With September fast approaching, most universities in the UK have already announced their plans for the next semester. On 17 June 2020, Universities UK announced the results of a survey held by the organisation to examine the number of universities planning a smooth return to campus. 95% of the 92 universities surveyed said that they would provide a mixture of face to face teaching and online teaching, while only 5 % announced that they would continue a fully online learning experience this autumn.
The results clearly show that universities prefer providing students with a normal learning experience as much as possible. All universities have announced that they will follow the measures of social distancing announced by the government on campus.
“Universities are committed to providing an engaging academic and social experience for all while ensuring the safety and welfare of the whole university community.” Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, stated.
The universities of Bolton, Edinburgh and Nottingham Trent University have already announced a blended learning approach starting September. Sheffield Hallam University also announced that the campus will reopen for September.
“Our campus will be open, and safe, for the 2020-21 academic year this Autumn - in time to provide an excellent teaching and campus experience for all our students on their return.” Said Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice-chancellor at Sheffield Hallam University.
While it is clear that the next semester will be different for both students and professors, Claire Sosienski Smith, Vice President of the National Union of Students, noted that universities need to announce which courses will be taught online and which will be available face to face, to allow students to decide on their plans for the semester.
Smith stated that “It’s absolutely vital that students are given choice and power over where and how they start their education”
Overall, many universities have communicated current plans to prospective and current students. 78 universities of the 92 universities surveyed by Universities UK have even mentioned planning social activities for students, including outside events and sporting activities.