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Many French universities require their students to take exams remotely, often through a computer, without providing the necessary equipment to perform these tasks. And here I am not talking about covid-19 crisis but before the global pandemic.

I find this practice barely legal when the French education code requires establishments to verify that students have the technical means necessary to carry out exams.

The conditions for validating lessons, given in the presence of users or remotely, where applicable in digital form, are set in each higher education establishment at the latest at the end of the first month of the teaching year and they cannot be modified during the year. The validation of lessons, controlled by tests organized remotely in digital form, must be guaranteed by:

1 ° Verification that the candidate has the technical means allowing him to effectively pass the tests;

2 ° Verification of the candidate's identity;

3 ° Supervision of the test and compliance with the rules applicable to examinations.

Hence my question: Do universities have the right not to provide the material necessary for students to carry out exams remotely?

I know only one University that follow this rules in France : The Sorbonne, Paris. My University and all others I know doesn't respect it.

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  • they need to comply with all 3to offer it, right?
    – Trish
    Jul 23 '20 at 14:38
  • I don't know, this is why I ask the question
    – Taeith
    Jul 23 '20 at 14:48
  • What do you mean by not providing the material necessary for students to carry out exams remotely? There is no machine room anywhere in the university? Do you need any other special equipment to take your exam? Or is your issue that they haven't actively checked with you that you do in fact have a computer and/or booked a room for all the students who may not have one?
    – Relaxed
    Apr 19 at 20:57
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To comply with the rules that allow them to take tests remotely, they'd have to comply with all requirements. If they can't comply with all three requirements, they are not allowed to offer these remote tests.

But what do the parts mean? Stanca 2, verification, can be solved easily. 3 can be solved by simply allowing all sources and making sure that the questions are complex enough so that wild googling doesn't help to work it out in the time limit. LEaves 1, the means.

Here there are several general approaches: On the one hand, they could make sure that the means to do the exam are as low as possible - which could be as low as "send an E-mail with your answers in clear text to the office with a timestamp no later than XY:AB, questions appear on the internet under test.com at AB:XY."

The other, more complex solution, would be to do the test via a web-app that then needs to run on any usual browser and there have to be (mandatory) means to test so beforehand.

The most restricting approach would be the one followed by the Sorbonne: Specific software that monitors the student during the examination. This could raise privacy concerns, but you can contract away a lot of freedoms...

The rules as stated don't specify how the goals are to be achieved, so it is up to the university to invent a system that they are happy with and that aims for the three given goals while adhering to the rules. They also don't require the university to hand out laptops or such, but renting out tablets to take the exams on could be one solution to help lessen the burden on low-income students.

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  • Sorbonne University has installed software on computer that use webcam to detect identity of student and cheating. Universities state that this is the best solution but french center of liberties state that it against students individual liberties.
    – Taeith
    Jul 23 '20 at 15:56
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    @Taeith you'd be surprised how many rights you just can contract away for some time, including being filmed and highly monitored during a test.
    – Trish
    Jul 23 '20 at 17:15
  • This is more from my experience at a US university, but there we had an actual requirement to own a laptop in order to attend class. It was the sort of thing that would get covered by financial assistance if you didn't own one, but there weren't university issued devices. I wouldn't be surprised if most of these French universities have a similar requirement.
    – Kommissar
    Jul 23 '20 at 17:55
  • @Kommissar They definitely don't.
    – Relaxed
    Apr 19 at 20:52
  • @Trish Is there a contract here?
    – Relaxed
    Apr 19 at 21:04

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