ECU students, faculty react to pass/fail announcement

ECU transitioned to online classes last Wednesday
Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 8:12 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - It’s quiet on ECU’s campus after a full week of all-online undergraduate classes. Now students and faculty are seeing even more shades of the past spring semester with a pass/fail grading option being implemented, this time, for nearly the entire semester.

Freshman Ben Byrum says he will be taking advantage of the option this fall.

“It’s already tough. I didn’t agree to take online classes. People just don’t learn that way. I know I don’t learn that way.”

That’s how many students who spoke to WITN feel about online classes – that they’re not the ideal learning environment.

“I’m stoked. It’s good for people who aren’t good at taking online classes,” said senior Manny Gonzalez. “I think it’s a good thing.”

However, many professors have worked tirelessly to make online classes as enriching as possible, and feel this decision simply wastes that effort.

“It’s just very frustrating as a faculty member to be working really hard on this content that students don’t even engage in at all,” said School of Communication professor Dr. Cindy Elmore. “It feels to me like we’re utterly devaluing the value of a higher education at this point.”

Looking back to spring, when the change was first implemented for the same reason, she’s not entirely optimistic about students’ attention to coursework.

“I would say more than half of my students were thoroughly and completely unengaged in classes.”

Elmore adds these decisions are rapid-fire and come with little communication from administrators.

“The changes have been constant, just constant at ECU. I mean we’ve done so much and then it was all out the window and we had to do so much all over again to [make] these classes virtual and it feels like it was mostly for nothing.”

The pass/fail option is currently only available to undergraduate students, and if selected by a student, the university would make a special note on each transcript that the decision was a result of COVID-19.

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