Regarding Proctortrack and online proctoring
October 19, 2020
Baruch was informed yesterday that “the University will not proceed with the implementation of ProctorTrack as previously announced” (see first highlighted section below). This directly affects the 40+ members of our faculty who had signed up last week for use of the ProctorTrack system in 70 sections with almost 3,000 students. I am sorry to say that the inconvenience of this change is so widely shared.
Please note that this does not mean that all online proctoring is banned. What is not allowed is requiring students to use systems that force them to use web cameras: therefore, using web cameras (including through Zoom) is allowed, so long as students are not required to do so and are given alternative accommodations if they choose to not use their web cameras.
Some Baruch colleagues have been using “lockdown” platforms that do not rely on webcams (such as Proctorio) associated with specific textbook publishers; they prevent students from using other software on their computer (e.g., Google, Chegg) during exams (or sending emails, etc.). This is allowed, so long as there is no cost to the students. Please note that these “lockdown” platforms are not perfect: they do not prevent students from using their browsers on other mobile devices.
What “alternative accommodations”—methods of assessing student progress and achievement other than via high stakes exams—are feasible? Are there ways to design exams themselves so that they minimize cheating, even when no proctoring is possible?
Baruch colleagues have provided many suggestions, especially those in the email of October 9. And contained therein is a link to the CTL’s Balancing Academic Integrity during Final Exams with Student Privacy, Access and Equity in Spring 2020. And finally (for now), in the second highlighted section below, EVC Cruz indicates that some additional suggestions from CUNY central will be forthcoming.
We are sorry for this unexpected and disappointing turn of events, but have faith that the energy and creativity that have allowed our faculty and students to overcome so much since mid-March will allow us to complete Fall 2020 successfully.
Dennis Slavin, PhD
Associate Provost and Assistant Vice President
Baruch College, CUNY
Begin forwarded message:
From: José Luis Cruz <JoseLuis.Cruz@cuny.edu>
Date: October 18, 2020 at 11:23:03 AM EDT
Subject: Update: Fall 2020 Online Proctoring Solutions
Dear Presidents and Provosts,
I hope all is well with you and yours. I write today to inform you that due to recent events, the University will not proceed with the implementation of ProctorTrack as previously announced in September 30th email thread below. We regret the inconvenience this latest turn of events may cause but are confident you and our esteemed campus communities will fully understand given the circumstances at hand.
In the next few days, I will be speaking individually and/or convening the provosts of the 6 campuses that to date had informed the Central Office of their interest in having proctoring licenses for a collective total of approximately 372 sections (out of more than approximately 43,000 sections systemwide) to discuss how best the central office can support their efforts. I will also schedule a short special meeting of the Academic Council this week on this topic, to ensure we have all the campus voices represented as we discuss the path forward.
Additionally, more information regarding alternative methods for the assessment of distance learning in Fall 2020 will be forthcoming as our colleagues in CIS will be looking forward to Spring 2021 possibilities. As we have stressed from day one, our University’s position is that alternative methods, including papers, presentations, annotations, e-portfolios, take-home exams, and (limited) in-person exams following campus reopening safety guidelines should be the preferred mode of learning assessment during these most extraordinary of times..
As always, in everything we do on this front, our objective will be to best balance the safety of our campus communities, the data privacy issues of our students, and the integrity of our academic programs.
Finally, I’d me remiss to not profusely thank all who worked so hard for so long on this project, Much appreciation and respect for the many colleagues from the Office of Academic Affairs, Computer Information Systems, Office of the General Counsel, Office of Procurement, and campus based colleagues including campus liaisons to this project, blackboard administrators, CIOs and the task force put in place to make recommendations for Fall 2020 and beyond.
All the best,