As the second full academic year plagued by COVID-19 comes closer to an end, those who are going to be graduating in May have reflected on how certain university requirements have changed as a result of the pandemic. One of the major changes has been to Lecture and Performance (L/P) credits, a graduation requirement where students must attend 20 events approved as L/P credits, which had to adjust to a primarily virtual format.
With the change to virtual events, the university has been holding fewer events than before the pandemic, giving students fewer opportunities to fulfill their L/P credits. A huge downside to this is that the amount of required credits to graduate has not changed to reflect this decrease. Students who began their degrees at the start of COVID-19 in an almost completely online format have been facing the brunt of this because there have been fewer events over the past two years. In addition to hosting fewer events, a majority of these are held virtually, with not as many opportunities to attend in-person events. While some of these are held in a webinar format, there are some requiring students to have their cameras on, making it feel as if they are being monitored during Zoom meetings they are required to attend. This format also contributes to Zoom fatigue from sitting in several online meetings. Overall, this mostly online set-up makes it difficult for students to remain attentive during these events because it is not as engaging as actually going and attending an event in person.
Another problem that has resulted from the pandemic is that the university does not promote L/P events as efficiently as it used to. When students receive emails advertising L/P events, it is typically only a few days in advance. Occasionally, some events aren’t advertised at all, except for posters seen around campus. This makes it difficult for students to plan L/P events into their schedules. And while there is an L/P calendar on my.uindy.edu, there is no way for students to register for events through that webpage. Additionally, some events are held in the morning or early afternoon when most students have classes, contributing to scheduling issues. Certain events, like the theatre performances, also take several hours out of students’ days only to fulfill a single L/P credit. This adds to difficulties meeting the 20 event requirement for graduation. Similarly, a decrease in the amount of events and overall scheduling conflicts makes it a hassle for commuter students. Some commuters do not live close enough to campus to warrant driving all the way back to attend in-person L/P events, and with the commuter lounge in Schwitzer Student Center being replaced by the new gym, there are few places on campus for these students to stay while waiting to go to events.
There is also a general lack of information about the L/P requirement. Freshmen are told very little about how L/P events work when they get here, putting them at a disadvantage from the beginning. Advisors don’t properly explain the purpose of this requirement or how registering for the half-credit class affects whether or not L/Ps are counted toward graduation. Students are also often not told how to check how many L/P credits they have fulfilled on my.uindy.edu. A lot of these credits also sit at a pending status for an extended period, leaving students anxious as to whether or not these credits will be counted.
The Reflector staff has determined that in light of these issues, the best course of action would be for the university to amend the guidelines surrounding L/P events. In regard to COVID-19 making it difficult to host and attend more events currently, the requirement should be changed from 20 to 10 to ensure that students feel they are able to fulfill their credit, and longer events should also be considered worth two credits instead of one to account for the time students have to spend attending, similar to the credit hour system used for classes. These events should also be held at times that, more often than not, do not heavily interfere with class times. Freshmen should be properly taught about how L/P requirements work and how heavily they can affect their ability to graduate. It should also be easier to check how many credits have been earned, potentially by creating a portal in the UIndy app for quick access. Both of these changes would make sure that students are fully aware of how L/P credits operate and whether or not they are meeting their requirements. Additionally, to avoid overall Zoom fatigue, L/P credits should be more balanced between online and in-person now that fewer classes are virtual. The events should cover more topics in order to hold the interest of all students and should be interactive when possible to ensure students pay attention and feel engaged when attending. These can help students to feel more attentive at these events, which creates more incentive for them to go and fulfill these credits. If L/P credits are vital for graduation, the university should ensure students can meet the requirement.