Sauder walks back on a loophole it thought it found in the Proctorio ban

Some faculties believed they found a loophole in the remote invigilation software ban that let them still use Proctorio.

The Sauder School of Business initially told faculty that they could still use Proctorio if they disabled its video functions, but later retracted its announcement.

The March 17 decision banned remote invigilation tools which use automated recording and algorithmic analysis, except where required for accreditation purposes — leaving faculties searching for alternate methods for remote invigilation.

Students had voiced concerns about the software since the beginning of the pandemic. But some faculty senators opposed the ban, saying they would need more time and resources to rework exams.

Dr. Sue Forwell, a senator from the faculty of medicine, said that she was concerned about academic integrity and asked for the date to be postponed. Her amendment was voted down and the motion passed, effective immediately.

However, some faculties thought that they could continue using Proctorio if they turned off its video features. According to Dante Agosti-Moro, co-chair of the Student Senate Caucus, the faculty of commerce told faculty members that the software could be used this way to get around the Senate directive.

Agosti-Moro said that the caucus sent messages to the Senate secretariat, senior academic leadership and commerce leadership, disagreeing with Sauder’s call.

On March 28, Sauder walked back on its announcement in an email, clarifying that the use of Proctorio is not allowed unless for accreditation purposes.

“While I am sympathetic to faculty, I’ve said right from the beginning … that UBC should have no relationship with Proctorio whatsoever, for a multitude of reasons,” said Agosti-Moro.

“First and foremost being the racial implications it has in disproportionately affecting BIPOC students, and also the conduct of Proctorio itself and its business, which is clearly evident by the lawsuit that was filed against Ian Linkletter.”

VP Academic Andrew Szeri said in a statement after the Senate decision that UBC is providing resources to help with the transition.

“Support will be available for instructors through their Faculties, such as providing extra TA resources for alternative methods of invigilation and/or exploring alternate options for final course assessments,” Szeri wrote.

The Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology will also provide one-on-one consultation support for instructors who had previously been using Proctorio.

Regarding the alternatives to the software, Agosti-Moro said that a combination of Lockdown Browser and Zoom can recreate the same testing environment that Proctorio was designed for.

“While it might cause some challenges for faculty, those challenges can be overcome. And I think the university should do all that it can to support faculty, but the bottom line is that we shouldn’t use that as an excuse to continue to use Proctorio.”