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Coronavirus - CS112005
Case summary November 2020 | Not Justified
An international student complained to their provider because their course had been moved to online teaching following the closure of campus during the coronavirus lockdown. They asked for a discount or refund of their tuition fees.
An international student complained to their provider because their course had been moved to online teaching following the closure of the provider’s campus during the coronavirus lockdown that began in March 2020. They asked for a discount or refund of their tuition fees. The student said that online delivery was very different from face-to-face interaction with teachers and students, and the experience of campus life. The provider did not uphold the student’s complaint. It explained that the student’s course was being delivered as far as possible online, that adjustments that the provider had made to assessments meant that students were not academically disadvantaged, could meet their learning outcomes and progress with their studies. It said that although the student’s learning experience had been different from what they had expected, the changes had been necessary because of the pandemic.
The student complained to us. We decided that the complaint was Not Justified.
We looked at the following relevant factors:
- Whether the provider acted reasonably and treated the student fairly.
- What the provider did at the time to minimise disruption for students affected by the circumstances, to try to put things right.
- What the provider promised, and what the student could reasonably expect in terms of contact hours and other learning opportunities.
- What the provider did to ensure that students were not disadvantaged academically and could achieve their learning outcomes.
- What the provider delivered, and whether that matched what was promised and what students reasonably expected, and was broadly equivalent to its usual arrangements.
- Where there has been a shortfall of delivery, what were the consequences for the student, and whether the provider has considered those consequences.
The provider had needed to adapt teaching, learning and assessment as a result of the pandemic in order to comply with public health advice and protect the health and safety of students, staff and the general public. We decided that the provider had given students detailed information about the changes to their courses including how lectures, seminars and other teaching sessions would take place online. Teaching staff offered office hours that accommodated students in other time zones. Group work was facilitated online and, although some practical sessions had to be cancelled, the students affected were not disadvantaged academically.
The student had not complained that they had any difficulties accessing the online sessions or other learning materials, about how the teaching was being delivered online, or that any subject areas or topics had been missed out. Their complaint focused on the fact that they were unable to study on campus.
We decided that the provider had communicated clearly and in a timely way how it was continuing to deliver the course, including opportunities to interact with staff and other students and support services, although through different means than originally planned. We were satisfied that it had made reasonable efforts to ensure that students could achieve their expected learning outcomes and to continue to deliver learning in a way that was broadly equivalent to its usual arrangements.Previous Next