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Petition asks MSU to consider credit-no credit format for spring 2020 courses

March 16, 2020
A Michigan State University sign on Beal Street on Aug. 23, 2019.
A Michigan State University sign on Beal Street on Aug. 23, 2019.

Editor's note: On March 26, MSU announced it would offer a satisfactory/not satisfactory grading option to students. Read more about it here.

An online petition is asking for all Michigan State University spring 2020 semester courses to be evaluated on a credit-no credit format in the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 11, the university suspended all face-to-face class instruction for the semester and announced it would move courses to virtual formats in preparation for an outbreak of COVID-19 in Michigan.

The petition raises concerns about how some students could experience problems accessing online classes during this time, which could negatively impact semester grades. It suggests moving away from a traditional, GPA-style format.

"I propose that all classes are evaluated as credit/no credit so none of the adverse effects of this major event will affect our collective GPAs," wrote business senior Will Bulkowski, who started the petition.

Some students may lack accessibility to the required tools to conduct their learning online, which could cause their grades to fall, Bulkowski wrote. The petition also notes online instruction may present difficulties for some students who learn more efficiently from in-person teaching.

"It is not equitable to change the way we have to learn and expect the outcome to be the same as it would have been given normal circumstances," Bulkowski wrote. "This learning difference could cause, again, the GPA of some students to lower."

It also calls for allowing regular GPAs to be distributed to students who still want them to appear on their transcripts.

The petition had garnered more than 3,700 signatures as of March 16 at 10:00 a.m.

On March 14, President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. sent an update to the campus community and said final exams will also be administered online. Spring 2020 commencements are also postponed until further notice. More information on the university's response to COVID-19 can be found here.

The state had 53 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of 12:10 p.m. on March 16. That number is expected to grow.

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