This guide is provided to you by Teaching and Learning and the Privacy Office at Conestoga.
Messaging to Students on Detection Software Used in Assessments
Students have a right based on privacy and copyright law to opt out of detection software use. It is important to communicate to students any use of detection tools such as Turnitin and Respondus Monitor in our courses. Faculty are required to provide students with this advance notice in case a student wishes to activate their right to opt out. This language is also present on every active course outline across the college. Such information, when messaged in advance, may also encourage students to submit their own original work.
Note that the opt out option does not apply to Respondus Lockdown Browser, or similar software that might be part of Conestoga-purchased external testing platforms from publishers. Students can’t opt out of these. Further, you cannot submit student work to any external detection platforms, even if you advise students in advance.
Below are two example statements that you can consider using or revising to inform your students of the detection tools that will be used in your course assessments:
- Turnitin or other detection software (such as Respondus Monitor) may be used to screen assignment submissions or invigilate/proctor exams in this course. It is your responsibility to notify your professor – at the time of the assessment details being provided – if you wish to request an opt-out and be provided with an alternative process. Please note that the student right to opt out does not apply to use of Respondus Lockdown Browser, which is not detection software.
- All quizzes, tests, and exams in this course written online via eConestoga will be invigilated using Respondus Monitor. It is your responsibility to notify your professor – at the time of the assessment details being provided – if you wish to request an opt-out of Respondus Monitor and be provided with an alternative process. Please note that the opt-out option does not apply to Respondus Lockdown Browser, which is not detection software.
What do Do if a Student Opts Out of the Detection Technology
Very few students will opt out of the technology and others will change their minds once they are informed about the alternatives. It is important to inform students about what technologies will be used at the time you first describe the assessment, and they should opt out at that time, not at the time of submission or testing.
You may wish to set a deadline for students to declare their intention to opt out, for example by the end of the first week of classes or a minimum number of weeks before the assessment due date.
Alternative assessments do not need to be prepared for students who choose to opt-out. Instead, students can complete the same assessment using a modified process.
If a student opts out, we suggest the following options:
- For quizzes, tests, and exams: Tell the student that you can arrange for them to write this assessment in the Testing Centre. Note that this will be as per Testing Centre availability. For asynchronous courses, consult with your Chair on any opt-out requests.
- For assignment submissions: Tell the student to email you the assignment as a Word document and/or a link to their Office 365 document. Advise all students when discussing opt-outs at the start of the semester that for any opt outs you require evidence of work in process (e.g., drafts, outlines), links to all references or resources used, and may require a quick meeting to discuss process. Remind students it is always important to maintain evidence of their work in process, even if they are not requesting an opt-out.
- If an assignment involves group work and only one student wishes to opt out of the detection software, respect that student’s choice and request that the group submit their work via email as in b).
Interested in what local universities do with regards to opt-outs? See the University of Waterloo’s guidance on using Turnitin and options for student opt-outs. In 2021, Laurier also released guidelines for students wishing to opt-out of Respondus Monitor.
Questions about student privacy rights can be directed to the college’s Manager, Privacy & Information Management, email@example.com .