University will stop using controversial remote-testing software following student outcry
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign announced that it will discontinue its use of remote-proctoring software Proctorio after its summer 2021 term. The decision follows almost a year of outcry over the service, both on UIUC’s campus and around the US, citing concerns with privacy, discrimination, and accessibility.
Proctorio is one of the most prominent software platforms that colleges and universities use to watch for cheating on remote tests. It uses what its website describes as “machine learning and advanced facial detection technologies” to record students through their webcams while they work on their exams and monitor the position of their heads. The software flags “suspicious signs” to professors, who can review its recordings. The platform also enables professors to track the websites students visit during their exams, and bar them from functions like copy / pasting and printing.
Though Proctorio and similar services have been around for years, their use exploded in early 2020 when COVID-19 drove schools around the US to move a bulk of their instruction online. So, too, has scrutiny towards their practices. Students and instructors at universities around the country have spoken out against the widespread use of the software, claiming that it causes unnecessary anxiety, violates privacy, and has the potential to discriminate against marginalized students.
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