aa

The cost-of-living crisis and how it’s affecting uni students beyond finances

Natasa covers uni students’ mental health struggles amidst the cost-of-living crisis in 2023....

Trigger warning: This article contains mention of suicide statistics.

Many uni students who have weathered and beaten the two-and-a-half-year COVID blues now face an equally hard struggle in 2023 that leaves dwindling sums in their bank accounts. This new challenge they face is none other than the cost-of-living crisis, which is also impacting their mental health. This year, the escalating costs of rent, food, fuel, and education have become pressing health issues that university students face daily.

(Credit: Pexels)

Choice between work and education:

There has been an increase in uni students who are now pressured to juggle the demand of their studies with paid work to continue supporting themselves – whether that be picking up casual gig, or taking up demanding, often unmanageable hours.

Jacob Nye, a 31-year-old former university student, now works full-time in a management position and yet, is struggling to afford essential commodities such as cereal, meat and electricity due to his rent prices rising from $350 to $600 this year.

“The only way I could study is if it was self-paced with zero class time and extremely flexible practically. Otherwise, if it cost me any time at work, it would become impossible to study with the cost of living,” says Jacob.

The preferred schedule described by Jacob could work with Zoom classes – but what happens when students are required to attend classes in person?

A 2023 survey by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) in the UK reveals that more than half of the 10,000 uni students surveyed are simultaneously grappling with the demands of work and education – from attending lectures and tutorials and hastily completing assignments during the semester.  

(Credit: Pexels | Ketut Subiyanto).

Jacob states that he feels more “anxious than depressed” about his current economic situation and the knowledge that another rent increase is sure to come soon, which could jeopardise his prospects of pursuing further education.

“[The] biggest hurdle is cost-of-living; for me, uni would only work if it didn’t impact my job. But I’d be too tired to study after working full time,” he adds.

In an SBS News interview, one international student believes overwork is one of the reasons students have resorted to the ‘emergency measure’ of using Chat GBT to complete assessments.

(Credit: Ron Lach | Pexels).

The strain on mental health and the rise in suicides:

In 2023, 46% of Australians experience feeling troubled and worried due to economic pressures.

Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) have released results that the cost of living has, for the fourth quarter in a row this year, been one of the two leading causes for adults over 18 feeling “distressed”, leading to a heightened suicide risk. The study reveals a 19% increase in the likelihood of experiencing harmful thoughts for those anxious and stressed “beyond normal levels”.

SPA’s Chief Executive, Matthew McLean, acknowledges that social isolation and loneliness drive this distress. According to ABC News, some often don’t have the time and money to socialise amidst the rising cost-of-living. In this climate, fears about the growing cost of a beer ($8+) or an adult movie ticket ($26.50+) can prompt people to skip a friend’s gathering or miss out on socialising altogether.

Additionally, findings from SPA and a Longitudinal study show that human interaction is not as frequent as in previous years, despite the accessibility of social media. In this digital climate, it can easily seem quicker, cheaper, and easier to communicate with a friend via text or DM than to physically show up to lunch amidst the pressures of budgeting, work, and study.

With no relief in sight for this cost-of-living crisis, young adults like Jacob will continue to adhere to their preferred schedule – a choice based on necessity. They may do so while hoping the price they pay,+ does not become too high a cost in the future.

If you or someone you know is struggling with any of the issues raised in this article, remember you are not alone, and there is support:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

Mission Australia: 1800 88 88 68

Headspace:1800 650 890

Link2home: 1800 152 152

Western Sydney Students Financial Support: 1800 668 370

WSU Renter Support: 1800 668 370

WSU Emergency Accommodation: 1800 668 370   

aa

The lucky (racist) country

Dinusha Soo dissects racism in Australia through the lens of Reg Mombassa's art....

For many of us growing up in Australia, we were often reminded of the fact that we live in the ‘lucky’ country, made up of a rich fabric of multiculturalism. Our diversity is touted as one of our key strengths, particularly when compared to other Western nations.

But for several Australians – our diversity is the very thing that can lead to oppression. One in five Australians have experienced racism in 2017 alone, according to a poll commissioned by the SBS with Western Sydney University.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a large portion of this racism has been directed to Asian-Australians and prior to this, the Muslim population.

So, what makes Australia racist and has this always been the case?

When the White Australia Policy came into effect in 1901, anyone from a non- European background could not enter the country. This was not abolished until as late as 1973, all while the Stolen Generations period was occurring between the mid-1800s to the 1970s.

Then if we look at our current national anthem, which surprisingly came into effect in 1984, we would all be familiar with the words, “for we are young and free.” Harmless enough? “These very words sung in our Australian anthem ignore the 65,000 years or more of Indigenous Australian culture,” says France Mao in a BBC article.

Reflecting on Australia’s laboured efforts to recognise and afford rights to those of Indigenous descent, it presents as a mere example of underlying racism in this country.

One of Australia’s most renowned artists, Reg Mombassa provides searing political commentary through his artwork. When asked by Troublemag what he perceives as the most important societal issue in Australia today – his response was racism.

Design by Dinusha Soo
Design by Dinusha Soo

Reg has done several pieces discussing racism, one of his more notable designs was for Mambo, where an Australian representation of Jesus extends an olive branch with the words “Australian Jesus welcomes the boat people.”

In recent times, these ‘boat people’ have been denied entry to Australia, even if they were facing persecution in their homelands. Australia currently has agreements with neighbouring countries, to process asylum seekers ‘offshore.’

The Refugee Council of Australia states that this means that people seeking asylum are generally detained, often for long and uncertain periods”. Additionally, there is no independent review of the decision to detain, and people have been detained for increasingly long periods.

“The detention of people seeking asylum under this regime is one of the harshest in

the world and causes terrible suffering,” the Refugee Council of Australia states.

As Australians who recognises our past and indeed our current policies – we must strive to do better. This will require having a sense of empathy and understanding toward our fellow humans, irrespective of the colour of their skin, their creed or their cultural beliefs. It is only by striving for a more equitable society, will movements like Black Lives Matter, which resonates with people globally, have any profound impact on our own culture here in Australia.

aa

Amelia Caldwell: “Nothing can compare to the joy that comes from someone buying something you have handcrafted”

Despite the challenges, the business continues to thrive and hopes to promote environmentally sustainable practices....

Amelia Caldwell, who will soon join Western as a student, started a business in 2021 based on up-cycling materials. Despite the challenges, the business continues to thrive and hopes to promote environmentally sustainable practices. Compiled by Shayma Abdellatif.   

Amelia Caldwell creates handmade jewellery from up-cycled materials. Photo supplied by Amelia Caldwell.

 

1.     What type of business do you own? 

“I created Dreamgazee, dedicated to up-cycling materials and creating handmade unique jewellery/accessories that can be used for self-expression of every individual. I also sell some other products when I can, including t-shirts, arm warmers, clay trays and even some of my own artworks…

 

“The core of my business is about repurposing and recycling – or more importantly up-cycling and reusing products, tools, equipment and materials that have been discarded or deemed ‘broken’. When creating pieces, the majority of my materials are second hand. By repurposing we can look at decreasing waste especially from fast fashion industries. I personally enjoy using a range of different materials such as pearls, sea-shells, different beads, wood, wire, decals, bleach, fishing line, thread, knickknacks and children’s toys… 

 

“During lockdown, I repurposed jewellery from a couple years ago that I no longer wear to create new products, I also had so much fun recording videos about my business for social media; I made an ASMR video showing myself stocking up my new storage unit and it’s beyond satisfying.”  

 

 

Handmade jewellery sold at Dreamgazee. Photo supplied by Amelia Caldwell.

2.     What motivated you to start your business?  

“At the beginning of 2021, I knew I needed to bring something new into my life after the stress and intensity of 2020. So, I decided to grab onto independence and entrepreneurship by starting my own small business…

 

“As a prospective WSU student, I’m looking forward to studying a Bachelor of Design and Technology and the opportunities that I will experience studying here. Over the past decade, I’ve truly been able to see how much I value design and the arts. I’ve studied Visual Arts, Woodwork, Textiles, Basic Design and Technology, Business Services, Ceramics, Photography and I also spend my own time learning about each of these topics to strengthen my skills and gain more knowledge. This has all assisted me greatly when starting my business!”

3.    How did COVID-19 and the lockdown affect your business?

“Surprisingly it benefited my business, as a creator whose sole form of connection is through social media and other digital platforms being in lockdown drew more attention to my business, especially due to the fact that everyone was online for one reason or another. One struggle I can point out is access to materials, there were times when I had run out of important jewellery making equipment and wasn’t able to go get them, therefore holding back my creation process and impacting my business.”

4.     What are the main benefits and challenges of owning a small business? Did you receive any support to establish it?

Getting my products out to an audience is pretty difficult! Social media is obviously huge now and there are tens, probably thousands, of small businesses out there all trying to do the exact same thing as each other; promote your work, attract and sell to clientele, develop customer rapport all whilst creating products, uploading/editing posts on social media, websites or web stores, handling postage, buying materials etc. It’s definitely a lot to handle but it’s all part of the business…

 

“Thankfully I have some help from my family but otherwise, I handle everything on my own. Some other personal struggles I’ve had are shipping costs in Australia, especially dealing with international shipping which is often over $20.00 AUD on its own!…

 

“But nothing can compare to the joy that comes from someone buying something you have handcrafted. That joy increases when people ask for custom pieces, they put their trust in you to create a product just for them which is incredible. Being able to share my work with others is extremely fulfilling as a creator/artist, the support is highly appreciated from everyone! Every single like, share, comment and save is important to me.”

 

5.    What is it like running a business while studying? 

“Definitely difficult. It can be super hard to balance out work and study along with things you WANT and NEED to do. In saying that, I should have a timetable, calendar, reminders and checklists; but I don’t. Somehow, I just push through, I listen to my mind and body, go with the flow of what I feel needs to be done which has been working well at the moment for me. I think that’s a big part of balancing work and study, understanding what your mind and body needs as well as the importance behind certain tasks. It will help you to get tasks done while not overworking or pushing yourself, taking care of yourself is the most important.”

 

Handmade jewellery sold at Dreamgazee. Photo supplied by Amelia Caldwell.

 

6.    Where do you hope to see your business in the future? 

“I’d really love to open up a stall in a market every now and again, get my pieces out to stylists and maybe even have my own personal online store. These goals are obviously big and will take time to reach but I’m really hoping I can get there eventually.”

 

7.     What advice would you give to other students? 

“I encourage others to donate materials or anything that can be reused rather than ending up in landfills, and contributing to the already growing climate crisis. We must learn to look at items we are going to throw out with new eyes, how can we create something from it? That’s my design process. To promote this thinking and process of creation would see huge changes in not only the fashion industry, but many other industries as well…

 

“Look at your design process and see how it can become more eco-friendly, sustainable and accessible. Also, to students and consumers in general, support your local small businesses! We appreciate all the help we can get, investing in slow fashion and handcrafted work is beneficial for everyone!”

 

 

Follow Amelia on @dreamgazee_ to view or purchase their products.

aa

Marouf Alemeddine: “You don’t realise what you have until you lose it”

WSU university student, Marouf, shares his insights to challenges he faces when transferring degrees, and the importance of putting yourself first. ...

Marouf Alemeddine has decided to change degrees after his first year of university. He explains the reasons behind transferring from Medicine to Teaching, and what inspired him to follow his dreams. Interviewed by W’SUP editor, Dania Roumieh, Marouf shares the challenges he faced after losing his grandmother, emphasising the importance of prioritising yourself and your mental health as a student.

 

Why did you decide to change your degree?

“Many things … on top of COVID-19 changed my perspective on what I want from life – my grandma got sick and passed away. I realised that I wanted to take on a career path that not only gave me a better direction, but also gave me a quality of life, and very rewarding.

Marouf Alemeddine

 

What made you want to transfer from Medicine to Teaching?

“As rewarding as medicine can be, and as great of a professional it is in the real world – I felt that I had to find my true passion … I feel that helping students is my passion, and that teaching goes beyond the classroom…

 

it’s not a matter of what content you teach or getting your HSC, it’s about developing long-term relationships with your students. I still remember my teacher from high school and till today, he’s honestly my biggest inspiration when it comes to teaching. Because without him even realising what he’s done for me – he’s a role model for me.”

 

Since changing degrees, how are you finding studying considering all the obstacles you’ve faced, in particular with COVID-19?

“When everything transitioned online because of COVID – I was dreading it. I used to enjoy engaging in conversations with my classmates, and I found that interacting on zoom calls wasn’t the same. I found it much harder to adapt and I still don’t feel like I’ve completely adapted…

 

On top of that, with my grandmother passing, I made everything harder. I realised I needed to take a break impulse and see that I needed to mentally recover. I was mentally and physically drained and I couldn’t keep up. It’s important to take care of your mental health.”

 

How have you managed to maintain your wellbeing and yourself since?

“I put my studies on hold for a second and I began to kind of appreciate everything that was around me. I think that really helped me, just being grateful for what I have, because as cliché as it sounds – you don’t realise what you have until you lose it…

 

After losing my grandmother, I didn’t want to make the same mistakes of putting my studies first and my family second. There were so many times that she was healthy, and for instance, I wouldn’t go to that family barbeque on a Sunday because I had worked, or I was studying…

 

I never really sat down and thought to myself: wow, this could be the last time we’re all here together. You begin to really appreciate what you do have, and I don’t want to make those same mistakes again…

 

After a while, I started to go out and enjoy life more often. I enjoyed the free time I have with family and made the most of it before returning back to university. I started to enjoy the small things like going to pick my sisters up with my mum, or going to cafes, or fishing with my friends. I’m constantly reflecting on my life and can’t afford to make the same mistake of sacrificing my mental health. I gave myself that free time to think about the company around me, and that’s what really helped me get back on track. It’s a work in progress but it will always be a work in progress”.

 

Marouf’s words of advice:
You have to prioritise yourself. Be selfish. Put yourself first, because I found that I was constantly putting myself second. So, if somebody needed something, I dropped everything I was doing and helped them … even though it was hard, I wanted to help them and that it’s a good thing. But you have to always put yourself first”

 

aa

A guide to surviving WSU: Covid edition

Clare Da Silva imparts her knowledge on journeying through university, with all the support and resources you need!...

Whether you are starting your first year at university or returning back for your 5th, there is so much going on at the university that it can be hard to navigate it all. After being at this university for five years, I decided to create a university survival guide to help other students pave their pathway through university with all the support and resources you will need.

What you need to know:

vUWS –  This is where all of your online learning occurs. Any slides, learning guides, link to zoom classes, and more are located on vUWS.

 

Student Central –  This is your one-stop shop on campus to ask general enquiries, speak about enrolment and fees, graduation, applying for student ID and travel concession, lodging some forms and more. With Covid, they have moved their services online and over the phone. You can contact student central on 1300 668 370 or email them at studentcentral@westernsydney.edu.au.

Enrolment and Course progress  MyStudent Records
For enrolment, everything can be done using My Student Records at mysr.com. This is where you can use the codes in the student handbooks to enrol in classes, check your cards and change specialisations and more. Did you know you can keep track of your course progress and see what you need to complete and how far along you are in your course? Go to Check my course progress – click on your course – click course progress detail and then it breaks down what you need to do to complete your course and you can look at what you have done. This is especially useful when you get towards the end of your degree.
Allocate –  This is where you can put preferences in for your timetable and see your allocated timetable. Make sure you log into the 2021 timetable! To check if your class is online or on campus just go to your timetable and click on the class to see its location.

 

Academic support:
It can often feel like you are all alone in your studies at university, especially with online classes. There are many services you can access, apps you can download and strategies you can employ, to get you on track with your studies. Here are some of the few I have found to be extremely helpful over the years.

 

Textbooks and resources:

Textbooks:
Textbooks can be pretty expensive, and often learning guides can come out a little late. To find out what your textbooks will be, you can look at your learning guide or use the textbook finder on Booktopia to find your course’s allocated textbooks: https://www.booktopia.com.au/books-online/text-books/textbook-finder/cXC-p1.html.

Students also sell textbooks on Facebook groups such as UWS Textbooks (https://www.facebook.com/groups/uwstextbooks/), WSU Textbook Exchange – (NSW) (https://www.facebook.com/groups/UWSTextbookExchange) and Second Hand University Textbooks for buy, sell and swap Australia (https://www.facebook.com/groups/221249431288804/).

Also checkout websites such as Student VIP (https://studentvip.com.au/) for notes, used textbooks and tutors.


Library Resources: 

The library offers a range of resources and access to databases online that are extremely useful for your studies. You can also access your learning guide, old test papers and even speak to a librarian online. You can also book in study rooms at the library, borrow books and refresh your loans online.

E-resources allows you to see all of the databases available for research through the university. They are organised by subject and are good to utilise. I was even able to find textbooks online through these databases for a couple of units.
https://library.westernsydney.edu.au/main/resources/eResources

Icite is an amazing tool that I utilised throughout my degree to learn how to reference different styles, as well as see examples depending on the type of resource you were using.
https://library.westernsydney.edu.au/main/guides/referencing-citation/i%3ACite

Study Smart and MESH services
One of the best services I utilised as a first and second-year student is the Study Smart services. I find that having a service where you get to talk to an academic for free about classwork or assessments one on one really helped me develop my skills out of the classroom. The smart study consultations are now provided over Zoom and run for 30 minutes. They allow you to ask for assignment feedback and advice, referencing, and even maths and statistics.

To book a session: https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/StudySmart1@westernsydneyedu.onmicrosoft.com/bookings/

 

Study smarty online  powered by Studiosity
This is a service which is available 24/7, employed by the university and run by Studiosity. It is an absolute lifesaver when you just need to talk to someone regarding your ideas, or need assistance with assessments. They have a connect live service where you can chat with different experts to hone your writing skills, referencing, study skills, maths, biology, chemistry and more. They also have a writing feedback service where you submit your document, and they get back to you usually within 24 hours with feedback and notes. These services do have usage allocation meaning that they are timed. You can log onto your vUWS and look under the heading ‘STUDY SMART Online’ on the homepage to access these services. It is also available on your subjects underneath the heading ‘Support Zone’.

PASS Peer Assisted Study Sessions
PASS classes are informal study sessions run by students that have previously successfully studied that unit. They are free, run weekly and it is a good way of meeting other students that are in your degree. With Covid-19, these classes run online. For more information: https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/currentstudents/current_students/services_and_facilities/study_and_life_skills_workshops/pass_-_peer_assisted_study_sessions/_nocache

 

Career Hub
Finding work while you study can be tough but there are a plethora of free workshops and job opportunities that the university offers. Whether it is work at the university or external job offerings it is always good to keep an eye on the Career Hub. To see these resources and job offerings go to:  https://careerhub.westernsydney.edu.au/

 

Getting Social

While most of us are stuck indoors on our computers and listening to 3 hour-long lectures, it can get pretty lonesome. Clubs and activities are happening online, and even some in person!

Western Life
Whether you want to learn more about different cultures and religions, play sports, debate against other universities or just hang out and play games with other students, there are so many activities advertised on Western Life. Campus life offers many activities both online and face-to-face, depending on restrictions, allowing you opportunities to drink wine and paint, play trivia and games, listen to talks, compete in competitions and so much more. Clubs are also active on this platform and you can see what clubs suit you.
I personally did debating throughout my university degree which allowed me the opportunity to travel overseas, compete in tournaments with other universities, job prospects and so much more.
To have a look at all the opportunities go to:  https://life.westernsydney.edu.au/home_login

 

Western SRC
The Western Sydney University Student Council Representative is composed of 20 students who are elected by students to represent their needs. Whether it is social events, campaigning for student needs or addressing any issues students have, the SRC are there to provide you a platform to get change. They run council meetings once a month that you can attend to discuss any concerns you may have. You can reach out to the SRC via their email on secretary@westernsrc.org or facebook page https://www.facebook.com/westernsrc.org.

They also have vacancies so check out there website to find out more at http://westernsrc.org/

WSUP –  Student Newspaper
WSUP is an awesome student newspaper that is run independently from the university. They post articles about both on campus and off campus news, tips and tricks. They print both a physical paper located around all campuses and online at https://wsup.news/
You can also get involved with WSUP by pitching any ideas for articles, submitting artworks, stories or poems and so much more!

Out and About

This program allows students to participate in a range of activities and adventures at reduced rates. You can see what is on offer by searching on Western Life.

Student Discounts

It can be really expensive being a full time or even part-time student. And the university does have many discounts that you can use just for everyday things such as entertainment, real and online shopping, gym memberships and more.
To see the long list of discounts offered check out the student discounts page: https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/currentstudents/current_students/services_and_facilities/student_discounts.

Health and Wellbeing
There are services on campus to help you with your general health and wellbeing. The Uniclinic located on Campbelltown campus is run by students supervised by qualified clinicians that offer a range of therapeutic health practices at reduced rates to the general public. If you need information on sexual health, the website Play Safe has a range of resources to help you improve your sexual health. You can ask a nurse questions, get information on testing, treatments and contraceptives. Visit: https://playsafe.health.nsw.gov.au/

 

Student Legal and Tax Services

The student legal service is an information and referral service that is funded by SSAF. It is for all current domestic and international students at Western Sydney University and is operated by a qualified lawyer. They cover a wide range of legal issues such as employment, tenancy, consumer law, minor criminal matters, debt matters, motor vehicle accidents, on campus fines and traffic offences. They take roughly 3 business days to get back to you. You can contact them by calling 9685 4788 or via email studentlegalservices@westernsydney.edu.au along with the request for help form. For more information or to access the request help form visit: https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/currentstudents/current_students/services_and_facilities/student_legal_service

The tax clinic is offered by the university that provides assistance with lodging, debt matters, review and appeal rights and general tax law. In order to get assistance you must not have a tax agent and be an individual or small business entity. They also run many education activities, advocacy and assistance with dealing with the ATo for low income or vulnerable taxpayers. This service is provided for free via Zoom or teleconferencing. To book an appointment you call them on 9685 4649 or email them at thetaxclinic@westernsydney.edu.au.

aa

Is WSU forcing students to install software that invades their privacy?

Surveillance in the wake of coronavirus is forcing students to decide between privacy and their grades....

Surveillance camera peering into laptop computer. Source: Thomas Jackson

A wave of surveillance in the wake of coronavirus is forcing students to decide between privacy or their grades with online exams to be monitored with a software called ProctorU. In a time where people want to protect their online privacy and security more than ever – it’s no wonder that students are concerned.

One can argue that the testing service protects exams and ensures academic integrity – but at what cost? It’s a system where students are cheaters until proven innocent – selling a narrative that students can’t be trusted. The outcry of the student’s voice has been seen in both email correspondences to staff and student leaders. Western SRC Representatives have already sent emails to the VC and Vice President Academic on behalf of students to voice these concerns.

There are two ways your exam may take place: Live+ means a real person will supervise your exam in real time via your webcam and Review+ means you and your screen will be recorded and reviewed by Proctor U after the exam session.

Read more: Online Exam Proctoring – FAQ

Third-year ICT student Daniel Grech said that he and other students would prefer if WSU were conducting the remote exam rather than a third party. The main issues with ProctorU being data gathering, such as geo-location data, biometrical data, IP address’ and the troubling possibility of data retention.

“I think the university should ditch the use of ProctorU and use their own software such as vUWS (which they are using for my other units). And possibly the use of zoom if deemed necessary,” says Grech.

Nearly 3,500 WSU students have signed the petition created by third-year honours civil engineering student Mark Ibrahim opposing the use of ProctorU. Other petitions, include the University of Queensland with nearly 7,000 signatures, UNSW with almost 2,500, and uSYD with nearly 4,500.

 

Samantha Pamplin is a second-year student at WSU studying her first year of Bachelor of Social Science and recently sat an exam using the proctoring software – and assures it isn’t as bad as everyone makes it out to be.

“Sure, there are privacy concerns, but I looked away plenty of times and spoke to myself to collect my thoughts, and I was fine. And all the permissions it requires, such as having control of your screen are reversed at the end of the exam,” Pamplin said.

Students with a disability using their AT will render them liable for misconduct with this software. For a student to receive accommodations for a proctored exam, they will need to register with an exam facilitator so that they can provide a form to disclose a request before the exam. ProctorU does not require any information about your disability. If you have questions about accommodations, please email support@proctoru.com.

 

Actions and behaviours that will be flagged during an exam. Source: ProctorU Website.

 

However, some students have reported that the software is buggy and crashes their computers. There are also concerns about not having access to webcams and stable internet now some students have moved back home due to COVID-19.

Macquarie University who have chosen not to use ProctorU has handled their exams by offering alternate assessments such as essays, carving the path for other universities to follow their lead. However, students of WSU may be forced to approach the media or seek legal representation, as those affected at USyd have done.

“The proposed alternatives to using ProctorU include alternate assessments; options for browser locks, using Zoom (if all you’re doing is recording people to be sure they’re not looking at other devices to search answers). Some options are less invasive but still maintain a reasonable level of academic integrity without students having their privacy invaded,” says Hollie Hammond, Academic Senate Representative.

Pamplin wasn’t sure what students expect to do instead of sitting a monitored exam. However, she would’ve preferred the test to be changed to an assessment she could complete and then submit.

“I truly believe the student experience with ProctorU will vary depending on the person watching you, and I did get lucky, but if students have any issues, they can contact the exam board. I did, as I was using my mum’s workspace, which has extra monitors. And stuff like bathroom breaks, I was told by my disability advisor at the university that I would be allowed those and on the day the guy watching told me the same thing before I even asked,” she said.

 

Read more: UQ students raise privacy concerns over third-party exam platform

 

NSW Education Vice-President James Newbold from the National Union of Students shared a template for students to use for those who’d like to express their concerns to university executives, deans of schools and unit coordinators.

Currently, the university will be going ahead with ProctorU to provide this service to students for exams scheduled to be held in this year.

Read more: How to Prepare for your Online Exams

If you feel you need further support, please contact the services below:

Technical problems (vUWS) itservicedesk@westernsydney.edu.au

Examinations team examinations@westernsydney.edu.au