This statement has become the subject of a lively Twitter debate. Students feel disappointed. In their perception, they are forced to choose between an invasion of their privacy or a six-month delay in their studies. In the meantime, presenter Tim Hofman has called on them to keep ‘being difficult’ about this issue.
Two universities of applied sciences have publicly distanced themselves from this controversial method. Instead, they have committed to alternative assessment formats like open-book exams, project assignments and essays.
Avans University of Applied Sciences announced its decision via a video message. The clip shows the Chairman of Avans’s Executive Board Paul Rüpp at work with a tape measure in an empty classroom. There aren’t too many options to seat the examinees 1.5 metres from each other, concludes Rüpp. That’s why most Avans students will have to sit their exams online for the remainder of the year.
But they won’t be using online proctoring, stresses Rüpp. “It isn’t really our style here at Avans. Nor would we want to use it. It poses too many privacy issues, as well as various technical complications. And more generally, relations at our university of applied sciences are based on trust.”
University of Applied Sciences Leiden has also decided to stay clear of online proctoring during examinations until further notice. “Our fundamental point of departure is that we trust our students,” writes the Executive Board on the institution’s website. “Where we can’t make any other arrangements, we will be postponing exams. Because the quality of our assessment processes should never be compromised.”
And now, we have to wait and see whether other institutions will be following suit. Ron Bormans, the Chair of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, seems to be on the fence. In a video interview with the university magazine Profielen, Bormans remarked that he “would rather schedule fewer than more of these examinations”.
“I’m starting to have reservations about this approach,” said Bormans. “The privacy considerations are more acute and the issues less easily resolved than we would like.”
So far, none of the research universities have ruled out using the contentious method. “In principle, universities are quite cautious when it comes to online proctoring,” says Bart Pierik, spokesperson of the university association VSNU. “Each time round, they will work to determine whether assessments can’t take some other form.”
Tilburg University did announce yesterday via its website that it would only be using online proctoring “for a limited number of examinations”, reports Univers. Students who don’t feel comfortable with the method have recourse to an opt-out scheme.