On Saturday night, the number one trend in the UAE on Twitter was #AUSharjahExams, continuing through to Sunday morning as number two. The tweets showed angry students from the American University of Sharjah (AUS) venting their concerns about the university’s online exam policy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students were furious and took to Twitter, complaining about the invasion of privacy, the disabled backtracking option that makes the exam more stressful than it already is, overall inconsideration from the university to its students, and the situation as a whole. The students also sent detailed emails to the school deans and administration expressing their disappointment.
“I can understand why they’re not allowing backtracking, to prevent cheating, but forcing us to use webcams while solving our exams is ridiculous!” said Beshoy Ghabour, a third-year Mechanical Engineering student at AUS.
Voicing his concerns, Ghabour stressed that, “More than privacy invasion, the program detects motion, and flags it to the professor, which in turn, might affect our grades. No one can look at the screen for a straight 60 minutes!”
Following the outburst of tweets, the Dean of the College of Engineering at AUS, Dr. Sirin Tekinay posted a video, explaining that the students’ complaints will be taken into consideration, and that the students will be receiving an email today after the heads of departments have reconsidered the students’ criticisms and objections to the exam system.
“Know that your points are taken into consideration when we make decisions,” she said in the video.
While they wait for the university’s response, some students hope that the exams might be cancelled and replaced with assignments and projects.