The University of Auckland has contacted students for trials of Inspera, a software set up to monitor digital assessments, as it remains forced to plan for an extended lockdown scenario.
A small group of students were contacted by an official university email address administered by Academic Services asking for participants in this remote trial.
Inspera advertises itself as providing “increased security for your high-stakes assessments”, through features including webcam and microphone recording.
Furthermore, the software will lock the student’s browser down for the period of the assessment. The assessor can also review recordings in case suspicious behaviour has been flagged.
Currently, the university’s planning accounts for Auckland being in Alert Level 1 when the second half of semester commences, which allows for exams to be conducted in person. However, it would be logical to believe the university would look to Inspera, or similar tools, were there to be any further changes in alert level necessitating remote learning.
“We will provide as much advanced notice as possible of any required changes to current plans so that staff and students can make their own plans with confidence,” Vice-Chancellor Dawn Freshwater told university staff via email last week, regarding Alert Level changes.
Earlier in the year, privacy concerns were raised as a similar software, Examsoft, was introduced at Otago University to conduct examinations, although it also introduced a grade steep boost similar to Auckland University.
According to Otago Daily Times (ODT), “hundreds of students signed a petition about privacy and other concerns,” while others also expressed “misgivings about what they see as the intrusion of ExamSoft software.”
As of writing, the University of Auckland has said they have no plans to adopt Inspera, or any other digital assessment solution for tests or exams. However, it has also abstained from announcing the 24-hour grace period that was implemented for assessments in Semester 1.
Craccum was unable to reach the university for further comment.