DUSA’s fight to support Deakin University students: How are students responding to this?

Written by Chantelle Fowler

Many university students across Australia are battling the adjustment from face-to-face learning to online classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deakin University’s Student Association (DUSA) has taken a stand in assisting students during this difficult time by providing recommendations for the Academic Board. These recommendations include using letter grades without numerical marks, and that results from this trimester should not be used to calculate Weighted Average Mark (WAM).

While DUSA strives to support Deakin students, some students are appalled by the recommendations the association has made.

Students are concerned that their efforts in studying during this time will go unnoticed if the Academic Board agrees to some of these recommendations.

Students have posted their concern on DUSA’s Facebook page.

‘I am just not sure what this change to the WAM and the ‘no number result’ is supposed to achieve. It basically just takes away from those who have managed to get high results in an extremely difficult time,’ commented one student in response to the recommendation of changing numerical marks to letter grades for this trimester.

Another student expressed concern about putting in work for the remainder of the trimester, commenting, ‘I mean, is there any point in trying if it’s just a P or F.’

Deakin University is expected to announce its decisions regarding the new proposals today.

Other Victorian universities, such as Monash University and University of Melbourne, informed students of changes to the grading scheme for this semester earlier in the week.

Monash University’s new procedures to combat the COVID-19 changes include not including any fail scores for this semester in a student’s WAM score.

Deakin University has worked with DUSA to support students by extending important deadlines for withdrawing from units, as well as providing special consideration for students who may not be able to complete their assessments on time, and offering financial aid to those financially impacted by the pandemic.

Deakin University’s Dean of Students, Professor Lisa Hanna, offered support in a message to students.

‘We remain a thriving and resilient University community. We’re here for you, and we’re confident that a Deakin education will continue to transform all our students’ lives for the better,’ said Professor Hanna.

DUSA has provided the following response to WORDLY:

Students across the country are struggling and DUSA’s primary concern is the welfare of
all Deakin students, whilst DUSA acknowledged that this system may disadvantage the lucky few, the
vast majority of students will benefit from these changes. Our survey and the massive uptake in
financial assistance shows that Deakin students are hurting, and the new system intends to ensure
that those students who are unable to study and work at their usual level are not disadvantaged in
the long term.

DUSA will continue to challenge Deakin to provide a system that improves the academic outlook of
all students, not just those who are disadvantaged by COVID-19. The new system is NOT a pass/fail
system, students will still receive a letter grade which will appear on their transcript and will reflect
the quality of their work during this time. Furthermore, a Deakin student’s WAM has never appeared
on their academic transcripts.

Deakin, in consultation with DUSA, is in the process of creating procedures for those who require a
WAM for course transfers or applications and both parties are committed to ensuring no student is
left behind.

DUSA will always continue to fight for all students, and we continue to support those most in need.

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