Never before was I so panicked during an exam as during my first encounter with the phenomenon of remote proctoring, monitoring exams from afar.
Being able to see the panic in my own eyes in the small mirror in the top right of my screen, where a young man was obviously struggling, wasn’t much help either.
Now that there are three hours of footage of me stored on a computer somewhere, is there anyone that is actually going to watch these images? As a time-lapse? Or maybe even the whole thing, with a bucket of popcorn? Or will there be some form of sampling? I assume that they will, at least, assess the room scan. I must admit, I really did my best to show the examination committee every corner of my room, including the image in the mirror to prove there were no notes posted there. At that exact moment, I even waved at the camera in the mirror, as if the lens wasn’t going to be pointed at me for the next three hours.
I re-read the privacy statement: all the recordings will be watched by a ‘person of flesh and blood’, who works for the company that organises the proctoring. If any irregularities are discovered, the images are sent to a WUR team and possibly to the course examiner. The latter may then decide whether the exam committee should be notified. Furthermore, random footage will be scrutinised by the WUR team.
In the privacy statement, the university assured us that nothing would be done with the information on objects that are inadvertently filmed during the exam. So, I need not worry about getting targeted advertisements on Facebook, attempting to coax me into buying a rug that matches my furniture.
May I suggest one exception to this privacy rule? Because, just imagine that right now, entire teams in the proctoring business are looking at our footage. About 13000 exams, with tens of thousands of hours of film, of nothing but student rooms. Not the best holiday job, having to watch all that footage. So I have a tip for the poor wretches to make it a little more fun: Count the number of Ikea bookcases in Wageningen. I, for one, have two to start you off.
Geert van Zandbrink studies Economics and Governance.