Western University to switch remote exam proctoring software, privacy concerns remain – About Your Online Magazine




a sign in front of a building: In an email sent to students, the university said it chose Proctorio to be its new enforcement system.


© Andrew Graham / Global News
In an email sent to the students, the university said it chose Proctorio to be its new enforcement system.

Western University in London, Ont., will switch to other remote examination supervision software over the summer.

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In an email sent to students on Friday, the university said it chose Proctorio to be its new enforcement system, as it leaves the current system, Proctortrack.

“Proctorio was chosen because it meets the privacy and security needs of our students, while meeting the technical requirements for integration with Western systems,” said the email.

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Western introduced remote monitoring when COVID-19 it began to impact on-site classes to avoid academic offenses, such as cheating on tests or exams.

Systems like Proctortrack prevent academic offenses by accessing the list of connected devices on the computer, desktop screen, web cameras and microphone.

This led students to raise privacy issues, but Proctortrack was still implemented and used throughout the 2020-2021 school year.

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One of the student organizations that expressed concern about privacy was Western’s Policy Pitch Association (PPA), which says that moving to Proctorio is not ideal.

“It is still invasive, so it is disheartening to see Western not trying to find something new, but instead moving to a new one,” said Jack Burke, co-chairman of the PPA.

Burke, who used Proctorio for his Law School Admission exam (LSAT), said it was sometimes uncomfortable to know that the system was watching.

“It monitors your entire room, it is recording your sound all the time and you have to move the camera to show the environment,” he explained.

“I was worried (that), ‘am I doing something that is disturbing (the system) that you might think I am cheating on?'”

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The school ensures that Proctorio cannot access personal files or system settings on users’ devices.

“Although he uses facial detection to detect whether the candidate is looking away, leaving the room or if other people are present, he does not use facial recognition or track eye movements,” read Western’s email.

Western says the transition to Proctorio will take place during the summer, so it is ready for use in the fall.

– With Andrew Graham files from the 980 CFPL

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