If you think you have passed your exam with a good grade, two months later you receive an email from the university stating that the exam is invalid after all, because online supervision failed. It now happens to dozens of law students from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. As a result, at least fifteen students have even had their diplomas withdrawn.
The students made their exams online in July, because of the corona measures. To prevent cheating, the university watches students via their webcam, microphone and sometimes web browser. This can be done with the help of proctoring software.
At the Erasmus University School of Law, something went wrong with the webcam images, as a result of which the university is unable to check whether the students have cheated or not. There are almost a hundred examinations involved. As a result, these examinations have been declared invalid because the university has to guarantee the quality of study performance, as it claims.
Dozens of victims
Students were only informed about this in an e-mail last week, i.e. two months after their exam. According to the university, the monitoring of the images took so long because the software company could not deliver the suspicious images earlier.
University councillors Philip van Moll and Younes Assou say that dozens of frightened students reported to them. Van Moll: “It could be an internet connection, but also the software itself. Students indicate that they cannot see errors at ProctorExam themselves, because the light of the webcam is still on and the internet connection does not give any problems. Thats the distressing thing: students then think that things are going well, but thats not the case”
Involved students say to CCeit op 3 that they are under a lot of stress. Students do not want to be mentioned by name in this article because they are afraid that this could have consequences for their relationship with the university.
They dont think its fair that they by definition have to bear the consequences of what they call technical problems. And they point out that in other examinations, too, there was no verification of identity or forbidden sources, while those examinations were approved.
The Board of Examiners of the School of Law emphasises that there are many reasons for invalidating the examinations. “The inability to assess the legal validity of the examination does not have to be due to a malfunction, which was also regularly caused by students not logging in properly, or incorrect actions by students and by laptops, cameras or wifi connections that functioned inadequately”
Some students hired a lawyer. One of them says: “The technical problems are being passed on to us. We have already adapted to take exams online. It is assumed that we have committed fraud. We feel powerless.”
And: “We now have an app group of dozens of students so that we can respond to the exam committee. They are now acting as if we have committed some sort of fraud. That is insulting.”
The software company involved, ProctorExam, doesnt want to respond and refers to the university. What exactly happened and whether it was technical problems or the connection is not clear, that needs to be investigated further.
Around this time, students all have an individual conversation with the university about the consequences of this for their studies. They would like the university to think along with them about another solution, for example an open-book exam as a second chance.
The Examination Board emphasises that the declaration of invalidity does not have to have consequences for the study career of the students involved, because there are already coulancing rules for students by corona. Erasmus School of Law has also offered additional resits for a number of subjects. But these are also via online proctoring, the students say, and they would rather see things differently.
CCeit op 3 previously revealed the working methods and risks of online proctoring: