In addition to the practical support provided by our grants and other financial support programs, PARSA is working hard to advocate for all the needs of students affected by COVID-19. An update on some of the work can be found below.
PARSA has signed on to support the following open letters from other organisations:
Statement on Proctorio
We at PARSA wanted to acknowledge are aware of Proctorio and the concerns of students about this, and for the last few weeks we have been working hard behind the scenes to get the best possible outcomes for students.
Based on the feedback received from our student members, the concerns broadly fall into 3 categories:
- Privacy & Data security
- Equity & Accessibility
- Fair invigilation & scoring
During these unprecedented times, changes to teaching & assessment are causing a great deal of stress for all of us. In addition to the privacy concerns, we are also worried about the equity of access for students including those who are residing in remote areas and foreign countries with technological limitations, students with caring responsibilities who may be unfairly flagged for suspicious behavior and the other limitations of many students that we can’t even conceive of yet.
We have been involved in lengthy and robust discussions with the university about these concerns and will continuing to do so to ensure that the postgraduate student voice is heard and that we achieve the best possible outcomes for students. The privacy and data security assessment report provides relief on some aspects of it and hopefully the rest of them will also be addressed in coming time.
We are concerned, however, with the way that this change has been communicated with students, where valid student concerns have been seemingly dismissed out of hand and have not been effectively addressed. Consultation has been sporadic and inefficient, and the university owes it to all students to ensure they are a genuine partner in the implementation of decisions that affect them. We also do not think it is at all appropriate to censure students under the code of conduct when they are expressing valid concerns about university decision-making.
Watch this space, as PARSA will be launching a survey about student experiences with COVID-19.