Are the cameras in the M-building a good idea?

Soon students will be faced with the 22 cameras that were installed in the main exam hall in the M-building. Everybody will have to take exams this year, so there is no way to avoid these cameras. These students explain what they think about that.

Guy Jansbergen (22), Master Finance and Investments

“Students should have nothing to hide while taking an exam, so the cameras are a good idea. Some people think it is a violation of their privacy but you are in a public space with about a couple of hundred other students. In almost all public spaces in the country there are cameras. Plus when you are taking an exam, you are writing down information for your professor so that is also not private in any way either.

I actually believe that even if this whole implementation of cameras in the exam hall were a joke, it would still work preventative. It is all about the placebo-effect. Even when people only think they are being watched, they behave differently. In this case, they do not cheat.”

Kimberly Knol (22), third year Psychology

“Personally, I do not get what all the fuzz is about and I think that it should matter whether there are cameras or not. Of course, students will be more aware of their behavior during exams and probably will cheat less. But, as long as the recorded images are not permanently archived somewhere, or shown to the whole school than what is the big deal? It is merely a preventative method which will scare students that cheat often.

However, the cameras do give a feeling of ‘Big Brother is watching you.’ But in today’s society, ‘Big Brother’ is everywhere. So, I think that the will prevent cheating, especially in the beginning. I do wonder what will happen after everyone has taken a couple of exams and are used to the cameras. Perhaps, students will care less about being watched and take risks again.”

Eelco Habets (22), Master Accounting and Control

“To me, the amount of cameras that the university installed seems like a rather expensive way of fighting fraud during exams. I am not against the cameras, but I doubt if they will work the way the university intended. To a certain extent it might indeed prevent some students from cheating, but there are still ways around this system. If someone wants to cheat, I believe they will find a way.

Also, I have never really noticed anyone cheating during an exam. So to me, it does not seem like such a common habit of students. At my old university, Maastricht University, I knew quite a few students who cheated on a regular basis during exams and there it was an obvious problem. There cameras might indeed have been necessary, but I am not so sure if they are as relevant here.”

Murad Safari (17), first year International Bachelor Economics and Business Economics

“It is important that students enter an exam on the same level. Therefore, I think the camera’s in the exam hall is a very good idea. Everybody should obey rules in the same way and students who want to cheat should thus, be punished. Everybody should be able to have access to the same reading material, lectures and knowledge from professors and in this way, get an even chance at an exam.

In Canada, I have studied a year of mathematics and we also had camera’s everywhere, including exam rooms. As far as I know, in Canada those cameras had a really preventative effect regarding fraud on students. Cheating students were very rare. But, just putting up cameras is not enough. I believe that the mentality that cheating is even an option should be changed. So, the problem is bigger than simply students cheating. The problem is that they have the mentality that cheating is even an option.” NvB