USC students decry the use of customized browser during exams

Published March 23, 2021, 10:40 AM

by Gabriela Baron

Students of the University of San Carlos (USC) decried the school’s policy that would require them to use a customized browser during online examinations.

In a statement, the Rise for Education Alliance-USC chapter said an application called Respondus or Lockdown Browser has been announced to be implemented during exams to prevent students from cheating.

Rise for Educations-USC added that students “were taken aback by the new feature” that was suddenly added without any prior notice or consultation.

It also noted that “not everyone has the means to purchase a laptop or borrow one” as most of their students are using phones and data to attend online classes.

“The sudden implementation of Respondus caused a shock to us all; we were not prepared for this. In any way, NO STUDENT ASKED FOR THIS. We understand that this is all in good faith, to avoid cheating and to uphold integrity. However, this might not have been the right way to relay to us. There are other alternatives that we can go for if you really do not want any possibility of cheating,” the statement, dated March 22, read.

“Using this spyware, some of us had already been infiltrated by the Trojan this application hides within, just like the experience of a Carolinian and other students across the Philippines,” it further read.

Rise for Education Alliance-USC said the application “invades students privacy, safe space, and confidential data.”

In an earlier statement, the students said the new software “raised socio-economic issues” as there are possibilities of gadgets crashing without the university wavering from being held liable, additional fees for the purchase and usage of software, and the need for students to buy a new device as the software is only exclusive to a few operating systems.

The students called on the professors to remove the browser application.

“We can think of other alternatives, we also do not tolerate acts of cheating, let us brainstorm together and meet halfway. Communicate with us.”

According to Respondus, Lockdown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within a learning management system. It is used at over 2,000 higher educational institutions.