By Emma McGladdery – KLTV Contributor
In March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to worsen in the UK, the country went into a strict national lockdown and all learning centres were forced to move their content online.
Primary schools, secondary schools, sixth forms, further education colleges, and universities started learning remotely effective immediately at the end of March 2020.
As face to face teaching stopped, to lower the spread of the coronavirus, students all across the UK started a new way of learning. It was a concept that students had to adapt to quickly, as summer deadlines for the 19/20 academic year were vastly approaching.
As the new 20/21 academic year is now in full swing, many students that attend the University of Huddersfield are still learning remotely.
Students at Huddersfield were invited to complete a survey, enquiring about their thoughts on the remote learning system Huddersfield Uni has in place. The results from the survey were mixed. However, interestingly they were mostly positive; it certainly seems that Huddersfield lecturers are still doing a fantastic job at delivering high-standard teaching.
Students from all different degree subjects took the survey, including music journalism students, law and criminology students, fashion students, early years students and chemistry students. Here are the responses from the survey:
When asked if the majority of their classes took place remotely, it was almost every participant that answered ‘Yes’. 90.9% of students that completed this survey stated the majority of their classes took place remotely, and only 9.1% of students reported having most of their classes on campus.
Secondly, when asked if they believed the set-up of taking classes remotely left them more free time to focus on their studies independently, a variety of answers were given:
36.4% of students stated the online system left them more free time to focus on their studies independently, for themselves and their well-being.
Another 36.4% of students reported not having as much free time; they stated that their busy schedule remains the same.
The remaining students (27%) stated a range of other answers. Some include: ‘Spending less time travelling to and from university but spending more time figuring out the lesson content’, ‘no, I’m even busier’ and ‘more free time and less to do’.
Student participants were then asked if the option was given to return to campus in semester two (January – May), would they return to receive face to face teaching, or would they happily continue to work from home, the answers were almost quite even.
54.5% of students picked answer one (Yes, I would attend classes on campus, I enjoy the face to face teaching slightly more)
45.5% of students chose answer two (No, I would continue to work from home as I enjoy the remote learning set-up)
Similarly, when participants were asked if they agree that the teaching standard remains the same, the answers were majority positive.
63.6% of students agreed that the online teaching standard was good. However, face to face teaching provided that little bit more support.
27.3% of students disagreed; they believe the teaching standard is not the same.
The last 9.1% of students agreed wholly; they believe the teaching standard online is the same teaching standard they would receive if teaching was still carried out face to face.
Lastly, when asked if they had any other thoughts or opinions about the remote learning system, an array of answers was given, some include:
- The switch to online learning made me more aware regarding the use of technology; I became more confident at using applications such as Microsoft teams and Zoom.
- The online system allows me to schedule tasks in a way that suits me.
- Occasionally, technical difficulties occur and make it challenging to access class content.
- It’s frustrating paying the same tuition fees for online learning, as I would for face to face learning.
Although some students may be still struggling with the switch to remote learning, the responses from this survey show that overall, it seems to be quite highly positive thoughts.
Realistically, there is quite a substantial difference between learning online and learning on campus, in a classroom with your peers.
But all in the spirit of keeping each other safe, Huddersfield students seem to be seeing the positive in a situation that is highly unordinary. It’s a difficult time for all, and even eight months into the pandemic – we’re all still adjusting to the new changes, rules and styles of living this year has brought into our lives.
As the year 2020 starts draws to a close, and many students continue their remote learning the coronavirus situation is ever-changing, which means there may be a possibility students will see more face-to-face teaching carried out in the new year.