To invigilate or not to invigilate, that was the question

By Michael Sankey

Despite the recent kerfuffle about on-line exams using invigilation software, it turns out only 51per per cent of Australasian public universities ended up using it

And when they did use an on-line invigilation tool they did try to minimise its use, in exams where it was seen as essential.

Mind you, almost half didn’t feel it was necessary at all. This makes one wonder, – if almost half universities in Australasia were confident enough not to run invigilated exams, are the 51 per cent just clinging on-to some of the hegemonic practices that we tend to hold so dear to in higher education.

As to the common cry, “we have to, for professional accreditation reasons,” I wonder how many of us actually tested this with those accrediting bodies. Clearly, some did and were given dispensation.

This data was revealed yesterday by the Australasian Council on Online, Distance and eLearning in a new white paper on a very recent ‘COVID-19 Exam Software Survey 2020’ across every public university in Australia and New Zealand.

All 47 institutions responded. The report is available here.

It also demonstrates that a number of institutions came up with a range of solutions, some of which were more creative than others in dealing with these important pieces of assessment.

By way of extension, if you need it:  As a  recent story shows, students are not huge fans of this form of invigilation. And clearly, they have major concerns around how and where their data is stored. A data hack of ProctorU was reported on August 5, which sent shock waves through the establishment and particularly the seven unis which recently used this tool.

Fortunately, as it appears, the data was quite a few years old and not necessarily current. Nevertheless, stories like this can only serve to fuel the fire of concerns around using such products. But this could be true of any systems we use, so we probably need just make sure we do our due diligence and potentially look on-shore rather than off sure for a potential solution. There are some out there.

Professor Michael Sankey

Director, Learning Transformations Griffith University, President of the Australasian Council on Open Distance and eLearning.