Landing : Athabascau University

Online proctoring raises privacy concerns « Spartan Daily Spartan Daily

Interesting commentary on privacy concerns using ProctorU, a third-party monitoring service for online exam taking. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand it is indeed highly invasive and suggests some notable privacy concerns, but is not too far removed from what we already do for face-to-face exams. The biggest problem for me is the notion that an exam itself is a solution to the accreditation problem, not that there is yet another sophisticated and somewhat dubious weapon in an unwinnable arms race. In all its summative guises, the exam is a technology that is well past its sell-by date. We need better, more authentic, less-invasive, less expensive, less easily corruptable methods of accreditation. 


  • While I don't disagree with your main point Jon, that we need accreditation processes that are not anywhere near as dependent on final exams as they are today, I think the criticisms of the off site monitoring are over blown.  We should be giving students choice and access as meets their unique needs.

    Nobody enjoys writing a high stakes test, driving or bussing to some particular location, nor being herded into a testing room, nor being invigilated, watched and treated as if they were cheating. Yet this is the procedure that 1000's of DE students endure - why because it makes sense for them - given other alternatives.

    Now if we allowed at home invigilation that too creates some inconveniences and the relinquishing of control over your machine, but for some students, this is welcome relieve from the F2F alternative.  If it proves more cost effective and increases access for some, why wouldn't we be interested in providing this service?

    Terry Anderson April 11, 2014 - 8:14am

  • Indeed - I do have mixed feelings about it. Face to face invigilation is one of the many reasons exams are inherently a bad idea - they are incredibly expensive, given that they not only fail to contribute to learning but, in most cases, make a negative contribution to the learning process.  While online invigilation may be a little less stressful for some students than face to face, it has to be done in a way that does not induce more fear. Standards for online privacy must necessarily be higher than those for face-to-face privacy because so much more invasion is possible, so much more of the process is hidden, and data collected are so much more persistent. At the very least, it must be made very clear to all concerned what is being collected and why, which may not have been the case here.

    Jon Dron April 12, 2014 - 3:27am

These comments are moderated. Your comment will not be visible unless accepted by the content owner.

Only simple HTML formatting is allowed and any hyperlinks will be stripped away. If you need to include a URL then please simply type it so that users can copy and paste it if needed.