YR Media Launches Simulated Interactive Experience to Spotlight Flaws and Bias in Virtual Educational Proctoring Services

“SurveillanceU: When Virtual Proctoring Goes Wrong” Shines Light on Educational Equity, Student Privacy and Mental Health

OAKLAND, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#AIBias and other concerns related to AI are nothing new, and today, just in time for student final exams season, YR Media – a non-profit media organization investing in future generations by championing the voices of underrepresented emerging creators, including the BIPOC and LGBQT+ community – is unveiling SurveillanceU: When Virtual Proctoring Goes Wrong, a parodical simulated experience that explores virtual proctoring tools and the dead-serious implications for the future of educational equity, student privacy and mental health.

Over the past two years, YR Media has continually reported stories featuring leading voices in AI, explorations of deepfakes in music and beyond, and an interactive investigation into facial recognition systems. A new concern that recently came to light is virtual proctoring services and their major growth during the pandemic and virtual learning, as institutions implemented these services to administer and manage exams while also attempting to prevent cheating.

The big problem? These virtual services have serious flaws that can add stress, undermine teacher-student dynamics, show bias, and interfere with performance. With the pandemic far from over, and student finals around the corner, these virtual proctoring tools are being used more and more in schools, damaging the learning environment in ways only students – especially those of color – can fully understand.

Earlier this year, YR Media worked with its national network of teen and young adult creators to investigate students’ experiences with these proctoring services and the effects they were having on their mental health, documenting their stories and concerns in an interactive project: SurveillanceU: Has Virtual Proctoring Gone Too Far?

“Students have had to reimagine their approach to learning for more than 18 months, and unfortunately, students of color continue to receive the brunt of the challenges thanks to circumstances outside of their control,” said Kyra Kyles, CEO of YR Media. “We’re hopeful that this initiative will shine a light on the issues with virtual proctoring services, and help us – the larger community – discover a new approach that upholds equity, privacy and mental health for all students, regardless of skin color.”

YR Media joined forces with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.)’s App Inventor team to launch YR Media’s A.I. in LIFE project desk, producing features, reviews, investigations, learning resources and research on all-things Artificial Intelligence – from its potential to address challenges and unlock new forms of creativity, to its tendency to exacerbate humanity’s worst traits, like bias and violence.

“The MIT App Inventor team has partnered with YR Media for more than ten years,” said Hal Abelson, a professor of computer science and engineering at MIT who was a founding director of Creative Commons. “YR Media is unparalleled in turning the voice and vision of young people to major issues of today’s technology, coupled with the highest journalistic standards. SurveillanceU is a striking example of this synergy in providing a youthful and playful perspective on the critically serious issue of privacy.”

The SurveillanceU: When Virtual Proctoring Goes Wrong is now available online at https://interactive.yr.media/when-virtual-proctoring-goes-wrong/. For more information about YR Media, visit yrmedia.org.

About YR Media

YR Media, formerly Youth Radio, is an award-winning national network of diverse young journalists and artists from underrepresented communities who create content for this generation. Headquartered in downtown Oakland, California, our non-profit has spent 25 years helping future generations build crucial skills in journalism, arts and media. We produce journalism, music, graphic design, podcasts and documentaries that disrupt and shape the mainstream narrative.


Kim Ziesemer



error: Content is protected !!