Online-only degrees program in Durham University rescinded

Plans to provide online-only degrees program at Durham University have been scrapped. This is after petitions and opposition from staff, Senate and students calling for the abandonment of the program became louder.

Durham University has canceled its plans to introduce an online-only degree program. This is after facing criticism from the senate, students and university staff who were opposed to such a move.

Online-only degrees program cancellation

The decision was taken on Wednesday before the proposal moved to the Senate for voting. The resolution, if voted in, would have seen the university develop online degree courses to “complement its existing high quality residential educational program”.

The proposal had also suggested reducing the person to person modules in the university by a quarter. This suggestion was heavily criticized by the Department of English for being short-sighted and no economic viability in the university. A private firm hired by the school had also suggested that teachers would only need 6 hours to learn about the usage of technology required for online courses.

The opposition of the program

In a submission sent to the Senate, the Department of English also criticized this move and highlighting how unrealistic the suggestion was. The submission continued by highlighting the complexity of learning such technology. The issue of staffing and technical support required to run online-only degrees was not yet available and would also take more than 6 hours suggested by the private company hired to run the program at the university.

The submission also pointed out about conflict of interest between the private company and Chancellor. They highlighted the company was owned by BridgePoint Capital, whose Chief Investment Officer was an acquaintance and a donor to the chancellor.

Prospective students and students in the university had already started signing petitions to stop the move of having online-only degrees in the university. In total, 500 academic employees and a thousand students signed the petitions calling for the abandonment of the plans.


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