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Wednesday 20 May 2020

Cambridge University takes all 2020-21 lectures online

University of Cambridge logoThe University of Cambridge has announced it will move all face-to-face lectures online for the duration of the 2020-21 academic year.

The higher education institution has been providing lectures online during the COVID-19 crisis and took the decision to extend this approach to the next academic year as it considers it likely that social distancing measures will continue to be required. Although lectures will be made available online, the university said it may be possible to host smaller teaching groups in person. Taking the decision at this time, means university staff have clarity of requirements and can start planning courses, infrastructure, management and support mechanisms accordingly.

Other universities are starting to announce their plans for the start of the 2020-21 academic year, but most are taking a softer approach than Cambridge. Manchester University has announced it will be conducting all lectures in the first semester online, but has, so far, stopped short of extending this approach across the whole academic year. Oxford University has announced that face-to-face teaching and research supervision will be complemented by high quality online activities where necessary.

Today, the Russell Group, which represents 24 leading UK universities, sets out its proposals to give the UK the edge in the competitive international student market. It includes a warning that some countries do not recognise international degrees with significant elements of online learning. It recommends the UK works with other governments to agree reciprocal recognition agreements over courses which may be delivered partly online during and in the aftermath of COVID-19.

As we discussed in COVID-19: The impact on UK public sector software and IT services, the pandemic has had, and will continue to have, an enormous impact on higher education. Universities are facing significant reductions in the number of students whilst needing to invest in providing high quality online learning. There are big challenges in moving from face-to-face learning to online learning, particularly for disadvantaged students and those taking creative courses or courses that need access to specialist resources. Many universities will not be in a good position to provide high quality online courses at the start of the new academic year and will continue to turn to the technology supplier community for help.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: education   learning   university   covid-19  

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