Bosses at a Nottingham university have said they are still backing the face-to-face teaching approach – despite other UK universities moving their teaching online.
Since UK-wide lockdown restrictions were put in place, Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has continued with a ‘blended approach’ of some lectures taught online while others conducted face-to-face.
Last month (October), four UK universities, including The University of Liverpool and The University of Manchester took the decision to move the majority of their teaching online to tackle the spread of the virus.
But vice chancellor of NTU, Professor Edward Peck, says the university’s campus is the “safest place” for students and staff, and has backed the need for in-person teaching.
Prof Peck says he is confident in the Covid-19 measures NTU has put in place this academic year.
He said: “It creates a connection between the students and the university.
“Not just the tutor but the campus and its places that you just don’t get to experience by doing everything online.
“It’s what brought them [lecturers] to university, most academics will say ‘I love teaching and I love the students’ so they’d much rather be teaching in person.”
In addition, the vice chancellor claims NTU has seen a 200% increase in footfall around the library in the past three weeks.
And with concerns students returning home for Christmas could cause a further increase in cases, the university has offered free coronavirus tests during the period of November 30 to December 9.
The possibility of further free tests in January is already being discussed by NTU bosses.
Prof Peck said: “We’ll be tooled up to do it whether we’re asked to do it or whether we decide to do it.
“We currently have a very low number of cases amongst our student body – the figure yesterday was around 20.”
But some students remain opposed to face-to-face teaching.
Sociology student Tyler Archer, 19, says she would rather learn online but feels that she has no choice but to attend lessons on campus to get the most out of her course.
The student from Lincoln said: “I don’t necessarily feel unsafe, but I still don’t think we should be timetabled to go in.
“The PowerPoint slides are put online but you can’t video call during the face-to-face to take part.
“You miss out on discussion and feedback that you wouldn’t miss out on if it was done online in the first place.”
Unlike Tyler, Ellie Wood, 19, has chosen to return home to continue her studies due to safety concerns.
The psychology student said: “I moved back in October after tier two came into action.
“It’s a combination of being face-to-face with many people and knowing how many students have attended parties.
“I don’t want to risk my family getting it because of some people being selfish.”
Students who are still attending lectures but wish to return home can find out further information here.
By Elliot Ball