Over the last few weeks, particularly, there has been quite the fracas about how uni’s are scrambling to get exams on-line quickly, with various proctoring solutions being hastily looked at.

One US based company I am aware of is getting over 100 queries a day from potential new customers. The problem is, most of these solutions incorporate the use of things like having a webcam linked to your computer (generally not a tablet), stable internet connections (increasingly problematic) and the ability to do this in isolation.

Of course, the problem is, there is no such thing as a one size fits all solution, but one thing we can’t allow is for the technology cart to be put in front of the pedagogical horse.

Although we know proctoring solutions do work; many unis have been trialling these over recent years but generally these have not been run-out at scale (with the exception of UNE). In addition, the students with whom these tools have been used have been well informed that this is what they signing-up for.

However, the issue we face at the moment is, we are pretty sure not all our on-campus student even have a computer with a webcam or a stable internet connection (just watch the 7 o’clock news). In addition, on-campus students didn’t sign-up for this gig, not that we did, but for some reason we seem to be charging headlong into technical solutions that are potentially going to make things worse not better.

We are getting reports that students across the country are already pretty stressed out by all this stuff, now on-top of this we are asking them to participate in a largely foreign form of assessment (an on-line proctored exam).

Sure, we have issues of professional accreditation at stake, but that is not the majority of cases. So, we can realistically look to provide alternative assessment opportunities for our students. And yes, it will take a bit more work for our staff, but our students are the ones we need to be really concerned about here.

To help, this guide from the CRADLE group at Deakin might be a good starting point for you:

Professor Michael Sankey. Learning Futures, Griffith University


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