While sitting their exams, students were recorded by their webcams. To prevent cheating or other violations of the Teaching and Examination Regulations, these images were recorded and scanned for unusual behaviour by a software company.
To the toilet
According to Noordzij, those scans were very detailed: “For example, we’d receive a report to the effect that a student had stared at one particular spot on their screen for a particularly long time or had stared out of a window for three minutes. We don’t think those acts constitute violations, but that’s how detailed the scans were,” says a happy Noordzij. However, a few students did get up and go to the toilet, which is not allowed. “We haven’t yet decided what to make of that.”
Noordzij says that she didn’t receive any complaints from students about the way in which they had to sit their exams, but she did receive a few questions. “A few students had some difficulty logging in, but eventually everyone was able to sit the exams.”
Noordzij does wonder what the arrangement meant for students’ privacy, which will be further compromised now that the country has entered into a lockdown. Students who didn’t agree to being recorded were able to come to EUC’s building last week to sit their exams there. Some students did just that, but that will no longer be possible now that the country is in lockdown. “We are currently looking into exactly what the privacy guidelines involve. We want to get a very clear picture about who is allowed to view those images and how long they will be retained.”
However, Noordzij does think the software is a great tool for the future. “It’s a new beginning, which also means that we’ll have to draw up new rules – to safeguard privacy for example. But this arrangement is definitely worth repeating.”