School of Management suspends all IPT for a week amid student anger

The School of Management has suspended all of its IPT (in-person teaching) this week, following student demands that the Department redesigns its teaching provision.

Until now, sessions have been entirely virtual and led by PhD students, with undergraduates joining video calls individually from campus. Content has included training on how to take a Zoom call and use the Careers Service. 

In a department-wide email last Friday (18th October), senior lecturer Dr. Tim Wakeley announced that “in response to your requests”, all in-person provision would be suspended “to facilitate a change in our approach”.  

Contrary to the University’s official communications, the School claimed, “Many of you have interpreted IPT to mean in person teaching… It does not, it means in person time.” This re-definition has enraged numerous students, with one Management student telling Bath Time, “This is clearly untrue. The University has communicated for months that IPT refers to in-person teaching. I understand it’s a huge challenge for the University, but my IPT so far has consisted of Zoom calls which have nothing to do with the course content. It makes me question the value of money we’re getting, as well as whether it’s worth taking the health risks of travelling to campus each week.” 

The communication also noted that it is “disappointing” that “many of you see little value in developing extra soft or digital skills”, despite this approach being based on feedback from previous student cohorts and employers. Nonetheless, when IPT returns in week five, the School will seek to replace this soft-skills training “with as much credit-bearing content as feasible”, in line with student feedback.  

Welcoming this acknowledgement of students’ dissatisfaction, second year Accounting and Finance student Sam told Bath Time he remains hopeful that these changes “will make IPT sessions more engaging and useful”. 

The School of Management is not the first University department to receive complaints regarding in-person teaching provisions this semester, with students from numerous others expressing their frustration at having to travel to campus for more teaching delivered online or activities not relevant to their academic development. 

Annie Willingham, Education Officer, said: “We have been working with student panels over the summer to shape how blended learning is delivered, until it is practised issues aren’t always identified. Student feedback is key, and we hope that the School of Management will engage with students to understand their concerns and provide content that is meaningful. All students deserve to have a high quality experience and the limited time they have on campus should be meaningful. We are empowering reps to ensure they have the data to work with departments and make change where IPT isn’t working effectively. We are aware that on some courses there are students who are content with their IPT sessions and others who are dissatisfied with the IPT they are receiving. At the moment we are working to support reps and gain a picture across the University of student experience to know what we need to be lobbying the university on for the coming months.”

Professor Steve Brammer, Dean of the School of Management, said:

“We realise that not all the 4 hour, in-person sessions that we’ve delivered so far in the School have been as successful as we had hoped. That is precisely why we are taking swift action, on the basis of student feedback, to relaunch the sessions and to ensure they are as effective as possible. We will continue to engage with, and listen to, our students in the months to come.”

“Our full timetable of learning activities means that each student typically receives 4 hours a week of in-person learning. These four hours can be used for small group tutorials and seminars, skills development, peer-to-peer learning and group discussions. These sessions are in addition to live, online interactive learning and independent study. This is consistent with the approach across the University.

“We are committed to providing the best possible education throughout this academic year, in a Covid-secure way. We are grateful for the feedback from our students so far, and we’re working hard to listen to our students and make continuous improvements.” Comment added 17:45 on Wednesday 21st October 2020.

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