swinburne eases semester 1 impact on studies: students can include or exclude grades from final GPA

Jun 2, 2020

Author: Tina Tsironis

Photo courtesy of the Swinburne Student Union.

Students at Swinburne may request to exclude individual Semester 1 results from their overall GPAs, the Swinburne Student Union has announced. 

While the university has yet to officially communicate the new policy to students, Swinburne Student Union President Param Mahal today told the SWINE that students can request to exclude final marks for individual units after receiving their Semester 1 results. Mahal said that after weeks of lobbying by the SSU during an “extremely difficult semester”, the change will ensure that students “are not disadvantaged when competing with students from other universities for jobs or graduate scholarships.”

“The impact of this year may very well shape students’ career and life prospects,” Mahal said. “The SSU have a duty to protect the time and energy they are investing at Swinburne and this change does just that.” 

For Science and Secondary Education student Braden Grady, the SSU’s announcement comes as a welcome relief. 

“The opt-in/opt-out GPA policy has provided me with the opportunity to decide the impact that the coronavirus has on my education,” Grady said.

“As a science student, I have had no choice but to sacrifice my labs to protect the safety of the public, which is entirely understandable. However, not having a high level of interaction has affected my understanding of very complex concepts which would have been more easily grasped in person.”  

While Grady’s learning has been impacted due to COVID-19, he said that ironically, this semester has been his highest performing semester yet.

“I suspect this is due to the reduced travel time – 1.5 hours on a good day – and reduced social interaction, so this does not affect me directly,” Grady said. “However, I understand that the lack of contact has negatively affected many students and so I see the gold in this opportunity.”

Journalism student Alex Docherty sees the announcement differently. 

“If you ask me, I don’t feel it changes much,” Docherty said. “It can certainly give you some leeway and I’ve certainly relaxed my studies a bit over the past couple of weeks. But I still feel like I want the best grade possible.” 

But for Maisie Stokes, a first-year Bachelor of Nursing student, the policy allows her to regain a sense of control amid a period of instability. 

“I have been having a rough time with online learning at Swinburne, as I’m more of a hands-on learner, so this period of study has been my biggest academic challenge yet,” Stokes said.

“I am also prone to getting overwhelmed and having breakdowns so I think Swinburne creating this new policy is fantastic, especially for those of us struggling with mental health and academia. This new policy makes me feel more positive and in control of my learning, and I think it would be amazing if Swinburne kept this in place after things go back to normal. I know it would greatly impact people’s choices and how they study for the better.”