VSU: Give your students a pass/fail option

VSU: Give your students a pass/fail option

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Jake Davis started this petition to Valdosta State University and

To be frank, the student body at Valdosta State needs a pass/fail option for classes. We are aware of the fact that VSU is trying to add support options such as Academic Coaches, but the truth is, they are simply not enough. Many students do not have the tools needed to succeed in online classes.

To start with, many students at Valdosta State do not merely have the means to take online classes. Because VSU is a school located in the south, many students live in rural areas. This means that internet speeds or connections are more likely to be worse in these areas because the internet is often underdeveloped in rural areas. Because the internet could be underdeveloped, many students will struggle to keep in the video chat or other programs needed for online classes such as Zoom, Collaborate Ultra, Microsoft Teams, or other programs that may require a stable internet connection. Additionally, some students may lack the technology to succeed in online classes or the funds in general to buy technology needed for online courses.

Secondly, online classes often do not just mix well with student's prior obligations. Online courses often require more course work than in-face courses. Some professors at VSU have already begun assigning more work than was initially planned in the in-person class. Some students have obligations such as taking care of sick, elderly, or disabled family members. These students designed their courses around these prior commitments, and the additional course work will not allow them to take care of them as they should. Furthermore, because of the average age of college students, many of them work at restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, or delivery services and are currently being classified as essential workers. Essential workers are being called into work more frequently now because of the chaos in grocery stores and deliveries. The fact that they are far busier at work means that they do not have the time for online classes like they should. The online courses do not just mix well with student schedules if they did not pick online courses.

Thirdly, with no disrespect meant to professors, some of them just cannot figure out how to work the programs needed for online classes properly. The programs required for online courses tend to have a steep learning curve, and professors who do not usually have an online course will struggle with them. For example, a professor in a class I had a lesson in Collaborate Ultra, and there were multiple technical issues such as the professor having their mic off for the whole lesson and students not being able to find the correct chat room. Students and professors both are impacted by suddenly having to figure out online classes, and it could negatively impact the student's GPA.

Lastly, many classes just do not mesh well with the online format. Some majors need hands-on work to succeed. Majors such as Dance or Kinesiology just do not translate well into online classes. While CORE classes such as English or history will most likely be fine, majors that need a more hands-on approach will have a more difficult time in online classes.

These are the reasons that many other students at VSU, and I believe there should be an option of pass/fail. VSU so far has done a great job trying to support its students in this challenging time by offering support in different methods, but the harsh truth is online classes just will not work for many students.

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