More than 3,000 students of the University of Manchester have signed a petition after the university announced the permanent move to “blended learning,” calling on the institution to return to full-time in-person education.
Under the new plans, only interactive learning will be delivered face-to-face, Erudera.com reports.
“UoM has decided that blended learning should continue in the long term with only ‘interactive’ content being delivered in person,” Emily Bennet, who launched the petition, said, claiming that students are unhappy as they do not feel like they have been “adequately consulted on the matter.”
“Obviously, it is essential that there is an option for online learning due to continued restrictions and access requirements, but the majority of students would be able to and would prefer to return to in-person teaching for the next academic year,” Bennet pointed out.
As per the university’s statement that there will be no reduction in fees, she said it is unacceptable, adding that courses offered online by institutions such as Open University cost less just because they are delivered online.
Wheres, the university’s Vice-President for Teaching, Learning, and Students, April McMahon, told the student newspaper The Tab that the new plans would not include a reduction of tuition fees.
McMahon pointed out that the university also agrees about the importance of students accessing on-campus learning but said that the move to blended learning is very different from the move to online learning, which took place amid the pandemic.
“The exact mix of in-person, on-campus and online sessions will depend very much on what works for each subject of study,” she added.
The University of Manchester has one of the biggest student communities in the United Kingdom. According to the 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities, the University of Manchester is ranked the 36th in the world, eighth in Europe, and fifth in the United Kingdom.
After some universities in the United Kingdom announced they are planning to mix in-person and online teaching in autumn, students have asked their institutions to be refunded at least part of the tuition fee.
It has been reported that blended learning will depend on social distancing rules and if students have managed to get the vaccine in time.