UTS: move to a Pass/Fail grading system during COVID-19 pandemic

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There's no denying it: studying during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is hard.

Some of us are worrying about how we'll pay rent, others are high-risk and stressed about our own health or the health of those around us. Even the most stable of us may struggle with mental health issues during this prolonged period of reduced human contact.

Why should we have to be stressed about readings, too?

We're in completely uncharted territories in terms of online teaching, and despite our tutor's best efforts, relying on Zoom and Microsoft Teams as our main methods of learning unfairly disadvantages those who are not visual or auditory learners. Even for those of us who do typically learn in this way, the unreliable nature of Australia's NBN internet connection means that we must deal with buffering and audio issues, as well as other unavoidable technological faults, no matter where we are in the country. In addition to all this, our international students are relying on VPNs to get their work done.

How can we be expected to produce our best work in these circumstances?

It is for these reasons that we respectfully request that our university, the University of Technology Sydney, moves to a pass/fail grading system for the remainder of the Autumn session, and perhaps into the Spring session, if relevant. We'll be following in the footsteps of reputable universities like Harvard and Stanford, who have taken these steps to ensure that final results (and potential job prospects in the future), are one less thing students have to worry about in these tumultuous times.