As a result of the Coronavirus rapidly spreading and impacting the education system, thousands of institutions in the country have shut their doors, and schools have officially cancelled GCSE, AS and A level exams and awarded students with mock examination results and previous coursework grades instead.
However, this is not the case for most university students, as instead of having their exams and coursework cancelled, several universities have adapted to still deliver their content online so that students can finish the semester from home during the lockdown and receive their final grades.
Most universities within the UK are carrying out lectures and seminars via an online classroom within the university’s corresponding system software and assisting students’ queries via emails. Some universities are also offering students one-to-one scheduled Skype tutorials.
“I just want everything to be back to normal. I certainly didn’t sign up to pay nine grand a year to be taught online” – Miriam Croitoru, student at the University of Bournemouth
Several students from universities across the country give their views on how they feel about attending class from their own homes and how they remain efficient whilst going through quarantine.
Emmanuel Dario, Maths and Economics Foundation student at Brunel University London, Miriam Croitoru, Journalism second-year student at the University of Bournemouth, and Ella Frankcom, Computer Network Security first-year student at the University of Westminster express how working from home isn’t ideal.
They explain how distractions around them won’t allow them to get on with their work as they normally would when they were able to be within a student environment, and how not having direct face-to-face interaction with lecturers is also making it more difficult despite universities’ efforts to make classes online as viable as possible.
Hassan Ubaide, an undergraduate Medicine student at Kings College London says how although his university cancelling placements have enabled him to focus more on his exam revision, he also finds it harder to study from home.
“My university has cancelled all physical teaching and placements and has resorted to online teaching. I quite like that I don’t have to go placements, as I can focus more on exam revision. I use my old notes to study now and watch YouTube videos”
“Although, I find it harder to study at home as it’s easier to become complacent. I upturn my bed when I wake up to force myself to study and put it back to normal at night.”
COVID-19 has also affected how many final year students will complete their degrees, as the rapid spread has caused the facilities of certain universities to be shut down, leaving many students in the dark and unable to access essential material to help with dissertations and final year projects.
Due to the pandemic leading to lockdown, some third-year students seem to be finding it very difficult to get their final projects done and being forced to find alternatives and working their way around completing their practical work, leaving some struggling to create a good portfolio.
“I’m kind of stuck in the mud. I can’t really do much, everything is up in the air” – Adam Kudur, student at the University of Westminster, London
Adam Kudur, a third-year Contemporary Media Practice student at the University of Westminster, expresses how the lockdown has deeply affected his final year project due to it consisting of a live show event, presenting visual and audio experiences which would have taken place at a club but which he had to cancel due to the circumstances of the pandemic.
“I’m kind of stuck in the mud. I can’t really do much, everything is up in the air as we also just got announced that there will be a lockdown in the UK, so stricter measures are being made and it looks like it’s just getting worse. It has affected everything and my projects and portfolio have suffered.”
“My final project was meant to be my golden ticket to the industry, which was meant to be me hosting my own event and putting on a really good production of visuals and music but I won’t even be able to make that happen properly.”
“For example, for my final project, I wanted to use the green screen room and even that was taken away. So now I’m going to have to buy a green screen with my own money, and even if I buy the equipment I need, I’m going to have to get people from different areas to come to wherever I can set up the green screen and try to film it which I don’t think will be possible anyway.”
“We are very understanding to the issues students face in accessing experts, contacts, and restrictions on doing any fieldwork or filming outside.” – Anastasia Denisova, professor and Journalism course leader at the University of Westminster
Despite the difficulty for many students to complete their work during the lockdown, some universities have informed that they will be lenient with their marking considering the circumstances, which should help some students feel more at ease.
Anastasia Denisova, professor and Journalism course leader at the University of Westminster expresses how it is important for content to still be delivered despite the pandemic so that students are able to complete the modules they have been working on for the previous weeks of the semester. She also tells WNOL how university staff is being understanding with current issues students are facing due to the pandemic.
“It is an unprecedented time for everyone, and people in all jobs and roles find it hard to concentrate and adapt to the new routine. It is important to follow the rhythm of the academic year so that students can complete the assessments that they have been learning hard for and apply the skills they have achieved in the previous 9 weeks before the lockdown and the ones they learn now, under new provisions.”
“Cancelling all coursework could have resulted in a psychological bummer – as people would have struggled with the interruption of the structure of the semester and not getting the sense of achievement – hence we decided to proceed with online provision and offer plenty of online support, including Skype tutorials and interactive classes.”
“We are very understanding to the issues students face in accessing experts, contacts, and restrictions on doing any fieldwork or filming outside – hence we have eased the requirements for original material and interviews, research methodology, we ask students to reflect in the supporting documents to their coursework on the difficulties they faced due to the pandemic, and we will be much more lenient in marking. Students can also apply for an extension to the deadline if they have been affected by self-isolation.”