I am currently in the early stages of research for a book project on the history and harms of the remote proctoring industry. My focus is on the North American higher education space. Below is a basic overview of my goals for the book:
This project will be an in-depth examination of remote proctoring in higher education and will include its origins, use in the distance education sector, and later mass implementation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The book will trace the evolution of remote proctoring technology beginning with a brief overview of in-person proctoring, critiques of the distance education sector for its perceived failure to verify the identities of online test takers, and the development of the first proctoring software in the late 2000s. This history will be followed by a comprehensive analysis of the concerns that have been raised by students and educators about the biases and harms to students that are associated with remote proctoring tools. These include invasion of privacy, the racial bias of AI and facial recognition tools, the frequency of “false positive” flags (detection of cheating when none has occurred), and the general normalization of surveillance in an educational setting.
I will present case studies of student experiences with proctoring tools that reveal the various biases that they introduce (including basic biases such as the requirements of a laptop computer and a quiet room and algorithmic biases that disadvantage disabled students and students of color). I will conclude with concrete recommendations for both educators and students to resist the use of these technologies, and lessen their harms in contexts where they lack the power to remove them entirely. The audience for this book would be educators, administrators, students, or any other groups that have a stake in protecting the educational community from the harms of remote proctoring. I hope this book would be part of any school’s decision making process about if and how to allow the use of remote proctoring, and would hopefully persuade them to consider alternatives.
Please contact me to discuss this project further, whether you are a student, educator, journalist, or someone else!