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No such thing as a Full-time degree course in the UK watch

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    (Original post by sultony)
    With students sometimes only receiving 2.5 hrs contact tuition a week and only having to attend the equivalent of two days per week, it is not a full-time study mode. Yet students can pay £9000 per annum fees, so the first thing they do is look for part-time jobs for the other three days per week to help pay their fees. I would suggest that the universities are mis-selling their 'Full-time' courses and should therefore only charge 2/5ths of the fees. What is your experience?
    Well, I do Classics at the University of Warwick. I have currently 3 hours language training per week (this will increase to 12 next year), and 6 hours for lectures. Usually there is a seminar each week so plus another hour. That means I am on a total of 9 hours per week currently, which may seem low. However I do not really require longer contact periods. Lectures are meant to provide an overview of entire bodies of information; it is up to you to do the research to solidify this knowledge and form your own opinions. You cannot expect to be spoon fed at this level.

    Languages are the same. You need the teacher to explain some aspects you don't understand, however ultimately it is up to you to go away and learn the noun declensions etc. I do agree however, that the £9000 fee is not worth its money at the current level. It's not a matter of increasing contact times though, but reducing the fee which should never have become so high in the first place.
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    (Original post by ChemistBoy)
    Really? Over 2 years you get 14-16 weeks extra teaching, where does the other half of the 3rd year come from?
    Our four-term approach:
    40 week academic year
    36 weeks of teaching
    4 weeks of exams
    12 holiday weeks

    So, over the course of a two-year degree:
    80 weeks
    72 weeks teaching
    8 weeks of exams
    24 holiday weeks

    Traditional three-term/year approach:
    29 week year
    24 weeks teaching
    5 weeks of exams
    23 holiday weeks

    Over the course of a three-year degree:

    87 weeks
    72 weeks teaching
    15 weeks of exams
    69 holiday weeks

    Of course, this is perhaps not universally the case, but is a good representation of the average three-year degree

    (Original post by ChemistBoy)
    I'll take these two points together. What you are effectively saying is that Buckingham's undergraduates receive most or all of their teaching from teaching fellows rather than leading academics who have an active research portfolio. I'm not sure that I would be happy receiving an education from a faculty that has its leading academics operating on such a 'hands off' approach to undergraduate teaching.
    The amount of time our faculty members have available to split between teaching and research, is the same as those at universities running three-year degree programmes. All I'm trying to impress upon you is that our staff have as much of an opportunity to teach, and as much of an opportunity to research as they do anywhere else, perhaps just at different times during the year. That said, we remain primarily a teaching university.

    It's also worth bearing in mind that elsewhere in the UK, it's often the case that top research academics are not the ones teaching undergraduate students.
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    [QUOTE=The University of Buckingham;43153374]Our four-term approach:
    40 week academic year
    36 weeks of teaching
    4 weeks of exams
    12 holiday weeks

    The new universities (ex polys) have two 15 week semesters per year, each with 12 weeks of teaching and 6 weeks of exams or private study. So a total of 24 weeks of teaching. Compare with your 36 weeks of teaching (which the polys had) who is being sold down the river?
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    (Original post by sultony)
    The new universities (ex polys) have two 15 week semesters per year, each with 12 weeks of teaching and 6 weeks of exams or private study. So a total of 24 weeks of teaching. Compare with your 36 weeks of teaching (which the polys had) who is being sold down the river?
    Er, what?

    24 x 3 = 36 x 2

    Or did I misunderstand something?
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    (Original post by The University of Buckingham)
    Our four-term approach:
    40 week academic year
    36 weeks of teaching
    4 weeks of exams
    12 holiday weeks

    So, over the course of a two-year degree:
    80 weeks
    72 weeks teaching
    8 weeks of exams
    24 holiday weeks

    Traditional three-term/year approach:
    29 week year
    24 weeks teaching
    5 weeks of exams
    23 holiday weeks

    Over the course of a three-year degree:

    87 weeks
    72 weeks teaching
    15 weeks of exams
    69 holiday weeks

    Of course, this is perhaps not universally the case, but is a good representation of the average three-year degree



    The amount of time our faculty members have available to split between teaching and research, is the same as those at universities running three-year degree programmes. All I'm trying to impress upon you is that our staff have as much of an opportunity to teach, and as much of an opportunity to research as they do anywhere else, perhaps just at different times during the year. That said, we remain primarily a teaching university.

    It's also worth bearing in mind that elsewhere in the UK, it's often the case that top research academics are not the ones teaching undergraduate students.
    Very well put, I agree with everything you say, many degrees could comfortably be completed in two years, mostly the arts based subjects. We all know of guys who hardly attend any lectures and still obtain decent degrees. You are also correct in pointing out that not all lectures and contact time is with the top academics, often we are used as practice fodder for phd students to hone their skills on. The £9000 fees have only been in existence a mere blink of an eye and already there is talk of them not being sustainable, so interest rates will need to rise, who knows what we will owe in say ten years time. A two year course or a three year course leading to MA could be attractive to quite a few students I think.
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    (Original post by llys)

    Or did I misunderstand something?
    The meaning of semester, I am afraid. There are only two semesters in a year. Think "semi"
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    (Original post by BrainDrain)
    Very well put, I agree with everything you say, many degrees could comfortably be completed in two years, mostly the arts based subjects. We all know of guys who hardly attend any lectures and still obtain decent degrees. You are also correct in pointing out that not all lectures and contact time is with the top academics, often we are used as practice fodder for phd students to hone their skills on. The £9000 fees have only been in existence a mere blink of an eye and already there is talk of them not being sustainable, so interest rates will need to rise, who knows what we will owe in say ten years time. A two year course or a three year course leading to MA could be attractive to quite a few students I think.
    I don't agree with this, really. If my course had been compacted into two years, I wouldn't have been anywhere near as employable when I left uni. I also wouldn't have had the time to work and therefore avoid taking out the maintenance loan.

    This thing about 'practise fodder' for phd students makes me giggle. The modules are created by the more senior academics. At research active unis, these may be the leaders in their field. Often, though, the content for level 1 and level 2 modules are so easy that a phd student can capably teach on them. What is the point if getting X Professor to take all the classes when the future leaders in academia can do it?

    If the top academics did all the teaching then they wouldn't have any time to do the research that makes them respected in their field...


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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    The meaning of semester, I am afraid. There are only two semesters in a year. Think "semi"
    Sorry, I still don't understand. The poster I quoted said there were two semesters per year (indeed) with 12 weeks of teaching each, so 24 teaching weeks per year, right? But then he seemed to say that this, over three years is more than 36 teaching weeks per year for two years (University of Buckingham)? But 24x3 = 2x36. It's exactly the same amount of teaching? I still don't get his point?
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    (Original post by llys)
    Sorry, I still don't understand. The poster I quoted said there were two semesters per year (indeed) with 12 weeks of teaching each, so 24 teaching weeks per year, right? But then he seemed to say that this, over three years is more than 36 teaching weeks per year for two years (University of Buckingham)? But 24x3 = 2x36. It's exactly the same amount of teaching? I still don't get his point?
    The poster you quoted was saying that in saying that in 1991 a Poly taught for 36 weeks a year. The same ex-Poly now teaches for 24 weeks in a year and charges £9,000 for the privilege.

    I am not convinced that is totally right, in that I think 36 weeks might have been the total academic year length, but I am sure that some weeks have somehow got lost in the intervening 20 years.
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    OH. OK. I got confused because he was replying to UoB so I assumed he was referring to their 36 weeks. I didn't know polys had a longer academic year in the past. It makes sense though. School years also comprise 38 weeks of teaching.

    An argument against a longer academic year at university would probably be research. But I'm not convinced you need researchers to teach undergraduate courses anyway; dedicated lecturers would probably be better at it. Anyway, at my old university, if researchers taught at all, they usually only taught one or two hours per week (or less), which is hardly a burden.
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    (Original post by LexiswasmyNexis)
    I don't agree with this, really. If my course had been compacted into two years, I wouldn't have been anywhere near as employable when I left uni. I also wouldn't have had the time to work and therefore avoid taking out the maintenance loan.

    This thing about 'practise fodder' for phd students makes me giggle. The modules are created by the more senior academics. At research active unis, these may be the leaders in their field. Often, though, the content for level 1 and level 2 modules are so easy that a phd student can capably teach on them. What is the point if getting X Professor to take all the classes when the future leaders in academia can do it?

    If the top academics did all the teaching then they wouldn't have any time to do the research that makes them respected in their field...


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    I think if you had graduated a year early this would be looked on favourably by employers, and you have saved yourself the best part of £20,000 in fees and accommodation costs, before taking into account you now have the opportunity of an extra 12 months full time work in the area you planned to work in... not some makeshift crummy part time job. As for professors delegating their workload to guys who have only recently completed the course you are on, that doesn't really rock my boat. The contact time at York for History is down to a couple of hours a week as it is, seems to me if you include holiday periods there is ample time left for any number of research projects, if they can't make an appearance every week its a poor show. Two year courses already work for many as Buckingham have shown, with applications increasing every year, all i'm saying is it would be nice if more universities offered the choice for some of us less fortunate than others.
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    (Original post by BrainDrain)
    I think if you had graduated a year early this would be looked on favourably by employers, and you have saved yourself the best part of £20,000 in fees and accommodation costs, before taking into account you now have the opportunity of an extra 12 months full time work in the area you planned to work in... not some makeshift crummy part time job. As for professors delegating their workload to guys who have only recently completed the course you are on, that doesn't really rock my boat. The contact time at York for History is down to a couple of hours a week as it is, seems to me if you include holiday periods there is ample time left for any number of research projects, if they can't make an appearance every week its a poor show. Two year courses already work for many as Buckingham have shown, with applications increasing every year, all i'm saying is it would be nice if more universities offered the choice for some of us less fortunate than others.
    I don't think it would be looked on favourably at all- especially if I has not had the time to build experience in holidays and extra curricular activities during term time.

    Also, you'll find that those academics do teach on their modules, but generally just one or two of the classes. They also need to do research, teach more taught PG stuff which requires their expertise, supervise research PG degrees and do their own research. I suggest they're worked pretty hard even before you would make them teach every class phd students currently do.


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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    The poster you quoted was saying that in saying that in 1991 a Poly taught for 36 weeks a year. The same ex-Poly now teaches for 24 weeks in a year and charges £9,000 for the privilege.

    I am not convinced that is totally right, in that I think 36 weeks might have been the total academic year length, but I am sure that some weeks have somehow got lost in the intervening 20 years.
    You are right about the 36 teaching weeks in a year for the old polys. It was usually 3x12 week terms. There were no modules but just subjects which the course leaders could plan independently for their own course. Art and design students would attend a full five day week in their studios and workshops and just pop out for the odd 1 hr lecture on supporting studies. Then along came semesters (brought over from the USA), modules, and 12 teaching weeks disappears from the academic year. Tell me if that is progress?
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    (Original post by sultony)
    With students sometimes only receiving 2.5 hrs contact tuition a week and only having to attend the equivalent of two days per week, it is not a full-time study mode. Yet students can pay £9000 per annum fees, so the first thing they do is look for part-time jobs for the other three days per week to help pay their fees. I would suggest that the universities are mis-selling their 'Full-time' courses and should therefore only charge 2/5ths of the fees. What is your experience?
    They are full time as you do 15 hours timetabled and 15-30 hours independent study.. So that's 30-45 hours which is equal to full-time.

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    Most health care courses (nursing, physio etc) are pretty much full time (at least where I go its usually 9-4 lectures everyday when in uni and maybe over 40 hours a week when on placement)
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    (Original post by physicso)
    If i get onto my engineering course, i have 25 contact hours and my placement pays for 3/4 of my course

    ENGINEERING FTW!
    --

    hows that good, i wish we had 10-15 hours a week and could sit in the SU bar drinking the rest of the time
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    As before. Completely dependent on course or subject area. My first degree was in Science and I was in 9am-6pm every day doing lectures, labs, tutorials etc and now doing a second one in the Social Sciences I'm like 3 days a week, 4 hours each and that was taking on an extra module :/ I was quite taken aback when I started the second degree.
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    *Looks at my timetable from last year, with 25+ contact hours per week*

    *Remembers the other 60+ hours a week of work I did*

    Yeah, right.
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    It would seem since my original posting that there are huge differences in people's experiences of contact teaching hours per week and how they are interpreted, depending upon the subject of study. Those with a full week of study are fortunate on the one hand in that they are getting their money's worth, but unfortunate on the other that they have no time in the day to get a part-time job to help pay the fees. It is a catch 22 situation, but nevertheless, it is scandalous and students should be making their complaints known to the NUS.
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    The increase in fees will help to bring out more and more alternative choices to studying for a degree from the accepted norm of spending three years at university. Some universities and courses are excellent value for money, but there are many more now the increase in fees has gone to £9000 a year that are very poor value, for which it's hard to justify the expense accrued, often totalling £50,000 over three years including expenses. I notice Birkbeck are offering degree courses at evening classes http://www.bbk.ac.uk/prospective/ which will appeal to some, and then there are MOOC's http://www.theguardian.com/education...tance-learning , which looks to be another expanding alternative. The more choices available can only help keep universities concentrated on offering decent value for money. We students are now investing serious sums of money, and it won't be long in my opinion before we start to question universities, maybe in the courts, over what's offered on the tin compared to what we actually receive.
 
 
 
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