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For anyone unfamiliar with it, Proctorio is a browser extension used to eliminate cheating through intense surveillance techniques. It records the computer screen while you take the exam to ensure you don’t look anything up. However, it’s more than that. (Thread 1/11)
It requires you to sit in a quiet place without anyone else in the room. Already this disproportionately affects students coming from disadvantaged economic backgrounds, since many have to use wifi in public or shared places in order to access their classes. (2/11)
Before taking a test, you must provide a photo ID, which it takes a picture of using your computer webcam. Then it takes a photo of the person taking the exam. The intention is to ensure someone else isn’t taking the exam in your stead. It flags if the photos do not match. (3/11)
This means anyone who does not look the same as their ID photo (because of weight changes, illness, transition, etc.) are flagged as potentially cheating! That’s pretty obviously problematic. After this, you can start the exam. (4/11)
As soon as the exam starts, you have to slowly move your camera/computer around so it is able to record that your workspace and nearby areas are completely free of any materials which could be used to cheat. This is also to ensure you are alone in the room. (5/11)
Again—if you share a dorm or a bedroom or have to take the exam in a public/shared space, not only is this going to flag as cheating, but it’s also recording everything that’s in your space. Roommate have some illicit paraphernalia? On camera. No regard for personal space. (6/11)
In some situations, students may not be comfortable with their teachers seeing their space. Artificial backgrounds can usually maintain privacy, but Proctorio requires an incredibly invasive look into your living situation. This can cause feelings of shame and discomfort. (7/11)
This ^ also disproportionately affects individuals who’re economically disadvantaged. Once you’ve shown the whole space, you’re able to take the exam. For the duration of the exam, the camera and microphone are on recording the test-taker. (8/11)
Not only are sounds picked up by the microphone flagged, but it also flags every time the test-taker looks away from the screen. In the least problematic cases it flags for looking away while thinking—in the worst, it flags folks with physical disabilities as cheating. (9/11)
The least of Proctorio’s problems is that it flags so many things as cheating that it ends up being a burden on instructors to go through and check each of the flags for *actual* signs of cheating. At that point, why have such invasive techniques for proctoring an exam? (10/11)
At its worst, it entirely undermines the learning environment many educators are attempting to cultivate—one where students feel safe, trusted, capable, & are treated as persons worthy of respect. Proctorio’s invasive & discriminatory design is antithetical to education. (11/11)
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