University of Cambridge to have ‘no face-to-face lectures during the next academic year’

The university has officially announced they will move “all face-to-face lectures” online for the 2020/21 academic year.

In an email sent to senior staff at the university, Alice Benton, the Head of Education services, said that the establishment’s General Board’s Education Committee has “agreed that, since it is highly likely that rigid social distancing will be required throughout the next academic year, there will be no face-to-face lectures next year.”

The email says: “The decision has been taken to provide a degree of certainty to facilitate Faculties and Departments when planning for education delivery next academy year.”

It is the first university to state that they will be moving most of next year’s studying online.

Lectures will be made available online but “Faculties and Departments should continue to plan for face-to-face delivery of seminars, workshops and small group teaching.”

Universities across the UK have adopted throughout the last few months to accommodate the effect of coronavirus.

Lectures have been live-streamed, recorded and made available while tutors have held group sessions on platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

A University spokesperson backed up the decision to move to learning online, stating: “The University is constantly adapting to changing advice as it emerges during this pandemic. Given that it is likely that social distancing will continue to be required, the University has decided there will be no face-to-face lectures during the next academic year.

“Lectures will continue to be made available online and it may be possible to host smaller teaching groups in person, as long as this conforms to social distancing requirements. This decision has been taken now to facilitate planning, but as ever, will be reviewed should there be changes to official advice on coronavirus.”

It does leave students beginning to question whether more Universities will follow in the footsteps of Cambridge.

Alex Jacklin, a Politics and International Relations student at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), said: “If they feel that is the best decision for them, then go ahead with it.

“I guess the only problem is no-one really knows what is going on and when we will be able to return to normality.

“Uni is different to school because the ages range so much and so someone older could be critically affected if they have it; however, online lectures don’t give the same value that face-to-face teaching does.”

Samira Lenygon is set to join NTU and is concerned she will be put at a disadvantage if Trent were to follow Cambridge.

Samira, who is set to study interior architecture, said: “I don’t necessarily think it’s the wrong decision but I feel like it has been rushed – especially to write off the whole year!

“I think it will cause a huge amount of panic for current and new students which may be unnecessary.”

This article was initially published on Platform Magazine, on May 19, 2020.

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