the plans for September.

Featured image credit: John Robinson labelled for reuse under this Creative Commons license.