Online Assessments: CUNY Policy Update

Proctoring Software

We have been informed by CUNY that, due to multiple concerns and problems, the University will not proceed with the implementation of Proctortrack. It is highly unlikely that CUNY will be able to procure any alternative proctoring software this semester. If you have an exam scheduled for this semester that you feel absolutely requires proctoring, please inform your department chair, so we can discuss the matter and see what is possible.

Cameras during class and exams

"Per CUNY policy, you cannot require students to turn on their cameras during synchronous class sessions or during synchronous tests. For your reference, the policy is included below my signature. Please note:

  • If you give an exam where you are asking students to leave their cameras on, students may opt out, and if they do, you must offer them a reasonable alternative assessment.

  • If you notify students of the requirement to leave their camera on in advance of the test format, you may require students to notify you before the exam to let you know they wish to opt out.

  • If you don’t notify students in advance that cameras will be required during a test, or if you don’t provide an alternative assessment in advance of the exam, and students object after the exam is administered, they must be allowed to either drop that test score in exchange for an alternative assessment or, by mutual agreement between you and the student, the exam will not be used and other grades will be weighted more heavily.

For the upcoming Winter and Spring terms, include your course policy on testing and camera use on your syllabus so that students are aware in advance. Camera use during exams can be required, if this requirement is disclosed in advance of students registering for the class. If you plan to require the use of cameras during exams in your winter or spring courses, please notify your department chair in advance, as it is important that we provide students with at least one or two sections which do not require cameras."

CUNY Policy Regarding Requiring the Use of Cameras during Live Classes

Academic Policies, Requirements, and Deadlines: Guidelines regarding Requiring the Use of Cameras during Live Classes

As is the case with many colleges and universities that have chosen online and distance learning modalities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty utilizing Zoom, Blackboard Collaborate and other digital technology to deliver course curriculum/material must be sensitive to issues of privacy. To that end, faculty offering classes through web conferencing digital technology like Zoom cannot require that students turn on their cameras during live classes, unless there is a pedagogical need to do so. Per CUNY’s attendance verification policy , students can meet the engagement threshold for attendance verification through participating in an online discussion about an academic matter, engaging in an online academically related activity, or initiating contact with the instructor to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course or course-related question, and none of these criteria requires the use of a live camera. In the case of classes in which there is a pedagogical need to require the use of cameras: (1) The requirement for students to be visible on the video should be communicated in advance of registration and enrollment; (2) Students who do not have access to cameras and therefore are unable to comply with the requirement must be accommodated. With respect to whether the use of cameras can be required during the proctoring of exams in web conferencing digital technology platforms like Zoom, students may not be compelled to turn on their cameras during test-taking unless the use of a particular technology or proctoring tool was disclosed prior to the student enrolling in class and/or in the course syllabi.

Additional Resources related to this policy:

Alternative forms of assessment

To help you develop alternative assessments that do not require remote proctoring, CUNY has put together a website with suggestions and references: Two recent pieces from the Chronicle of Higher Education ( also provide very useful advice: