It’s a no from me


As I’ve become more invested in using technology in my teaching, I’ve started to investigate conferences that would expose me to the latest ideas. Online Educa, which is held in Berlin, is one of the biggest conferences in this area, and it is one that I had hoped to attend this year. However, OEB recently announced Proctorio as a sponsor, so I now find myself with three free days in December.

I cannot, with any good faith, attend a conference that claims to support the future of education when they allow a company that places no faith in the education system or students to be a platinum sponsor. I am not so naive to think that conferences do not need sponsors, but surely there has to be some level of filtering on the appropriateness of who those sponsors are.

I am fundamentally against proctoring unless absolutely necessary, for example, in professional body/accredited exams, as I believe that we should place more faith in our students. Proctorio, however, is a level above that with a very aggressive stance to criticism. They have even gone so far as to sue a student in America who dug into the software’s source code. They are also suing a Canadian academic who criticised the use of the software. You have to ask if Proctorio is all about integrity whether these actions back that claim up. Academia has always been about free speech, so suing people who criticise you is hardly aligning with those values.

The list of keynote speakers at the conference looks fantastic, but sadly I won’t be attending as I do not feel comfortable supporting the company sponsoring the event, even indirectly.