The Australian National University (ANU) is facing a reaction from trainees over the proposed usage of a digital platform to invigilate tests remotely. The university just recently revealed plans to use the Proctorio platform to ensure the legitimacy of exams performed away from campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However the use of innovation to resolve COVID-19 related difficulties has been widespread. What’s different now?
What is Proctorio?
In essence, Proctorio is the digital equivalent of the invigilators walking up and down the aisles during trainee examinations. The software is already utilized by various institutions around the world, consisting of Harvard University and other US universities The University of Queensland has also announced plans to utilize a comparable platform, ProctorU.
To use the Proctorio software application, the trainee taking the exam needs to install it on their computer system and enable the program to access their cam and microphone.
The software application is a browser extension for Google Chrome. Together with video camera access, Proctorio needs authorization to:
- access websites content to allow the extension to function correctly
- catch the screen to assist in screen recording
- manage other extensions to monitor other tools being utilized in the web browser
- show alerts
- modify clipboard data to prevent copy-and-paste capability
- recognize storage devices to enables the extension to “see” system resources and
- change privacy settings to allow an external technical support function.
While the service provider offers reassurance in each category(and there’s no evidence any of it’s untrue), it’s understandable some trainees are intimidated by the level of approvals requested.
The 2nd part of the system remains in the cloud. Data collected on a user’s computer system is sent to the business’s servers to be analysed. This might consist of video and audio recordings, as well as images caught of a user’s screen.
In a statement to The Discussion, an ANU spokesperson said:
Facial detection (but not recognition)
Proctorio claims to utilize artificial intelligence and facial detection to identify the possibility a student is cheating. It is essential to distinguish facial detection from the more questionable technology of facial acknowledgment.
By observing a student throughout the test, Proctorio’s system might have the ability to spot if the trainee:
- is looking at a second screen or reading from another source
- is copying content
- is being prompted by another individual
- has actually been changed with another person.
Concerns have actually been raised that the system will monitor keystrokes (typing), potentially jeopardizing students’ personal info.
However an ANU spokeperson informed The Conversation that “Proctorio does not monitor what secrets are typed– just that keys have been typed”.
What are the problems being flagged?
Students might nevertheless feel Proctorio is “spying” on them. Any tool that overtly monitors a user’s behaviour, particularly when downloaded on a personal laptop computer, merits comprehensive evaluation.
- all data is secured in transit and storage, and is only readily available to designated ANU personnel. Proctorio has no access to the student information
- students may have to reveal their space to the cam (probably to validate they are alone)
- the system doesn’t tape keystrokes or mouse movements
- electronic camera, microphone and browser are used to monitor the user. Nevertheless, the file does make reference to a rather nondescript “other ways” of tracking.
In a YouTube video declaration, ANU’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Grady Venville assured trainees the university’s IT security group had undertaken a thorough evaluation of the software application, and were “very satisfied” it met ANU’s “extensive cybersecurity requirements”.
This is perhaps not entirely comforting, offered the university’s own cyber advisory identified its “recent security difficulties”.
Can ANU force students to use Proctorio?
ANU, like any university, is entitled to carry out assessment techniques it deems suitable. Offered the present scenario, discovering alternatives to conventional assessments is vital to abide by social-distancing steps.
The university is rather vague with concerns to the specific use of Proctorio. In its FAQ it mentions:
Course conveners will identify if your course requires using Proctorio for the evaluation for your course.
ANU has actually verified to The Conversation that trainees have the choice to delay the exam instead of utilizing the software.
Some students have actually asked to be alerted prior to May 8 (the deadline to withdraw from units) if they will be required to utilize Proctorio.
The legal situation is currently uncertain. While ANU may be allowed to force using Proctorio for tests carried out on university-owned devices, mandating its usage on privately owned devices is less specific.
If students do use Proctorio on their individual gadgets, they might desire peace of mind their device will be safe from surveillance when not being utilized for tests.
Likewise, while ANU offers the choice to defer exams, students may feel pressure to unwillingly utilize the system simply to avoid a postponed graduation.
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