proctoring thuistentamen – Pauline Wiersema

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Hundreds of EUR students protest two-camera set-up in online exams

Both the University Council and 786 individual EUR students have raised serious concerns…

Preventing students from cheating by requiring them to use a two-camera set-up in online exams is a measure that is causing many students anxiety. Therefore, almost 800 hundred students joined forces and signed a critical letter to EUR’s Executive Board last Monday. The twelve student representatives on the University Council, too, asked the Executive Board in an open letter to reconsider the proposed measure.

The University Council will discuss the controversial measure with the Executive Board on Tuesday. “This is a step in the wrong direction,” said student and UC member Van Dam. “We want to know how often online proctoring is being used in remote exams, and we propose that departments try to come up with alternative solutions more often. The stress and privacy violation inherent in a second camera must outweigh the importance of valid exams.”

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Board wants fewer proctored exams, as well

Due to the potential for technical problems and the anxiety experienced by students, the Executive Board, too, would like to see fewer online proctored exams. “We agree that it’s not a perfect solution,” the Chairman of the Board, Ed Brinksma, admitted in EM TV. He, too, recognised the problems inherent in a two-camera set-up. “I understand the objections. It’s all very ‘Big Brother is watching you’.”

Nevertheless, Brinksma stated that it is not always possible to switch to an alternative examination method, such as an open-book examination or an examination in the form of an essay. And because it has been demonstrated lately that the current proctoring method can be fooled quite easily using a basic hack, a two-camera set-up will remain necessary. “We have to safeguard the quality of our exams and degree certificates.”

Critical letter signed by 786 students

Last week, econometrics student Robbert Rog, in association with University Council member Younes Assou, embarked on an action against the two-camera set-up. They wrote a critical letter to the Executive Board, which was signed by 786 EUR students.

In addition to the violation of their privacy, students are mainly concerned about the technical problems they may experience. “The method should be a fail-safe, but in actual fact, many students consider it another potential problem to worry about,” Rog stated.

At present, Erasmus University is the only university in the Netherlands using a two-camera set-up. Rog is rather struck by that fact. “So I’m wondering: are degree certificates issued by other universities not valid, then? Because they seem to think a one-camera set-up is good enough for effective online proctoring.”

Rog hopes that the discussion between the University Council and the Executive Board on Tuesday will be productive. “The university’s slogan is: ‘Make minds matter’. In this case, I hope that ‘Student opinions matter’, because the university should not ignore the University Council and all the students who signed the letter.”

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