Anger as Plymouth University lectures could stay online after Covid lockdown ends

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Students at the University of Plymouth have been told they may not return to full-time face-to-face learning from September, despite the Government's plan to lift all Covid-19 restrictions by the summer.

ITV News West Country has learned the university's School of Nursing intends to hold practical courses in person, but could keep delivering lectures online.

The proposal has caused anger among some students who have questioned whether they should still be paying full tuition fees.

The university says it is still consulting student representatives on the proposals.

The university says it is consulting students on the proposals. Credit: ITV News

First year nursing student Becca Hale said: "We pay a substantial amount to further our education and it's quite frustrating. I'm such a social person, it's really hard to put yourself across when it's all digital.

"We'll have to see in September how much of a difference it's going to make. Our lectures are only two hours in the morning. If we're then going to be going on to campus in small groups, having one-to-one time with our tutors again, I think that's what university is about rather than just sitting in a lecture theatre listening."

Union leaders are worried about the effect yet more digital learning could have on students' welfare.

Union representative Kevin Treweeks says he is worried by the plans. Credit: ITV News

Kevin Treweeks, from Plymouth Unison, said: "We've got a tsunami of mental health issues created over the last 12 months. It won't be helped by keeping people isolated in their homes even after it's no longer necessary.

"Some people have adapted well to remote learning and some have had a really hard time."

The university is welcoming many students back to Plymouth Credit: ITV News

A university spokesman said: “Timetabled lectures make up just a small percentage of the overall formal taught student experience on our nursing degrees, compared with face-to-face seminars and hands-on clinical skills sessions.

"So we are talking to our students about the potential to deliver some of the lectures online next year, and we will endeavour to respond to their views as we always have.

“In listening to our students’ feedback on blended learning, what is clear is that the majority feel there are positive aspects to learning from home.

"For example, while our students value face-to-face engagement, debate and peer learning, they do not want to be travelling onto campus for short periods of time, especially if they have caring commitments or a distance to travel, as many do.

"Furthermore, there is a strong sense that the information provided during lectures could be achieved through online interaction, with face to face sessions used for more interactive, immersive teaching and learning.”

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