The school year is well underway and we are starting to arrive at the point in the year where everyone is taking their first round of exams. Since a lot of classes are being given remotely this year, I noticed the amount of tests I have to take with a webcam is at an all-time high.
Webcam testing is a terrible idea for many reasons, and it does nothing but create more stress for the student. Taking tests with a webcam shows the teachers have little to no trust in their students to take the test on their own, and it is also a huge invasion of privacy.
I have never been a good test-taker. That’s not to say I am a bad student, I just don’t do well in a test-taking environment. Time limits are stressful, and a teacher watching your every move does not help either. With COVID forcing all my classes online, I have to take a test with a teacher watching my every move through a camera. One of my biggest fears is I look off-screen to collect my thoughts, and the teacher watching my test back thinks I am looking at notes. There is a whole new level of stress added because along with stressing about the testing material, you have to stress about every move you make.
Another thing not sitting right with me is the fact the professors do not trust us to take the tests without a webcam. We are well past high school, and I think we have all proven we are here to take our tests with integrity. I think it goes to show how much certain professors trust us, which is little to none. We are all adults, and there has to be a level of trust between the professors and students. I should not have to give a professor a virtual room tour, while also questioning my every move. Making us take webcam tests is something I would do in high school, and when I came to UNT, I thought I was getting away from that. Apparently, I was very wrong.
Most importantly, Webcams can be a huge invasion of privacy. I should not have to show you my entire room just to take a test. I also should not have to tell everyone I live with to shut up and not make any noise whatsoever, just to take a test. I think it is so unfair to add a whole new layer of stress to testing, just because we can’t be trusted. I understand students are going to be dishonest and not take the tests fairly, which will be evident when they are struggling with other assignments like essays and discussion posts. I look at webcam testing as a punishment, and I feel there are many people who feel the same way. I don’t want to pick a quiet room and make sure there are absolutely zero interruptions. I don’t want to have to stress about making sure everything is off my desk and having to show the entirety of my room, just so my professor can trust me one percent more than they did before.
If nothing else, webcam testing has never sat right with me. I think it is a huge way to show your students how little you trust them. It is a huge way to add stress to an already stressful process. There are so many alternatives, whether it be trusting your students to be adults because we are all in college, or literally anything else. I have no problem with the lockdown browser, and it has its benefits, but adding the webcam is a complete invasion of privacy and it creates nothing beneficial for the academic aspect of college
Featured Illustration by Jaya Swetha
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