UEA and Norwich University of Arts plan return to face-to-face teaching
PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 June 2020
Face-to-face teaching of students is being planned by both the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Norwich University of Arts (NUA) from September.
Both Norwich universities said they were currently modelling practical ways to deliver as much teaching in person as possible.
However it is likely that face-to-face sessions and lectures will remain limited and mixed with online sessions.
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It comes as some universities consider making students live in a “bubble” with people on the same courses to limit social mixing when campuses reopen in the autumn.
Students arriving at university for the first time could also be faced with virtual freshers’ week events, fewer large-scale lectures and one-way systems across campus in a bid to keep them safe.
Neil Ward, UEA deputy vice-chancellor, said: “Currently, our plan for next academic year is to start as planned in September and to deliver as much face-to-face, interactive teaching as is safely and practicably possible - such as small group teaching and practical lab classes, for example.
“We are likely to deliver the content of larger lectures digitally for all in advance of smaller group face-to-face sessions.”
With degree courses that involve high levels of practical work, including fashion fine art and acting, NUA also faces challenges ahead of a planned reopening of its campus to students in September.
An NUA spokesperson said: “We are reviewing all areas of the campus and modelling the way students will be able to access workshops and studios while following government advice on working safely.
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“This may well mean extended campus opening hours and modified access arrangements. Adopting best practice, we will offer a mix of real-time online seminars, tutorials and lectures alongside physical access to workshops and related teaching on campus.”
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A recent poll of university applicants by the University and College Union (UCU) found 71pc supported delaying the start of the academic year to secure more face-to-face teaching.
It comes after the University of Cambridge confirmed all “face-to-face lectures” will be moved online during the 2020-21 academic year.
Professor Liz Barnes, a member of the Universities UK (UUK) board to coordinate the sector’s coronavirus recovery work, said: “The bubble around accommodation has been discussed across a number of universities, about how best we can bring groups of students together.
“The more that we can keep them into a small group of regular interaction, the better in current circumstances.”
When asked whether universities would regulate what students do in freshers’ week and whether they would discipline students for holding parties, Prof Barnes said: “We don’t expect to have to police it heavily because they are adults and they do understand.
Students unable to return to the UEA campus in September, including possibly those from overseas, will be offered extra help, the university said.
Mr Ward said: “We will ensure that students who may be unable to return to UEA in September to commence face-to-face teaching can participate as fully as possible remotely and online, until such time as they are able to join us.
“We are also mindful that some students may not be able to participate face-to-face because of particular circumstances and we will work with these individuals to give them as good an opportunity as possible to continue their studies.”
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