Fate of UBC–Proctorio relationship up in the air for term 2

UBC’s contract with Proctorio ends in February 2021.

UBC’s contract with Proctorio ends in February 2021, and the AMS will urge the university to not renew the contract, said AMS VP Academic and University Affairs Georgia Yee.

The Proctorio saga has been long and dramatic — the most recent concern arising when Proctorio removed a term from its terms of service guidelines that stated that professors do not have the right to make the use of the proctoring service mandatory.

“You may not mandate Authorized End Users use the Application Service,” the original term read. It has since been replaced by “Proctorio is committed to the ethical use of our Application Service by the purchasing Institution and Authorized End Users.”

Proctorio explained the change in an emailed statement, writing that "Our partner institutions requested more governance over their administration of online proctoring tools.”

The proctoring service further said that it “regularly work[s] with institutions to ensure deployment of Proctorio meets their respective university policies, as well as [its] own ethical use standards."

But Yee said that UBC is under a separate contract with Proctorio, shown by a freedom of information request (FOI), meaning it does not have to follow these terms of service posted on the Proctorio website.

“The contract has been FOI'd, so we will have language regarding that in the future.” wrote Yee. “This does however, mean that UBC students should bring up this language if they oppose the usage of Proctorio and should utilize the Principles for Remote Invigilation if their instructor is utilizing invasive settings.”

She added that AMS stands with students if they choose to refrain from using Proctorio, writing that “it is unethical to force students to use an application that they are uncomfortable with.”

“It is incredibly coercive to force students to use this software under a false sense of ‘ethical usage,’ when the software itself has invasive capabilities built into it. Coerced consent from students is not consent at all, so it is unethical by nature,” she wrote.

UBC has continued to back its relationship with Proctorio, but Yee said at the October 28 AMS Council meeting that the university is exploring other remote-proctoring options.

A UBC-organized group of the university’s students and faculty released a set of principles for remote invigilation use, with the intention to support faculty in making “informed decision[s]” on how to ensure academic integrity in their courses, according to Simon Bates, associate provost, teaching and learning.

Bates added that the university is working closely with the Centre for Accessibility to accommodate student concerns about Proctorio.

“Faculty remain very concerned about academic integrity in their courses, and remote invigilation remains one option among many to act as a ‘speedbump’ to deter students from engaging in academically dishonest activities during exams,” he wrote.

The AMS intends to engage with all Associate Deans Academic, the Provost's office, the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, the University Counsel and the Senate to discuss an investigation regarding the termination of Proctorio, Yee said.

“UBC will be ending its contract [with Proctorio] in term two and we will be pushing for it not to be renewed through participation in various committees, and we encourage students to continue raising their voices about Proctorio.”