‘More teaching failures by Sussex University’: Lecturers are playing pre-recorded content

Sussex students are livid with the standard of teaching

Right now, students across the UK are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the teaching they are receiving online. Students studying at the University of Sussex are currently experiencing a form of ‘blended’ learning despite multiple requests to the University to just entirely move everything online rather than have some classmates in the class room and other learning remotely via Zoom.

The standard of teaching at Sussex University has recently come under question by multiple students who have aired their concerns and disappointment. The Sussex Tab asked you to tell us how you feel about the teaching standard you are receiving this academic term. Here is what you had to say:

‘Do better, Sussex’

One third year student spoke to The Sussex Tab about the standard of teaching they have received for their practical subject. They anonymously stated: “Paying nine thousand pounds a year is nothing but a scam. It works out to be about £60 per online lecture for me which is way more than what I was paying last year for in-person lectures. I also study a practical subject so the quality of learning is so much worse since I’m not even able to use any of the on campus facilities that I was promised when I chose to take my degree. Do better, Sussex.”

‘I feel totally neglected and thrown in the deep end’

This student has just started their Master’s course. When they spoke to The Sussex Tab they said how they feel like the University is lacking in showing support for their students. They stated: “Sussex University consistently reassured its students that they would continue to deliver high quality lectures and seminars throughout the pandemic. As a Master’s student, contact time with members of staff is crucial to grasping a whole new subject and field of study and I feel totally neglected and thrown in the deep end with very little support given. The quality of my teaching relies on the strength of my WiFi, which in a student house is more than often temperamental. Not to mention break out rooms with complete strangers gives me so much anxiety it’s unreal.”

‘No consideration and no thought for us’

One student revealed to us that on their course they have noticed a huge difference in teaching duration as well as quality. They told The Sussex Tab: “I barely get any teaching. I previously had three contact hours per week and now I have three different 20 minute pre-recorded lectures. On Zoom, we go through the pre-recorded content for 20 minutes with no extra example or anything and then we have 40 minutes where we answer questions. Every week we have 90 minutes of teaching per module and the quality is mediocre. Absolute joke. Sussex is doing nothing right and professors are still going to give us the hardest year of papers to come. There’s no consideration and no thought for us at all.”

‘I don’t think we are getting what we pay for’

Another student told The Sussex Tab they feel confused as all of their housemates have the chance to go onto campus at least once a week, however they are entirely online so have to do everything remotely from home. They stated: “It’s really strange for me because all of my learning is online, whereas all of my housemates go in for at least one seminar or workshop a week. I don’t think we are getting what we pay for, especially given my lectures are all pre recorded and not live. The staff themselves are doing their best and I can tell from my tutors that they are passionate about their subject and would, in an ideal world, teach in person. So none of my annoyance is based on them.”

‘My lecturers also end the hour lecture early’

One student from the school of Media, Arts and Humanities spoke exclusively to The Sussex Tab and revealed her lecturers sometimes end the call early. They said: “It feels ridiculous how much we are paying just to get pre recorded lectures and some of my lecturers also end the hour long class early if the recording is only 20 minutes. It is so frustrating.”

‘More teaching failures by Sussex University’

A final year student studying Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, they told The Sussex Tab that they were studying a module which is highly important to their degree. They said: “My lecturer decided he couldn’t be assed to teach anymore, he hopped on a Zoom call and played an old lecture recording through Zoom while haphazardly answering questions in the Zoom chat. This came after two weeks of ‘online teaching’ which was essentially him constantly disconnected whilst teaching from home – meaning most lectures were silent.”

‘They put us into break out groups for the entire hour’

Break out groups have been one of the biggest jokes so far to come out of online teaching, however, this one student stresses the inconvenience of them. They told The Sussex Tab: “For two of my modules, the lectures are pre-recorded and as soon as the seminar starts they put us into breakout groups for the entire hour and ‘run out of time’ to go through the exercises.”

‘It’s ridiculous the University think this is the same as face to face teaching’

Another Master’s student who spoke to The Sussex Tab stated they were grateful for their tutors but they still feel let down by the University. They said: “I know that the teachers are doing their best but it is ridiculous for the uni to continue to insist that online teaching and mixed teaching is to the same standard as face-to-face teaching. I’m so grateful for all my tutors trying their best under impossible circumstances, but Sussex’s refusal to implement any kind of fee reduction merely perpetuates the image of Sussex as a university that cares more about profit margins than student experience.”

The Sussex Tab spoke directly to The University of Sussex about the concerns students have stressed in regard to their courses and the standard of teaching they’re receiving. A spokesperson from the University stated: “Students will know that we have committed to providing them with blended learning this semester, including 11 hours of live, interactive teaching per module, per semester. On the whole, this is going well. Our teaching staff and Schools are working incredibly hard to deliver the learning outcomes for our students as we respond to new circumstances.

“Student feedback is very helpful and we encourage any student who has questions or concerns about their teaching to contact their School office.”