SAVE OUR GRADES: Nationwide, protective academic policies for UK university students

SAVE OUR GRADES: Nationwide, protective academic policies for UK university students

13 November 2020
Petition to
Michelle Donelan and
Signatures: 24,024Next Goal: 25,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Isabella Enoizi

Dear Vice Chancellors of UK Universities,
This is an open letter to the universities across the UK from their students, intended to clearly lay out our concerns regarding the necessary changes to teaching this academic year and to dispute the failure to introduce national, fair mitigation policies to protect our futures
Why is mitigation needed? 
o   Due to the nature of a ‘blended’ or online education, quality of teaching has indisputably been affected - issues including screen-sharing malfunctions, audio loss and Wi-Fi connectivity have led to a further loss of class time and quality. 
o   Many lectures are pre-recorded, and the sum of pre-recorded teaching is often less than our contact hours in previous years. Furthermore, even online seminars have had their time halved. 
o   The onus has been put on the students with more independent learning expected to make up for less teaching time, both live and pre-recorded. We feel this is not an acceptable substitute. An alternative perhaps, but not a like for like substitute. 
o   Studies, including those using brain imaging, show there is less brain synchronization and lower performance as you go from interpersonal interaction to watching something on video  (Jiang et al. 2012; Hirsch et al. 2017; Pérez, Carreiras, and Duñabeitia 2017; Pan et al. 2017) 
Objectives of a Mitigation Policy: 
Ensure grades awarded are not impacted by factors outside of students’ control. 
Ensure fidelity to the high standards of the universities. 
Ensure the response to each student is proportionate to the disadvantage under which they have been placed – the policy needs to allow for an individual’s circumstances and cannot be a generalised approach using previous cohorts as examples. 
* The above information is taken from the policy document which can be found on S4AM’s Facebook page @students4academicmitigation *
We recognise that degrees from your universities have a value you will not want to diminish. We also recognise that to instate a no detriment policy in any form may feel like an admission of failure on behalf of the universities and your staff. But this is not the case. Rather, it would be recognition that despite the massive efforts undertaken by the universities and their staff, your students will intrinsically not receive the same standard of teaching this year. We understand things are not the same, nor can they be until these new techniques have been tried and tested. But we are seeking assurance that you will not compromise our hard work and futures by failing to implement policies that will protect us while the academic world adjusts to this new way of life.
This petition aims to gather signatures of students across the UK who are also asking you to reconsider your policies, in addition to the 900 signatures already obtained at the University of Exeter where this letter began. We look forward to hearing from you with your considered response.
Yours Sincerely,
Students for Academic Mitigation, on behalf of university students around the UK

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Signatures: 24,024Next Goal: 25,000
Support now