With schools online, software to catch students cheating is big business
Not only teaching. That's happening remotely for millions of students testing to and many colleges are using software to watch students take those tests, big providers, include respond, US, proctor, you and PROC. Some of them use webcams to track how? Students move their heads or is or touch the keyboard anything out of the ordinary flagged for teachers to review todd feathers recently co wrote a piece about a rebellion against this kind of surveillance for motherboard one concern false positives. Once you start the exam, they're all kinds of environmental factors that can lead to false positives. If you're a parent who has a child in the room, you're much more likely to be looking away from your screen or moving around than somebody who doesn't have A. Child in the room if you have adhd or some kind of anxiety disorder that's tied to taking tests, you're likely to exhibit behaviors that fall outside of the norm of other people in your class, and all of this can lead to being flagged as suspicious activity, and we have heard from students who have cried during tests because they're anxious about them. embiid flag alternatively I should say also heard stories from professors about students who go to all kinds of creative lanes to cheat from home. And have been caught as a result of using the cast off wear. So you talk to students who are really worried about privacy surveillance the potential for people to sort of fall outside the spectrum of what the Algorithm thinks is normal behavior. But not in fact, be cheating. You also spoke with a student of color who couldn't even take the test because the software didn't recognize his face. This is a problem that is not just related to this kind of software. A lot of these digital proctoring vendors don't create their own facial recognition technology. They are licensing it from other companies that specialize in s in facial recognition has been shown over and over again in different settings to not be good at recognizing people of Color, not be as good at recognizing women and to struggle to the point of absolute failure when it comes to people who don't identify one gender or another. What are the companies says about these criticisms I mean some students have protested the use of these the software campuses how have the company's reacted? Directed with a response that is pretty common across a lot of different technologies, applications of technologies, which is it. This software is a tool the company's give it to universities and two professors, and all they're doing is providing a quicker more efficient way for professors to identify possibly suspicious moments during an exam. There has been a lack of response directly to the criticisms about the invasion of privacy and about the way that it can negatively affect people who are underprivileged or from certain ethnic backgrounds. Right. Now, we're, of course in this moment where a lot more college students and students in Pre K. through twelve are at home taking online classes if and when we all get to get back together again, do you see these companies continuing to thrive and they're being an enough demand? A million dollar question I think that it's a pretty fair to say that once students are back in classrooms of all types this will not be quite as widely used as it is now but that being said, some of these companies are looking for other ways to expand. Their customers for example, Puck Toro has a recently announced a partnership with McGraw Hill, textbook maker to integrate its services into some of those online textbooks, and there are certain kinds of assessments, assessments for certain professional certifications such as nursing, which do require as part of state laws that the exams be proctored, and so if those aren't taking place in a physical room or even if they are, but there's the option to do it online. A space where tools like this are not only a possibility there arguably required by law.