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Browser invades privacy

There are many things that can inhibit someone from going to the bathroom. One of the latest such reasons at FGCU is a browser.

Respondus Lockdown Browser is a fancy name for the newest tool used by some professors who attempt to catch cheaters. It can be described as a custom browser that locks the screen of a computer or tablet when students are taking a test or quiz online. RLB only works within certain programs —unfortunately, Canvas is one of them. The browser not only locks down the screen, but turns on the camera and microphone and serves as a monitor as students take the test.

As an international student, my deepest, darkest fear is getting deported from the United States. I worked really hard to get here, so I never jeopardize the opportunity I got to come to FGCU for anything. This means that whenever I can avoid doing something stupid, I always choose to avoid it. For instance, one of the stupidest things someone can do is cheat on a test or quiz in college. The point is that I am always that person who decides to study or wing the test instead of cheating.

As a non-cheater, it bothers me greatly that I have to be forced to use the RLB in one of my courses this semester. What if I have to go pee in the middle of taking an evaluation? What if someone rings my doorbell and I have to go see who it is? If I was a professor, it would seem very suspicious if someone stood up and left the computer for a couple of minutes while taking an exam. But, anyway, how can that professor even prove I’m guilty if he suspects something?

A lot of questions that no one can really answer come to mind. For instance, will faculty even watch the tapes of their pupils sitting down and staring at a monitor? Will they really watch the entire 30 or 60 minutes, or whatever amount of time is given to students to take the test? I like to think scholars who dedicate their lives to academia don’t have that extended magnitude of free time in their hands. My best guess is they won’t.

With the RLB, students cannot print, copy, go to another URL or view other areas of the online course. Every program in the computer is locked when the RLB is enabled. The browser works with MAC and Windows, and since that’s what most students use, they are forced to download and install the program.

According to the most recent numbers available, there are 14,673 students enrolled at FGCU, and not all of them are enrolled in on-campus classes. Many students who work full-time, or have to move away for a while, take advantage of the fact that they can take online classes. But, what if their computer doesn’t have a camera or their microphone doesn’t work? The alternative FGCU offers is for them to use the computers on campus. However, that seems to defeat the purpose of taking online classes at all.

Briana Gayle, sophomore forensic studies and criminal justice major, has never been required to use the RLB.

“I’ve never had to use it for a class,” Gayle said, “but I think it’s stupid for on-campus classes. It does make sense, however, to have it for an online class.”

The real question: Is the browser obstructing or just delaying?

Bottom line is there are two types of students: the cheaters and the non-cheaters, and nothing will ever change that. I understand this doesn’t mean that cheating is OK — cheaters should be stopped. However, the way to do it is not with this browser. Why should the non-cheaters be summited to such an uncomfortable technique that doesn’t even work?

There is definitely a problem that needs to be solved — nowadays, cheating has become easier. When he went to school, my dad didn’t have a smartphone to sneak into class and Google the answers of a test whenever the professor turned around, and he definitely didn’t have the option of taking online classes. Just like it is with everything else, technology has brought positive factors as well as negative ones. The effects are inevitable, but we get to decide how to deal with them.

FGCU needs to find a better security system to battle the con artists.

About The Author

Jimena Tavel

Jimena Tavel is an international student from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She's a sophomore pursuing a double major in journalism and communication, and a minor in French. Jimena is the news editor for Eagle News, and aspires to become a news anchor someday. Along with her passion for news, she also has a passion for good humor. She spends most of her spare time reading novels, trying new foods and training for her first marathon. If you ever plan a trip to Honduras, you should definitely get in touch with her! She recommends exploring her favorite island in the world - Roatán, and all that it has to offer.

1 Comment

  1. spaghattanadle@rocketmail.com

    The browser obstructing is reasonable, I think.

    As far as the camera goes, that’s just ridiculous and weird. They give you an alotted time to complete the test simply because not everyone can complete it in the same time frame and because some little things might come up along the way.

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