On the evening of Friday, April 3rd, all AAU students and faculty received an email containing AAU Student Council’s official proposal of certain adjustments that AAU could make to help its students through the crisis times of quarantine.
The proposal was created by SC members in cooperation with the brand new Student Virtual Task Force — a group of student volunteers tasked with investigating and solving the issues of online learning at AAU. The document aims to inform the university about the common concerns expressed by students and to offer solutions.
One of the main issues outlined in the proposal is communication between AAU professors and their students. The sudden and unexpected shift to online learning has been a big adjustment for both the faculty and the student body. Running between Microsoft Teams, AAU NEO, Gmail, and social media, no one was quite sure how to contact their teachers and classmates; not to mention finding information about assignments and lessons. The proposal underlined the importance of selecting one communication method for each class to avoid further confusion. The workloads were also discussed extensively, as they were the reason for a big portion of student concerns. It is hardly coincidental the student outrage increased the night before Midterm Exam Week.
An important argument from the student body was that our grades received during these hard times aren’t solely reflective of our efforts and academic abilities, but our individual situations, locations, living conditions, emotional states, and multiple other factors. The SC states that, in one way or another, this needs to be acknowledged and addressed, This can be handled by altering the grading system and additionally, providing specialized psychological counseling.
Finally, the SC and the Virtual Task Force decided to team up to work directly with students who are experiencing difficulties in specific courses. A Course Crisis Alert Form was created to give students an opportunity to communicate the troubles they are having with workloads, professors, assignments, or any specifics of their courses. The form is fully anonymous and promises immediate action if 30% of a class report the same issue.
SC’s proposal has already yielded results. The newly implemented pass/fail system is expected to relieve some of the pressure: it is an acknowledgment of the struggle AAU students may experience in their current conditions of learning and life in general. All students will be able to switch from letter grades to pass/fail for up to 5 classes, with the deadline of April 24th. It is up to each individual student to decide whether to take this measure and in which courses, as it will affect our GPAs; however, those who feel their performance in certain classes isn’t proportional to their full abilities, due to the current crisis, will be able to assure that does not affect their academic future. The Crisis Alert Forms, as well, just started getting reviewed by internally elected SC and Virtual Task Force members who are prepared to hear every student out and offer personalized help!
Please see the full SC proposal below and make sure to check your AAU email regularly for updates and changes to come!
If you are experiencing difficulties in your courses, don’t hesitate to ask for help!
You can find the Crisis Alert Form on the SC social media and on your email or contact the SC personally via firstname.lastname@example.org and the Task Force at email@example.com for virtual learning-specific questions and concerns. We’re all in this together!
Cover image belongs to Anglo-American University.