The transition to an online class format in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has sent many students, professors and universities into a frenzy. During this confusing time, many students are calling upon their university to switch the grading option to a pass/fail format instead of the standard A through F format. Many students are calling for this option because we signed up and paid for in-person classes, not online.
I’ve heard many students voice their opinion about the online format saying that online classes are not that difficult and that students will be given flexibility and assistance when it comes to the online format. While I would like to believe this will work, what I urge these optimists to think about are the students that physically don’t have the resources to complete an online course. Some students select their classes based on the resources that their university offers to them through face to face classes.
Since the switch, some students lose these resources and because of this: is it fair to grade those classes the same way they would be graded if students had access to everything they were getting on campus?
There are students that don’t have access to Wi-Fi, laptops, printers and other technology. There are students, not unlike myself, who rely on the free tutoring that learning commons offers and fear that their GPA may be severely impacted without it. There are students with learning disabilities that have difficulty learning online or with physical disabilities that make it more difficult.
These changes could have a serious impact for many people. Some people are relying on these grades to get internships, get into graduate school, keep their scholarships and more.
Many universities have offered pass/fail as an option to help make up for this problem. As it currently stands at BGSU, students can decide to take classes pass/fail until the 12th week of classes; however, most major and minor classes do not allow any of their coursework to be taken as pass/fail.
As a solution, the university could offer this pass/fail option to students for all of their classes for this semester, including major and minor classes, to make up for any resources students may lack. If this was enacted, students would get credit for all of their classes this semester (as long as they pass) and be able to stay on track with their degree plans without negatively impacting their GPA.