Cheating on exams is the biggest academic integrity concern for online classes. Schools and universities have invested in all sorts of security measures, from ineffective lockdown browsers to webcam monitoring that students call “an invasion of privacy.”
Requiring a lockdown browser and webcam surveillance isn’t just overkill for academic integrity, it’s invasive and discriminatory toward low-income students. That’s because those security measures often run into compatibility issues with older computers and Chromebooks, the most common budget laptop.
Automated surveillance also reinforces stigma that make students apprehensive about participating in online education. Don’t have the luxury of a quiet room to attend online classes? Does being home mean you’re responsible for taking care of family members coming in and out of your camera shot? Automated systems will flag those circumstances as suspicious, spiking anxiety in an already anxious time. Faculty can override them, but that still means applying extra scrutiny to students who have done nothing to warrant it.
I don’t require webcam surveillance on account of the compatibility issues and – let’s be honest – the creepiness of the whole thing. Nor do I require a lockdown browser when most students have an unlocked smartphone sitting right next to them.
The solution doesn’t have to be a surveillance state. Teachers have plenty of less intrusive options when it comes to exam settings, and the style of the assessment itself.Continue reading “Online exam cheating? Don’t spy on your students; make better tests”