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Teachers should be more lenient with assignments and grading

Students have less time to focus on school in light of current events, even if they’re at home more.
Photo: Taelar Pollmann · The Sentry

students are stressed more now than ever

When CU Denver decided in March to move all classes online, the transition was not as smooth as some teachers might believe. There’s this sentiment held by some teachers, that because classes are now online and students are at home all the time, they should have plenty of time to complete the work they are given. Not only that, but some teachers are giving students more work because they think that they have more time on their hands to complete it. But this is not necessarily true.

Not every student is able to stay at home all day with nothing to do but to do schoolwork. Many students work essential jobs that do not give them time to work on those extra assignments. If anything, they are more stressed to work on any of their assignments seeing as they have to risk their lives every day to go to work.

Now, this is not the case for everyone, as a large number of students are able to stay home. But this does not mean they are any less burdened by this situation. Some of these students may have lost their jobs and are worried about how they can pay their bills. There may even be students with kids in school, and because schools are closed, they are now having to take care of them at home more so than before. The stress of being quarantined alone has made it difficult for many students to complete their work simply because they are afraid of what is to come.

Another thing to consider is the different learning formats and how jarring this change can be. Many students have never taken an online class before. Sure, they’re familiar with Canvas, but they may not have used the site for their entire learning experience before. Online classes are structured in such a way where students can make their own schedule. Students who are not used to this structure could easily slack off due to whatever circumstances they are under. There may be some students who will take advantage of this new learning format and slack off. But that’s no reason to punish the rest of the class by giving them more schoolwork than they can handle.

There’s a reason why CU Denver modified its grading policy. They understand that many students do not have the resources right now to do well in school. They’ve even decided to keep this policy through the summer semester. Should they continue upholding this policy through the fall semester? If things are still the way they are right now, then they should. If the stress students are facing now is sustained through the fall, then their needs must be considered and accommodated accordingly.

Teachers should take these things into consideration before they think of giving their students more work to do; that’s not saying they should just give every student in their class an A for doing no work. But they should take the time to assess how their students are doing, how they are feeling, and whether or not they feel they can complete their current workload given the circumstances. It would truly make a difference for students’ learning experiences during these unprecedented times.

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