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Second year psychology students are suffering the consequences of overcrowding in lectures, and are facing higher academic expectations because the University’s Admissions Department has taken in more students than in previous years.
The large intake of students has resulted in lectures being split in two and placed at different ends of campus. This has caused issues with relation to technical problems and students going to different lectures to those stated on their timetables.
The Psychology Department has also had to raise the grade requirements for entry to Honours from a B3 to a B2. Psychology students have expressed that they are feeling more stressed because of this issue.
In a class representative meeting with Lorna Morrow, course tutor for Level Two Psychology, Morrow explained how the circumstances came to be and why the Psychology Department’s hands were tied. Although many of the students directed their anger at the department for the problems in lectures and changes in requirements, Morrow explained how the Admissions Department for the University had simply let too many people onto the course and expected the Psychology Department to “deal with it”.
One affected lecture was held in the Adam Smith building, with the lecturer there in person, and the overflow group watching the lecture via video link in another building, which would alternate depending on the day of the week. There were often many problems with the video link, which would cause students to miss out on up to twenty minutes of a lecture. Not only this, but some students would go to a different lecture to which they were assigned, which meant some students did not have seats and had to make their notes sitting on the stairs at the side of the lecture theatre.
Nasreen Moya, a second year psychology student commented: “It was quite inconvenient to have to be in the overflow lecture theatre, the equipment didn’t always work, especially the audio. This made going to lectures seem really pointless.”
For students from outside of the United Kingdom, the problems in lectures have been especially disappointing. Lovisa Backman, a psychology and sociology Joint Honours student from Brussels, Belgium, told us her thoughts on the matter:
“I think it’s really unfortunate that students who come from overseas are put under both financial and existential pressures when they haven’t been properly informed from the start and don’t get what they expect when they pay so much and go through so much hassle to get here.”
However some students have found the increased grade requirements a more problematic issue then the way the lectures are being held. With the grade requirements rising, the pressure that some psychology students put on themselves, and on others through social media (for example, on the Psychology Level Two Facebook page), has been found to provoke anger and upset. One psychology student, Georgia Dyer, has given us a quote explaining this:
“The requirements being put up from there being too many students allowed to take the course, has caused such angst and anger amongst students, which is reflected in the Level 2 Facebook page. Posts are either gloating with confidence making others feel even more psyched out (excuse the pun), or filled with panic and worry.”
Another psychology student, Laura-May Morris, conveyed her trepidations about the grade requirements becoming stricter:
“The fact some people have been looking into how to start a UCAS application to transfer universities says it all really. No one should have to think they won’t be able to continue with university simply because they don’t believe they can possibly fight against other people for a place. I don’t want to see people I know, or even myself, have to leave because Glasgow has let too many people onto a course. It’s not fair.”
There appears to be a common consensus on the matter, as another psychology student who wished to be anonymous, concurs:
“It’s sad that some students will be forced to leave the course they applied to do, having already paid a small fortune, simply because the initial intake of students was too high. The initial application process should reflect the demandingness of the course.”
A spokesman for the university said: “Calculating the number of places that we can offer on courses at the University is a complex process and, in an attempt to make sure that our students are able to enjoy the greatest flexibility possible in their studies, we do have to vary the number of students admitted to each subject year on year.
“This year a number of students on the Psychology Level 2 course were affected by technical difficulties involving a video-link broadcast to an overflow room. Once notified of the problem extra support was immediately put in place measures to rectify the issue. In the longer term a room large enough to accommodate all students was secured, so no overflow is now required.”
They added: “The University is fully committed to providing a world class student experience, and as part of this we are investing heavily in our estate and our infrastructure. We have ambitious plans for the Gilmorehill campus, which include the redevelopment of the current Western Infirmary site.
“More immediately, we are working towards a new learning and teaching hub which will be sited on what is currently the Boyd Orr car park. This will allow us to provide substantial additional lecture, tutorial and student space in a flexible way that will suit the changing nature of learning and teaching.”