The principal of Oxford University’s Lady Margaret Hall has won plaudits after he set up a gazebo to welcome freshers rather than greeting them on a Zoom call.
Former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger set up a ‘field office’ to get around new social distancing rules which have resulted in many students paying through the nose to be educated online.
Didn’t feel right to be greeting 230-odd freshers to @lmhoxford through individual Zoom meetings. So here I am in my field office in my thermals seeing them all one-on-one in a bracing fresh air fresher experience. And lovely they are … pic.twitter.com/ehXQyaztf3— alan rusbridger (@arusbridger) October 7, 2020
Manchester University became the latest educational institution to move all courses online after seeing a spike in coronavirus cases.
Nearby Manchester Metropolitan and the University of Sheffield have also taken similar action to protect the health of students and staff.
The University and College Union (UCU) welcomed the moves but said virus outbreaks could have been prevented had the decision been made earlier.
In a statement, UCU north west regional officer Martyn Moss said: “It is clear the Government needs to stop pretending university campuses are well prepared for this crisis, and tell all universities to halt in-person teaching to control the spread of the virus.”
But many are unsympathetic to his pleas given the expense of higher education.
Replying to Rusbridger’s tweet, Joe Michalczuk said it is “lazy and unnecessary to just revert to online provision – there are ways to give students face to face experiences if you’re willing to put yourself out and think outside the box”.
Other thanked him for his dedication, saying “academics like you are the reason I remain motivated in my degree when it’s all too easy to give up when the going gets tough”.