Last Monday, NUI Galway (NUIG) published spreadsheets that indicated the percentage of hours students could expect to spend on campus compared to online in the coming semester.
What erupted in the wake of the news was nothing short of a Twitter frenzy, as students that had been told they would only have a handful of hours on campus lashed out at the college for having previously told them to secure accommodation.
In recent months, students have been repeatedly assured that colleges were working to maximise the amount of in-person instruction that they would receive in the coming semester. Perhaps intended as words of reassurance, such faulty promises have only served to inflate expectations and leave students scrambling to sort accommodation that they may not need.
This week, a number of students at University College Dublin (UCD) shared in NUIG students’ frustration when they learned that their courses would be taught fully online, having been given, what University College Dublin Students’ Union President Conor Anderson described as, “over ambitious” estimations of how much time they would be spend in classrooms.
What has unfolded at UCD and NUIG this week spells a cautionary tale to Trinity, which is yet to inform students of how much in-person teaching they can expect this semester.
College’s decision to withhold timetables until September 14th has already proven frustrating for many students. Those planning to rent on-campus accommodation, for instance, may not receive their timetables before the first instalment of rent is due, forcing them to make a major financial decision without knowing its actual value.
Caught in the teeth of an unprecedented health crisis, it will hardly come as a surprise to Trinity’s students that College’s capacity for in-person teaching will be severely limited in the coming semester. But by delaying the announcement of timetables, having repeatedly promised “as much face-to-face teaching as possible”, College – alongside NUIG and UCD – has created a set of circumstances in which hopeful students may, ultimately, be left feeling deceived.