Why Don’t We Have Both?

CW: COVID-19, Ableism 

For most people, classes returning back to in-person was a huge relief. For me it meant a whole lot of stress. 

In 2022, I completed my first year of my law degree and the second year of my arts degree online. This was not my first choice and was definitely not how I had pictured doing uni, but with COVID-19 numbers still very high and my immune system being compromised, my doctors advised that it would not be safe for me to attend in-person classes. This was not a decision that was made lightly and I would have preferred to be at in-person classes, but when it’s a choice between a year of the less than ideal and long term health impacts, it’s not really a choice anymore. 

I was able to participate in leadership programmes and mock courts because student organisations made the effort to include me. They didn’t make me feel like it was an inconvenience, they just found ways to make it happen. This has not always been the case for my classes. I am still unsure why some lecturers feel it’s appropriate for the second sentence out of their mouths to be “thank you to those who cared enough about their studies to attend the class in-person” despite knowing that the seminar is being recorded. 

COVID-19 showed that online options are possible and that we now have the know-how and facilities to do them.  We have since seen online options scaled back and quietly removed altogether. This choice has been removed for students who need it the most. 

No one is disadvantaged by having hybrid learning options; it supports international students, disabled students, disabled staff, working students, students from regional/remote areas, carers and so many other groups. With institutions supposedly being committed to equity and inclusion having hybrid options presents a simple option to include and support a wider range of students.

Charlotte Sutton

The author Charlotte Sutton

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