Universities are using surveillance software to spy on students | WIRED UK
amarashar's bookmarks 2020-10-16
That’s something that has the National Union of Students (NUS) concerned, too. “Such tools are often employed with very little explanation of their purpose. At a bare minimum we need legal assurances on how this data will be used. The lack of transparency undoubtedly fuels students’ mistrust of universities but it also stokes anxiety, aggravates mental health and dissuades many from political engagement,” says Larissa Kennedy, NUS president. “We must resist our spaces of learning turning into arms of surveillance.” At Bolton University, whose vice chancellor has admitted the institution monitors access to learning materials, library use and lecture attendance to warn staff about students struggling with their studies, Ansh Sachdeva, the union president, says students aren’t “punished if they miss online lectures”. Rather, the tracking system is used to check how long students are logged in for. “That gives an idea of how long they’ve spent and making sure they’ve done their work. They can see it later as well, but our university is not being forceful on students. They can have various reasons for not attending,” Sachdeva says. Bolton University did not answer any questions about its tracking of students.