BY SARAH ARTURI
The move follows students' complaints about the intrusive nature of the program, which enabled exams to be recorded on students’ devices while being monitored by an online supervisor.
Examity was originally described on the university’s website as a potential means of administering semester one exams, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and current switch to online learning.
Monash University did not specify the reason for the change of heart.
However, a spokesperson said they are “continuously improv[ing] assessment technologies and associated student assessment environments” for the exam period.
“[Monash University is] actively developing approaches to address student concerns regarding the implementation of eExams, and are committed to ensuring a positive experience for all our students,” the spokesperson said.
A recently deleted video on the website included Monash University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor Kris Ryan explaining how the online exam software worked.
The spokesperson said the video was originally created for students who were based in China and “required remote invigilation for their deferred exams”.
Examity requires students to verify their identity to invigilators and display a 360 degree view of the room they are undertaking the exam in.
Invigilators are also able to interrupt exams if they have reason to believe students are cheating.
The Examity reference prompted much confusion and debate among students who will be participating in exams at the end of the semester.
Privacy issues and data security were major points of concern.
Third year undergraduate student Alex Bartaska is one of many students who will not sit his exams this semester face-to-face, but will complete them through a remote online platform.
Mr Bartaska said he is glad the university could potentially be reassessing the impact of using Examity given the possible breaches to students’ privacy and data.
“It is connected to another country where the rules on web security and data privacy are different to that of Australia’s,” Mr Bartaska said.
“A lot more people would be more comfortable if the web service was done by Australian invigilators under Australian legislation.”
To demonstrate Examity’s incursion on privacy, Mr Bartaska took to Monash Stalkerspace’s Facebook page and live-streamed himself studying for an hour and a half.
Throughout the duration of his video, he attracted up to 500 viewers.
Mr Bartaska said this was an attempt to emulate what it would be like to engage in a personal task - such as studying or completing an exam - with a stranger observing you online.
“I actually think I would be more comfortable doing it with the entirety of Stalkerspace watching me - because they are classmates - [rather] than a complete stranger in a call centre,” Mr Bartaska said.
"There is something a little different about having someone walking around a room and looking at you in person whilst you're doing an exam compared to someone accessing your personal device.”
Examity has been used to administer eExams at Monash University in previous years, but it has not been used on such a large scale.
A Reddit post highlighting the apparent intrusiveness of the program became a discussion forum for students, after Examity was listed as a potential solution on Monash University’s website.
Monash University graduate Kimberley Tam conducted her final two semesters online and said the software gave her “unnecessary stress” and was “distracting”.
“I think the most inconvenient bit was finding a room that fits all the requirements, and if you’re not doing something right, you won’t know until the exam is graded,” Ms Tam said.
“I was sharing a bedroom with a sibling so I had to let everyone in the house know that I needed the space,” she said.