Students call for a return to in-person graduations
Remote learning has dramatically decreased the quality of the college experience.
Students are calling for colleges to return to in-person graduations after ceremonies moved online due to the Covid pandemic.
The demands come as a survey of 50,000 students found that online classes and remote learning has had a massive negative impact on students' college experience.
The research shows a significant decline in the amount of students who had quality interactions with lecturers and staff in the 2020/2021 academic year. The ability to discuss coursework or collaborate with fellow students was also drastically affected.
37% of first-year students reported having excellent, or almost excellent, interactions with academic staff in 2021 - a significant decrease from the average of roughly 64% before the pandemic.
Only a small minority of first-year students (26%) prepared for exams by discussing material with other students regularly, a figure which was also dramatically down from the national average over the past few years.
The results also show that fewer social opportunities were available to students, and overall engagement was down.
Following the obvious negative impact remote learning has had on students throughout the country, there are now calls for colleges to resume in-person graduations.
Project manager of StudentSurvey.ie, Dr Siobhán Nic Fhlannchadha, said that everyone has suffered due to the pandemic and students are no exception.
She added that students in Ireland have shown “tremendous resilience” and that they have recognised the efforts being made by their college to support them in these unforeseen circumstances.
Clare Austick, President of The Union of Students in Ireland said students deserve to be recognised for their hard work over the past year at an in-person graduation ceremony and that colleges are hoping to resume graduations as normal soon.
"Colleges are planning to tailor for in-person lectures and experiences and, certainly, graduations can be accommodated for again," she told Newstalk.
"Some colleges have postponed their graduations and are having them in-person, whereas others have delivered them online."