Webcam surveillance now school-based


Photo credit: Griffin Wooldridge

Some Chico State students may have already noticed a change when taking online tests and quizzes through Blackboard, the school’s online student portal. The web service, Proctorio, which is currently being tested but not fully implemented, is an online program that makes sure students are not cheating on their exams.

How does Proctorio work? According to the Proctorio webpage on the University’s website, “Proctorio is a remote proctoring service software that works within your web browser to monitor test takers for suspicious behaviors”.

While Chico State’s description is somewhat vague, a simple google search shows that Proctorio is more in-depth.

According to the University of Washington’s online description of the program, Proctorio has full access to a user’s webcam and microphone. This is so that it can monitor the user for any signs of suspicious behavior.

According to the Manager of Distributed Learning Technologies (TLP) at Chico State, David Rowe, “students have shared that the use of the tool can create a general invasive feeling caused by being monitored and recorded.”

Due to this, the university is working to standardize the privacy and security settings in order to make it a more universal experience.

Currently, Proctorio is available in courses only if an instructor requests it and completes a training course on how to use it. The instructor has control over how they wish to go about implementing the program, with tools available to them for customization options. Those currently using the program in their courses must have completed the training before last January, with future dates currently unavailable.

Depending on the way the instructor chooses to use the program, students may have to scan the room with their webcam, and can even be tracked by their eye movement to ensure no cheating occurs.

Currently, it appears as though Proctorio is here to stay, as more and more instructors opt to use the program. While the university did not comment on whether it will be fully implemented eventually, it seems that many students will run into it in the near future.

Jack Lewis can be reached at [email protected]