Learning Better for the Next Thing: Online Proctoring Services and Privacy Advocacy Outside the Library


  • Sam Buechler Washington State University Vancouver




online test proctor, online proctor disability, privacy online proctor, university online proctor, college online proctor, academic online proctor, online proctor BIPOC, New Jim Code


In the fall of 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, higher education institutions found themselves with more time to consider how to best use and refine educational technology that had been urgently implemented or expanded during the spring and summer. Despite taking this additional time, it often felt as though the desire to provide normalcy—amongst abnormal conditions—took precedence over privacy protections. Examples such as promoting classroom engagement by requiring students to have their cameras on during synchronous online instruction illustrate this attempt to bridge normality within remote services. Another example of this tendency is online proctoring, in which the need to ensure academic integrity is used to justify the implementation of software that leverages surveillance and harmful technology.

I am employed at an institution that supports online proctoring as a method of instruction and has a contract with an online proctoring service, ProctorU. When I first learned this information, I felt a call to action. Just as a sense of urgency helped guide the implementation of online proctoring services, my own urgency guided my attempts at dismantling its use. Through this article, I will explain online and remote proctoring, the harms it poses to students, and why librarians should care about it. Furthermore, I'll outline my own efforts to eliminate proctoring software on my campus, how they fell short, and how we can envision better methods of dismantling surveillance.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Sam Buechler, Washington State University Vancouver

Sam Buechler (they/them) is the Student Success Faculty Resident Librarian at Washington State University Vancouver. Prior to their current position, Sam worked in circulation and access services departments at a variety of four-year and community college libraries. They have been a member of the Library Freedom Project since 2020. These experiences provide the foundation for their research which centers privacy and surveillance on college campuses and critical library pedagogy.




How to Cite

Buechler, S. (2022). Learning Better for the Next Thing: Online Proctoring Services and Privacy Advocacy Outside the Library. OLA Quarterly, 27(1), 12–17. https://doi.org/10.5399/osu/1093-7374.27.01.04