At the height of COVID-19, many universities and colleges began to integrate tools such as Proctorio and Honorlock in an attempt to curtail academic misconduct—particularly cheating during tests or exams. Student advocates raised numerous concerns about invasion of privacy, discriminatory bias against disadvantaged students, and more. Although many schools have returned to (mostly) in-person learning, some universities and colleges are planning to continue using this invasive software.
University of Wisconsin Renews Contract with Honorlock
At the end of October, The Badger Herald reported on an all-too-common story: students were unhappy and decrying the school’s decision to continue using Honorlock. Students argued that Honorlock doesn't deter cheating, but rather encourages students to more creatively find ways to cheat. Additionally, Honorlock—like other online cheating software—is frequently inaccurate. Students receive false reports when they glance away from their monitor, or the software picks up a conversation from a roommate or a floormate in the hall. In order to use the software, students have to purchase a webcam, which can be an expensive and unattainable extra piece of technology.
In fact, the University of Wisconsin has seen an increase in reported cases of academic misconduct since they began using Honorlock (317 for 2019-2020 and 608 for 2020—2021). This might track with the concerns about efficacy and accuracy. UW's spokesperson, Meredith McGlone told The Badger Herald, “As the university has moved to a majority in-person learning environment…instructors have begun using Honorlock in person, allowing students to take exams on their computers instead of on a scantron or bluebook, which may be easier for some students and instructors.”
This approach requires students have a computer, and although many might, the reality is that not all students have access to a personal computer, but may use a friend's laptop, a tablet, or library devices in order to complete their typed assignments.
What's at Risk? Don't Get Caught Unawares
Although you may not be concerned about access to a laptop, or the extra expense of a webcam, you shouldn't complacently accept the continuation of proctoring software. With their inaccuracies and invasions of privacy, these software programs can negatively impact your college career. An accusation of academic misconduct—whether cheating, plagiarizing, or anything else—is very serious and not something to ignore or allow to linger. The repercussions can extend to suspension, expulsion, and follow you on your permanent academic record, depending on their severity.
Call an Experienced Academic Misconduct Attorney-Advisor
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm believe that all students have the right to due process and to protect everything that they've invested into their academic career. Accusations of cheating can follow you beyond your undergraduate program, and so it's important that you take them seriously. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888.535.3686 or reach out to us online in order to see how we may be able to assist.