I find it hard to believe any institution is shelling out money for these authoritarian proctoring services.
When University of Florida sophomore Cheyenne Keating felt a rush of nausea a few weeks ago during her at-home statistics exam, she looked into her webcam and asked the stranger on the other side: Is it okay to throw up at my desk?
He said yes. So halfway through the two-hour test, during which her every movement was scrutinized for cheating and no bathroom breaks were permitted, she vomited into a wicker basket, dabbed the mess with a blanket and got right back to work. The stranger saw everything. When the test was finished, he said she was free to log off. Only then could she clean herself up.
“Online proctor” services like these have already policed millions of American college exams, tapping into students’ cameras, microphones and computer screens when they take their tests at home. Now these companies are enjoying a rush of new business as the coronavirus pandemic closes thousands of American schools, and executives are racing to capture new clients during what some are calling a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
This is contrary to any good teaching practice. When your paranoia is so great that you no longer trust your students to learn, then you can’t teach effectively. What is wrong with the University of Florida, or anyone else who coughs up money to have strangers sit and stare at their students?
If my university required this kind of nonsense, I’d tell them to fuck off, no way am I subjecting students to this kind of humiliation. Fortunately, I think most of my colleagues would express the same sentiment.