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Student reporter Isabelle Fisher gives her take on state of INST classes

Should students have pass/fail option?

Otterbein students are required to take seven integrative studies (INST) courses over four years and one first-year experience course. INST courses are not fun and seemingly require more work than major/minor classes.  

To some students, taking an astronomy class while you are going through school to be a journalist is not ideal. To other students, taking a Buddhism class while attending school to be a nurse can be an escape from their work-heavy major courses.  

Shouldn’t students be able to choose a pass/fail option for classes they're not interested in? 

In August 2020, Ohio State University allowed undergraduate students to opt in for pass/fail grading for general education and elective courses.  

Around the same time in 2020, the Otterbein Senate gave the ability for professors to decide if their students could have a pass/fail option for their fall courses. 

“I think INST classes are important to learn about when it comes to different cultures and beliefs,” Ben Larson, a junior at Otterbein said. “But I definitely put less focus into these classes because I don’t find them nearly as crucial.” 

Want to know what’s worse than being required to take an INST course? Never being able to register for the one INST course that is surprisingly engaging to you. 

“I had a hard time finding classes that did interest me,” freshman Cadence Doughman said. “The only class that I did want, was already full. So that was the most frustrating part.” 

The largest INST class only has 35 spots open to register. After the whole university registers for classes, the INST that seems most interesting to you is likely already full.  

Some INST courses are also classified as writing intensive, which adds on more work than normal. Spending multiple hours a week writing for an INST class is not a good feeling, or worth it. 

Every class in college can seem unmotivating or not interesting, but having to take eight required courses without a choice can be very bothersome to students. 

INST classes are not motivating and never will be. Providing a pass/fail option for INST classes will put less pressure on students throughout the semester and lead more students to focus on their major/minor coursework. 

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