The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will no longer use remote-proctoring software Proctorio after numerous complaints from students and faculty citing privacy and accessibility issues.
UIUC ADA Division Director Allison Kushner and Vice Provost Kevin Pitts told professors in an email that they must accommodate all students’ concerns if they continue with Proctorio after the summer 2021 term. But the school is also searching for other proctoring alternatives to replace the software.
When the pandemic forced classes to move online, Proctorio was prominently used to curb cheating during tests. It employs the student’s webcam to record them, and once the software notices something suspicious, it notifies the instructor who can then review the recording.
But the more this particular monitoring service is used, the more drawbacks are being revealed. Several students and faculty members of colleges and universities across the nation have exposed problems with using Proctorio.
Most complaints highlight security and privacy violations as professors are given access to recordings and students’ homes and browsing data. Other concerns revolve around accessibility since students don’t have equal access to webcams and internet connections. Also, there have been concerns about discrimination because of erroneous facial recognition algorithms that can’t normally detect dark-skinned students.
The introduction of Proctorio at UIUC has been met with controversy and student concerns have only grown as its use became more frequent. Around 1,000 people signed an online petition to demand the university discontinue the service.
US senators have also joined the cause. Senators Richard Blumenthal, Elizabeth Warren, and Cory Booker touched base with Proctorio last December and discussed their concerns regarding Proctorio’s trade practices.
The senators wrote, “Students have run head-on into the shortcomings of these technologies—shortcomings that fall heavily on vulnerable communities and perpetuate discriminatory biases.”