Newcastle student Harry Hay started the petition due to anxiety over the quality of online learning and the lack of face to face teaching for the rest of the semester. Other students have similar feelings, and want more security from the University regarding their final marks at the end of this academic year.
Many students feel that online learning should not be held to the same standard as face to face teaching, and it is unfair that they should be marked in the same way.
Some feel isolated and abandoned, with no mention of a safety net from the University.
During the second half of the 2019/2020 academic year similar pressure arose after more than 7500 students signed a petition, and the University introduced a safety net. This allowed students to finish the year with a grade equal to or above their marks achieved in semester one.
However, with no end of the pandemic in sight, students are now asking for the same safety net for the 2020/2021 academic year.
As well as online teaching, Hay lists isolation, stress, full tuition fees and a late start to the academic year as reasons why a safety net should be implemented.
He adds “Whilst it is understandable, given the unprecedented situation, that face-to-face teaching has effectively been halted, students should not be held to the same standards as those carrying out exams and dissertations in normal times.
“By doing this, the University is assuming all students have a suitable environment and resources to learn and work from their accommodation or homes as they would usually. This simply isn’t the case for everybody".
The petition as of 30 of November has over 700 signatures, as Hay suggests that "students should be rewarded through a baseline grade" to protect final dissertation marks and examination grades.
Newcastle University have not yet commented on the proposed safety net.
You can find the link to the petition here.
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