There is a new proctoring “tool” being implemented in distance education. It is an invasion of privacy.
It is Big Brother disguised as a teacher’s aid. It is modern technology invading the learning process.
What is it you ask? It is Proctorio. If you are enrolled in an online course, your teacher could require you to get a Chrome browser extension to use during a test or quiz. The features of Proctorio include tracking your eye movement, shutting down your access to tabs and disabling your use of a printer. There is one more feature which is the most invasive of all: it records you.
Insert haunting music.
This presents a problem if I am at my house, the place where I shower, sleep and eat. I should not have to feel on edge about my every move being watched just to complete a test or quiz.
I know what you’re going to say. How about I just shut my computer down when I am done with the assignment? But, I ask you, can you really shut your computer down? How do we know this third-party application really knows its boundaries? Are we sure the recording just never stops?
Not only that, but if you already have test anxiety, how does being recorded impact you? How much does that anxiety increase if one wrong move can get you flagged? That makes it even harder to get a good grade.
Alejandro Buenrostro, a student at LPC, is required to use Proctorio and said that he felt frozen while using it. One of many reasons he felt this way was because you can see yourself being recorded at the bottom of the screen.
It seems that students are being forced to sacrifice thier privacy for the sake of an education.
Using Proctorio is at the discretion of the instructor. If you don’t feel comfortable with this “service” but you need the class, there is a chance you won’t have to use it. The instructor could provide alternative ways to take the exam, such as taking it in front of the instructor — which would defeat the purpose of taking an online class.
Las Positas College, per the mission statement, is an institution centered on “support for completion of students’ transfer.” This program, for some students, could work against their ability to transfer.
The Distance Education (DE) Committee implemented Proctorio without listening to student feedback, which is beyond ridiculous. Preventing cheating is understandable, but when it is this invasive and directly impacts students, students should at least have a voice at the table.
As a student representative on the Academic Senate, I know they didn’t consider a student’s point of view. The DE Committee reported they aren’t quite sure of the outcome it will have on DE enrollment. One of the representitves stated that she did not know that much about the system. This seems senseless, wouldn’t you say? Implemting something you don’t know that much about.
Thankfully, student government did its job. Nine members, including myself, voiced our disgust with this “service” to Academic Senate. Then, and only then, did the DE Committee finally take into consideration a student’s perspective. Even then, they did not take the feedback that much into account when implementing Proctorio.
At the meeting on Jan. 23, the DE Committee representatives stated that they did not have any more student feedback after the student government input. Of course they didn’t. Few students even know about this. And how many students would it take for the DE Committee to cancel the implementation of Proctorio?
Administrators have already shown the voice of the students is inferior to theirs. Remember when smoke from Camp and Woolsey fires had the campus under a dark cloud? A petition signed by more than a thousand students requested that the school be closed. Their response, in essence: The voices of the students don’t matter. The school remained open for two more days.
Now, some of the school’s faculty are joining the administrators in regard to student voices being drowned out by members of the school who think their voice is more important than ours.