LSU Student Government is advocating for the ban of an online exam program called ProctorU as part of the “Fierce for Accountability” campaign. The campaign addresses the economic and mental health limitations associated with online proctoring systems.
Student Body President Stone Cox said the program can be “a harmful experience” for several reasons.
“First, there are the financial concerns,” Cox said. “If all exams are proctored by ProctorU, that’s an extra $300 expense that students will have to pay. That can be a very difficult thing for them to find, especially during COVID-19, the economic recession, and now two hurricanes that have gone through and ravished our state.”
Prior to the fall 2020 semester, University students objected to the $15-$30 exam access fee. After the COVID-19 pandemic, economic collapse and recent tragedies of Hurricane Marco and Laura last week, ProctorU has shown to be an extra financial burden to most students across campus. Elementary education sophomore Kamryn Stewart said she was concerned with the online program's cost.
“Most of us college students don’t have the funds to support a $15 fee for each exam," Stewart said. "Personally, I take seven classes so that price adds up.”
Along with the financial complications SG presented to higher administration, the campaign acknowledges the mental effects of online test-taking.
“ProctorU will have long wait times, you may not have control of your computer and you’re being proctored so it can be a very difficult process where students would focus more on the fact that they’re having to use ProctorU rather than the test itself.” Cox said.
Many students have shown to have already taken on the added weight of mental and academic limitations caused by ProctorU.
Stewart said the expense of ProctorU could negatively effect her future test results.
“Additional cost like ProctorU affects my academics because it distracts me from my studies and makes me worry about finances and affording the costs of these exams.” Stewart said.
Senior colleges such as College of Art & Design, Music & Design and Odgens Honors College agreed to avoid the ProctorU system and find alternative plans to maintain the University's academic integrity.
Cox said SG will work with college faculty members to find a compromise. One possible options is using a Moodle add-on to flag abnormally large click counts.
“If you’re clicking on a bunch of different things, it’ll flag you as someone who is potentially cheating and there will also be a recording option to address larger classes that Zoom can not accommodate," Cox said.
Though there are no alternatives set in stone, Cox said SG will continue to provide information to higher administration to ease online testing struggles.