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The University of Nottingham's online services: a disaster for students

The University of Nottingham's online services have caused problems for new and returning students alike as the Autumn term starts.

The University of Nottingham has failed its freshers with its poor online services. As new students embark upon their journey at university, they're quietly but none-the-less firmly hoping for a smooth Welcome Week. A week with: minimal hiccups, simple registration, easy access to timetabling, and masses of information on the doorstep. Unfortunately, the University of Nottingham has only ticked a couple of these boxes. The online services have proved poor, leaving new students feeling lost and confused before their course has even begun.

Pros and cons

The University Park Campus is truly impressive - with fantastic facilities available to students. A brand new sports village, a thriving student union with a mound of events on for new students, and a two day welcome fair that burst at the seams with societies for the freshers.

However, the organisation of the courses has not been impressive. In particular, online services for students. Module enrolments were inaccessible until the morning of the 27th September, after the system had been down all week. This was a mere three days before courses were due to start. There haven't been any emails from tutors, or anyone, about timetables. New students only found out about 'Moodle', the crucial online site which informs all students about modules, timings and essential readings, by word of mouth.

Talks with course directors, rather than being two hours filled with vital information about modules, core units, course tutors, were a timid Q and A; new students just had to hope they knew the right questions to ask, and then again, hope the course director knew the answer. Surprisingly enough, 'pop into student services and they should be able to help' was not deemed the most helpful! Especially when the student services department were unsure on their feet as well.

The current situation

Freshers' Week came to pass. Had timetables been issued? Did students know when they had lectures or seminars? If they had reading to do? Where they were supposed to be going? How to work the mystery that is 'Moodle'? Far from it. WhatsApp groups were rife with panic and worry as freshers felt very unsure about their plans for the coming weeks, with some having even gone so far to say they considered just going home as they felt 'too stupid'; if they couldn't even work out Moodle, what were they doing here? Why should they stay at a university that doesn't want them?

The next step

New students should feel more secure than this, and the University of Nottingham should know better by now. They are an old and ever-growing university. Returning students have warned the new that they experience timetabling issues every year, and this is something they 'just need to get used to'. This is a failure by the university to successfully implement online systems. It is not a failure by the students for not understanding. Shedding light on this situation is only the first step needed to improve the Welcome Week for future freshers.

If you are a struggling fresher in need of more assistance, the best point of contact is the Student Services. You can find all the contact details here. For your timetable and modules, Moodle is the best place to go. For some extra tips on how to feel at home at Nottingham during your first year, check out more from Uni News: