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More than half of elite universities are STILL teaching online – as bosses are told to justify £28,000 fees for remote learning
- Universities still giving lectures online are asked to justify £28,000 tuition fees
- More than two thirds of all universities said they will keep some learning online
- Some have revealed online lectures will continue into the next academic year
Universities that are still giving lectures online have been challenged to justify fees of £28,000 for three years’ tuition.
Most are continuing with at least some remote teaching this term – and some have revealed it will continue even into the next academic year.
Latest figures show more than two thirds of all universities – and more than half of elite institutions – will keep some learning online, even though Covid restrictions on in-person teaching ended in July last year.
Several universities have declared on their websites that they plan to continue this into the academic year starting this autumn, while many have still to reveal their plans
Several declare on their websites that they plan to continue this into the academic year starting this autumn, while many have still to reveal their plans.
Among the 24 universities in the elite Russell Group, Daily Mail analysis shows 13 have some online learning this term, and three – UCL, Glasgow and Liverpool – plan to retain it next term.
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* Retaining an online element for 22/23
Campaigner Paul Wiltshire, whose son Joseph is at university, said: ‘Students paying £28,000 for a three-year degree should be told in specific detail what to expect.’
Universities Minister Michelle Donelan accused universities of being too ‘vague’ about next year and vowed that those ‘letting down’ students faced fines.
Some 68 per cent of universities are retaining some online element, according to Studentcrowd.com – a website set up to compare universities. Information is updated every fortnight.
Miss Donelan said: ‘Students make a substantial time and monetary investment in their university education and have a right to know what face-to-face teaching they will be getting. Vague statements about “blended learning” are simply not good enough.
‘A stubborn minority… are continuing to let their students down. If this does not change they face investigations and fines.’
Mr Wiltshire said: ‘Students shouldn’t be trapped in their bedrooms watching lectures on their own. It isn’t good for their mental well-being. They should be socialising and interacting by attending lecture halls.’
He said it was ‘unacceptable’ that many universities had not declared their intentions for the next academic year on their websites, and instead of declaring what students get for their fees, ‘the information is being hidden from them’.
Chris McGovern, of the Campaign for Real Education, said: ‘Blended learning is a copout by lazy lecturers.
They are becoming addicted to the easier life of working from home.’
Some universities said they had kept online learning because Covid was still a risk, but many said it was because students wanted it or it ‘enhanced’ courses.
But King’s College London was this week forced to announce a return to full in-person teaching following a student campaign.
Campaigner Paul Wiltshire, whose son Joseph is at university, said: ‘Students paying £28,000 for a three-year degree should be told in specific detail what to expect’
In the Russell Group, UCL has ‘some large group teaching’ online, with ‘most modules’ blending online and in-person. Its website states a few modules ‘will be mostly or completely online’.
A spokesman said it wanted ‘mostly’ in-person teaching.
A Glasgow University document, Planning For Teaching In 2022/23, says of undergraduate courses: ‘We could envisage an incremental move from predominantly large lectures to… a greater use of structured online learning.’
A spokesman said: ‘We expect the predominant model to be in-person teaching.’
Liverpool University told the Mail that from September 90 per cent of teaching will be in-person.
Alistair Jarvis, of Universities UK, which represents the sector, said: ‘In-person teaching is the main method of delivering most courses at most universities.
The pandemic has changed the way universities work, with significant advances in digital teaching. Students have been clear that these developments help them learn.’