University of Suffolk to mix online and face-to-face learning post-Covid

The University of Suffolk Waterfront Building in Ipswich, the venue for the Brand New You event.

University of Suffolk bosses have said that a mix of campus and online learning will be used post-Covid

University leaders in Suffolk have said that a mix of online and face-to-face learning will remain for their courses post-Covid.

Outlining the University of Suffolk's 10-year vision to the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders gathering of council, health and police chiefs on Friday, vice chancellor Professor Helen Langton said the industry's future would rely on a mix of in-person and remote learning.

Professor Helen Langston, University of Suffolk vice chancellor Picture: UNIVERSITY OF SUFFOLK

University of Suffolk vice chancellor Professor Helen Langton - Credit: Archant

"Our students absolutely require an active learning experience, and one that enables them to be independent learners," she told the meeting. 

"Technology, given the last year, has never been more important, and we will not go back to delivering fully how we did pre-Covid.

"I have no doubt that a blended approach, with more online as well as more back on campus, will be the way forward."

The extent of online and face-to-face learning in future is likely to be dictated by the courses, with hands-on degrees in nursing and midwifery likely to require more learning in person or on placement than more academic-based subjects.

Deputy vice chancellor Professor Mohammad Dastbaz said: "We certainly have quite a bit more engagement from our students [during the pandemic] because sometimes they don’t have to travel two hours to campus to attend a lecture.

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"We did a survey with our students and I think most of them will not want to go back to what it was pre-Covid, and they are more in tune with a blended approach - i.e., some virtual delivery and some face to face."

University of Suffolk deputy vice-chancellor Professor Mohammad Dastbaz.

University of Suffolk deputy vice chancellor Mohammad Dastbaz - Credit: Archant

Prof Dastbaz said that the university had also been working to address digital poverty.

University figures indicated that around three-quarters of its students were from East Anglia, while many were mature students or worked part-time.

It is understood those factors may also contribute to a mixed learning approach, so that study could be factored into people's work lives more than totally campus-based learning.

However, questions remain for those paying for courses whose learning has had to switch to entirely remote learning as a consequence of the Covid-19 lockdown measures.

Prime minister Boris Johnson's roadmap for easing lockdown indicated that students who would be unable to complete their courses if they couldn't make use of practical facilities could return to campus from March 8.

However, those who don't fall under that category must wait for the government review by the end of Easter.