Friday, March 19, 2021

UBC-V boots Proctorio off of Campus.

I have never used these kinds of invigilation software for any of my classes. They violate civil liberties. They invade personal privacy way more than is acceptable.

I can also appreciate the problems for instructors who have been assured by the entire management system at UBC that these systems are okay to use, until they're not okay. There is no real support for the few faculty using these systems to make a change that won't cost them large investments of time that they likely don't have. It is unreasonable to say to them -'too bad, should've known better.' [I essentially heard people say words to the effect during the debate in senate]. But UBC should never have been using this system in the first place. There is no way that the university should be enabling such a massive violation of civil liberties with this kind of surveillance.

Cheating is embedded in the culture of capitalism, but most people follow the normative rules and punishing the majority for the willful violation of a minority does not strike me as warranted.

I am fortunate to be able to teach in a discipline where I can create examinations that do not require tight controls or lock down. My approach is that the exam questions should be evident from the course outline and lecture/seminar discussions. I have found over the years that even when I permit fully open book exams and provide students with questions in advance, the resultant output still conforms with the faculty of arts grading guidelines.

No one likes an exam (well, almost no one), not those taking it, not those writing it, not those marking it. I am not sure exams are even a necessary evil. However, as long as we run industrial scale courses scaled up to the hundreds or thousands of students exams will be a necessity. What we really need to see happen is a banning of giant courses. If we had student enrolments at a human scale we would be able to assess and evaluate knowledge acquisition directly. We would have no need of testing students over and over again. But I can dream and run my classes as humanely as I can manage given the constraints under which I work.

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