University won’t return to full face-to-face teaching next term

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The University of Liverpool won't return to full face-to-face teaching next term, regardless of coronavirus restrictions being lifted.

The university has confirmed on its website that it will move to a 'blended learning' system in the autumn term and will introduce a 1m+ social distancing rule in all teaching and social spaces.

The blended learning approach is described as a 'mix of on-campus, interactive face-to-face sessions, together with online teaching in place of some sessions that would normally take place in larger groups, such as lectures.'

The university says it is working hard to make sure that it can safely deliver 'as much face-to-face teaching as possible', but has said for students there will be an online element next term.

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An explanation on the website for students states: "In practice this may mean instead of coming on to campus for lectures you may be asked to watch some short pre-recorded videos created by your tutor which cover the same themes and topics as the original lecture.

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"These videos will be available through a virtual learning environment for you to view in your own time, and be supported with an online discussion area where you can ask questions and share thoughts with your peers and the tutors.

"This online activity may be in preparation for an on-campus face-to-face seminar or practical session where you can then engage and deepen your understanding through active learning activities."

It adds: "By using a blended model, programmes can mix different teaching session formats to suit the subject, with an emphasis on active learning. We have created tailored online experiences while also allowing students the benefit of regular, meaningful in-person interaction."

The University of Liverpool isn't the only establishment planning to keep some lectures and teaching online next term.

The BBC reported today that the University of Leeds, the London School of Economics and the Scottish universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh all expect to have a online elements to their teaching next year.

This approach may prompt further questions about value for money from students who have been learning from their bedrooms since the turn of the year.

In Leeds students have started a petition against the plans, labelling the idea of more online lectures as 'ridiculous' and 'a disgrace.'

University of Liverpool students were also left disappointed last week when the university confirmed that summer plans for a graduation ceremony would be postponed.

The ECHO has attempted to reach the Universities of Liverpool, John Moores and Hope to find out more about their plans for teaching next term.

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