Guardian UK Online Learning

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  1. The pandemic showed that remote learning is effective. It’s absurd that universities are going back to processes that exclude us

    • Rosie Anfilogoff is the winner of the 2024 Hugo Young Award (19-25 age category) recognising young talent in political opinion writing

    My route to university was never going to be simple. While my friends were flicking through university brochures and choosing Ucas options, I was signing chemotherapy consent forms in the teenage cancer unit at Addenbrooke’s hospital and throwing up in its weirdly tropical island-themed bathrooms. Even before then, my severe chronic illness made attending traditional university unthinkable – until the pandemic happened.

    In 2020, for the first time, it became possible to attend a brick-and-mortar university online. Universities became accessible – or at least, more accessible than they had ever been – practically overnight. Accommodations that disabled students had been requesting for years, such as lecture recordings and software that would allow them to take exams from home, were slotted into place so that students could learn remotely. Suddenly, friends at university were having the kind of experience that would have enabled me to join them.But since the “end” of the pandemic, online learning has withered away and thousands of students have been left without sufficient access. By returning to the pre-pandemic state of affairs, universities are failing current and prospective disabled students like me.

    Rosie Anfilogoff is a writer and journalist

    Comments on this piece are premoderated to ensure discussion remains on topics raised by the writer. Please be aware there may be a short delay in comments appearing on the site.

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  2. We’re keen to hear from students at UK universities how they’ve been feeling about attending lectures and tutorials

    We’re interestedto hear from university students in the UK about their attitude towards in-person lectures and tutorials, and attending university classes generally.

    Whether you’ve been appreciating the return of face-to-face teaching since the pandemic, have experienced reduced interest in attending tutorials and lectures or have been attending your classes as usual but have experienced a change in attitude nonetheless, we’d like to hear from you.

    You can see the article that included respondents to this callout here.

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  3. Outdoor pianos, celebrity names and free tuition videos combine to get Britons tickling the ivories once more

    For years, it seemed like the piano was disappearing from British public life. The bulky instruments were cast out of homes and schools and offered for free online.

    But now – despite all the digital entertainment alternatives and conductor Simon Rattle’s stark warning last week that UK classical music was fighting for its life amid funding cuts – the piano seems to be making a 21st-century comeback in homes, on streets and online.

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  4. Exclusive: Critics denounce Rishi Sunak’s push to improve adult numeracy as ‘empty rhetoric’ after centrepiece is ditched

    Ministers have quietly shelved plans for a £100m online learning platform intended to form the centrepiece of Rishi Sunak’s push to improve adult numeracy.

    The prime minister has made improving the nation’s maths skills a personal mission. While chancellor in 2021, he announced £560m of funding for Multiply, a numeracy scheme for adults.

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  5. State school pupils twice as likely to feel they have fallen behind than peers in private schools, landmark study finds

    Four out of five teenagers say their academic progress has suffered as a result of the pandemic, with state school pupils twice as likely to feel they have fallen behind than their peers in private schools, according to initial findings from a landmark study.

    Half of the 16- and 17-year-olds questioned said the Covid disruption had left them less motivated to study, while 45% felt they have not been able to catch up with lost learning.

    There was a lot of chaos in my life at the time and then we went into lockdown quite unprepared. There was a lot of confusion about schooling. I didn’t really have access to technology. I didn’t have online lessons, things like that. There was work that went on every week, but I couldn’t access it because I didn’t have the internet. I remember talking to one of my friends and they were like, ‘Oh have you seen the work that’s been put for English’, and I was like, ‘We have work?’

    It was only in the September when we came back I finally got more support. I got a laptop and I got better access. A lot of people in my school had issues like me. A lot of people didn’t have technology or they didn’t have structured lessons, so we’ve had a lot to try to catch up on. A lot of the lessons have been quite content-heavy because it felt like we were trying to do two years in one, so that was quite stressful. And I felt like I had to work harder to do my GCSEs. I felt I had to do more to recover to my peers’ level.

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