TSR Talks: How can universities offer students a great experience during covid-19?

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TSR Talks: Loughborough University
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For many, university is a rite of passage and the start of the academic term is an exciting prospect. However, this year, the impact of the pandemic cannot be ignored and students are apprehensive about what to expect when they start university in September.

With some universities delivering the first term online and others proposing socially distanced lectures, what does all of this mean for the student experience?

How can teaching be adapted and how will this impact student learning?

For those studying courses with practical elements, is there really a substitute for physical interaction and how can universities navigate this loss of engagement to ensure that students are not disadvantaged?

Dr Mark Jepson, Senior Lecturer in Metallurgy and Microscopy, graduated from Loughborough University in 2004 with a degree in Automotive Materials. He now works in the Materials Department as an Admissions Tutor and specialises in metals for high temperature applications.

Kit Neale, Programme Director in Textile Design, has over ten years' experience collaborating and consulting with global brands in both the textiles and fashion industries. This experience and his sector knowledge enables him to deliver industry focused teaching.

Dr Richard Hodgkins works within Geography and Environment as a Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography and as an Admissions Tutor. Richard's specific research interests lie within arctic science.
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Realitysreflexx
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Everyone knows it will be crap 😂.
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Sinnoh
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Well you definitely can't do remote labs, you have to either be there in person or don't do it at all.
One thing that has irked me is how at the start of the year all our lecturers told us "you definitely need to attend in person, watching lecture recordings and never coming in isn't a substitute for being there in person" and now we're told everything will be just fine and normal if they do remote lectures, tutorials, seminars...

Granted, remote lectures aren't a big issue for me. There are people who only ever used recordings and it suited them fine in the Before-Time.

If I still get to take part in labs (even if socially distanced), plus the library and catering services are open, I'll be happy.
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JMR2020.
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I'm going into second year, and I feel like the first term at least won't be a great experience. The last term in the first year was already hugely disrupted.
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TSR Talks: Loughborough University
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(Original post by Sinnoh)
Well you definitely can't do remote labs, you have to either be there in person or don't do it at all.

If I still get to take part in labs (even if socially distanced), plus the library and catering services are open, I'll be happy.
Remote labs might be a possibility, it all depends on the subject, the staff and the equipment required, but remote participation by proxy, simulated practicals and other solutions are available. It may well be that socially-distanced practicals are possible - timetabling staff are working hard to make larger lab spaces available to as many programmes as they can.
Best regards,
Richard.
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TSR Talks: Loughborough University
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(Original post by Sinnoh)
Well you definitely can't do remote labs, you have to either be there in person or don't do it at all.
One thing that has irked me is how at the start of the year all our lecturers told us "you definitely need to attend in person, watching lecture recordings and never coming in isn't a substitute for being there in person" and now we're told everything will be just fine and normal if they do remote lectures, tutorials, seminars...

Granted, remote lectures aren't a big issue for me. There are people who only ever used recordings and it suited them fine in the Before-Time.

If I still get to take part in labs (even if socially distanced), plus the library and catering services are open, I'll be happy.
Your comment on lecturers badgering students to attend sessions in realtime made me chuckle! I think my students will have evidence of me heckling them to turn up to timetabled activities and now it might very well be standard practice for lectures to be delivered online in the future. There are some benefits to online lectures. As an example, at the height of lockdown, I gave a 9 am lecture - attendance was 100%, and everyone listened in from the comfort of their beds while munching on breakfast. The feedback was that they loved it, though thought it was more of a podcast than a lecture. Perhaps podcasts could be a useful tool for academic learning in the future? However, for me, I still argue the best talks are experienced live. I respond to the students and work to create a stimulating environment utilising sound, film, and encouraging a thought-provoking debate.

We're very much aiming to deliver as much face-to-face as possible while exploring innovative educational approaches to online learning where we can't. I'm excited by the challenge; times of change can offer unique opportunities to improve our practice.

Kit Neale
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DiddyDec
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The overall student experience will be worse not matter how many measures are put in place. Online teaching is not a substitute for face to face and never will be.

The Freshers experience is totally ****ed with no bars open and any large events cancelled. There is no salvaging that, especially when halls parties are quite literally illegal. The only hope here is if you know someone with a private garden so you can invite 30 people round.
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EU Yakov
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probably not, but I get why you guys have an interest in pretending otherwise. It's okay, Lboro should survive this
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TSR Talks: Loughborough University
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(Original post by EU Yakov)
probably not, but I get why you guys have an interest in pretending otherwise. It's okay, Lboro should survive this
We've switched to a lot of remote delivery without really thinking about it: lecture capture was the exception rather than the norm until very recently, and remote exams (for example) would have been a bizarre idea. I think we'll see a lot of innovation next year, there'll be positives as well as negatives.

(Original post by DiddyDec)
The overall student experience will be worse not matter how many measures are put in place. Online teaching is not a substitute for face to face and never will be.
No-one would disagree about the value of face-to-face, and the university is committed to that within social distancing guidelines - teaching won't be 100% remote at all. In some ways it will be even more important to be in contact with more (not all) remote delivery taking place.

Best wishes,
Richard.
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(Original post by JMR2020.)
I'm going into second year, and I feel like the first term at least won't be a great experience. The last term in the first year was already hugely disrupted.
I'm confident the new term will be better than the last: we'll certainly be better prepared, we know what the different scenarios are for different alert levels, we've made huge upgrades to IT systems that have to take more strain, and there's a lot of thought and discussion going in how to get the best out of the situation, both in delivering good remote learning, and ensuring we can do as much face-to-face as possible. Last term was a nasty surprise to us all, but we're in a much better place now.
Best wishes,
Richard.
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(Original post by TSR Talks: Loughborough University)
I'm confident the new term will be better than the last: we'll certainly be better prepared, we know what the different scenarios are for different alert levels, we've made huge upgrades to IT systems that have to take more strain, and there's a lot of thought and discussion going in how to get the best out of the situation, both in delivering good remote learning, and ensuring we can do as much face-to-face as possible. Last term was a nasty surprise to us all, but we're in a much better place now.
Best wishes,
Richard.
I go to a different uni. Thankfully on my course due to seminars I have a reason to be in person. Halls at my uni seem to be the same capacity as usual, and catered so... bars/restaurants/cafes will also be open. Sports also reopening. I am really hoping for a good final year...


What will societies be like at Lboro?
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(Original post by SuperHuman98)
I go to a different uni. Thankfully on my course due to seminars I have a reason to be in person. Halls at my uni seem to be the same capacity as usual, and catered so... bars/restaurants/cafes will also be open. Sports also reopening. I am really hoping for a good final year...


What will societies be like at Lboro?
We're ambitiously aiming to offer as many of the face-to-face activities as we can ensuring a safe environment. So hopefully seminars and workshops will have minimal disruption. Like you, we're lucky to have a big, spacious campus to accommodate this; everyone will have different challenges depending on their unique circumstances. The University is working with the Students Union on plans freshers and societies.
Kit Neale
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(Original post by TSR Talks: Loughborough University)
Your comment on lecturers badgering students to attend sessions in realtime made me chuckle! I think my students will have evidence of me heckling them to turn up to timetabled activities and now it might very well be standard practice for lectures to be delivered online in the future. There are some benefits to online lectures. As an example, at the height of lockdown, I gave a 9 am lecture - attendance was 100%, and everyone listened in from the comfort of their beds while munching on breakfast. The feedback was that they loved it, though thought it was more of a podcast than a lecture. Perhaps podcasts could be a useful tool for academic learning in the future? However, for me, I still argue the best talks are experienced live. I respond to the students and work to create a stimulating environment utilising sound, film, and encouraging a thought-provoking debate.

We're very much aiming to deliver as much face-to-face as possible while exploring innovative educational approaches to online learning where we can't. I'm excited by the challenge; times of change can offer unique opportunities to improve our practice.

Kit Neale
(Original post by DiddyDec)
The overall student experience will be worse not matter how many measures are put in place. Online teaching is not a substitute for face to face and never will be.

The Freshers experience is totally ****ed with no bars open and any large events cancelled. There is no salvaging that, especially when halls parties are quite literally illegal. The only hope here is if you know someone with a private garden so you can invite 30 people round.
If i had chosen the University of Manchester for £20,000 for my MSc... I would be crying right now. At least going to the Netherlands I'm paying €2,143 for admittedly a few rankings places lower (20 on times higher).... But we're having in person seminars..starting in three weeks....there's clarity of schedule and organisation been done.

This fluff about how innovative and organised British uni's are is absolute baloney... They're slow beaucratic behemoths, dependent on foreign students and I still don't even have my degree certificate or an update on it. Even had to pay £13 for an email transcript that's taking the uni 10 days to produce! (Pathetic for a prestigious Russell group).

UK HE is a mess right now...and before with just strikes it was bad enough....but the price to experience... 😂 Your kidding.
The staff haven't even returned to the office to prepare for the year 😂.
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UnwantedKid
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Not value for money at all but hey, most universities screwed themselves over financially before this so it's no wonder the government won't help them and they have to charge full tuition fees. I hope this mess encourages many HE instututions to either shut down, or restructure themselves into a better model.

My next term and a bit is probably gonna be ****. But at least I know our course organisers and lecturers are doing their best for us (I have doubts for other courses).
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(Original post by UnwantedKid)
Not value for money at all but hey, most universities screwed themselves over financially before this so it's no wonder the government won't help them and they have to charge full tuition fees. I hope this mess encourages many HE instututions to either shut down, or restructure themselves into a better model.

My next term and a bit is probably gonna be ****. But at least I know our course organisers and lecturers are doing their best for us (I have doubts for other courses).
I like to champion educational reform, so I recognise the calls for progress. I think this can take form in many different ways, small and large. What do you think is a better model for higher educational institutes?

In creative practices, such as fashion and textiles, the industry is facing significant challenges; economical, environmental and social. I believe it is my challenge as a leader in the field to steer change and inspire new generations of creatives to reimagine and envisage an advanced society. COVID has exposed the flaws in the textile industry, but equally, through PPE, show how our planet is reliant on textiles. I'd love to hear how students think creative programmes could evolve into a more progressive model and what this might look like.
Kit Neale
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(Original post by TSR Talks: Loughborough University)
I like to champion educational reform, so I recognise the calls for progress. I think this can take form in many different ways, small and large. What do you think is a better model for higher educational institutes?

In creative practices, such as fashion and textiles, the industry is facing significant challenges; economical, environmental and social. I believe it is my challenge as a leader in the field to steer change and inspire new generations of creatives to reimagine and envisage an advanced society. COVID has exposed the flaws in the textile industry, but equally, through PPE, show how our planet is reliant on textiles. I'd love to hear how students think creative programmes could evolve into a more progressive model and what this might look like.
A good place to start would be certain massive salaries fat cats at the top have. I'm sure that of those 13 mystery 'at risk' universities, the people at the top aren't struggling. I'm no expert at all, but clearly the HE in this country isn't all it's made out to be and covid-19 has definitely brought light to the cracks. I hope that after this more students (mainly school leavers) will consider whether going to university is actually worth it for their futures.
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Hey folks, we are three university lecturers looking to help out with queries/concerns about teaching adaptations to the pandemic. We don't control the financial policy of our university or any others. Please bear that in mind.
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(Original post by TSR Talks: Loughborough University)
Hey folks, we are three university lecturers looking to help out with queries/concerns about teaching adaptations to the pandemic. We don't control the financial policy of our university or any others. Please bear that in mind.
You'll gladly strike for your pensions and personal interests. Indeed, if it were up to you... Students would likely pay more. My education suffered for three year's due to industrial action. You can't just take all the accolades and then hide behind your tail around the tough issues. Please bear that in mind, with all due respect.
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As this is a TSR Talks, please keep posts on topic of teaching adaptations to the pandemic, and as always please be respectful. Thanks everyone

How have you found adapting to teaching online? Has it been difficult to take everything into a online lecture, or have you found you're able to support students in other ways?

Also, do you think that this could mean the start of lectures uploaded at the beginning of every week and students could watch them in their own time to offer flexibility, with drop ins for questions at specific times, or do you feel it's better to do online lectures at set times?
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Posting to subscribe.
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