The problems created by coronavirus to studying at university

THE PROBLEM As a result of coronavirus, university education in England has failed to deliver the quality of education promised to students before they started their course. The accommodation conditions were in many cases oppressive and resulted in student protests. Lectures were replaced by online teaching and students could not physically contact tutors. All practical classes were abandoned and other skill development sessions like student presentations and other communication skills teaching were cancelled. All students at universities need to be prepared for a future professional career and this involves a student engaging with a career development programme. The above issues of preparing online teaching materials and assessments of high quality is not the same as producing and delivering lectures because it involves different skills. However most lecturers are trained in research not teaching. Similarly although most lecturers would have some knowledge of careers in their subject, they are not careers advice experts. This brief account has essentially argued that there is a complete mismatch between what most students want from a university course and what the university is currently delivering in the context of coronavirus and previously. Students want good teaching, their learning assessed promptly with adequate feedback, together with sufficient career preparation to ultimately attain a professional career. This implies that most students need a vocational course. In addition it is clear that many students would have preferred to remain at home and study online from there and avoid difficult accommodation situations and coronavirus. Hence the university system in England needs to be radically changed to more closely match the needs of students and the economy by developing and delivering vocational courses for the majority of students and research driven courses for the minority of students who are academically inclined.




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