Virtual Learning 2020


Welcome back to (virtual) campus!

We’re your student union. We’re an energetic, youthful and enthusiastic team of 5 Executives, 13 services and 50+ staff. Our job is to fight for you, advocate on your behalf to the University of Ottawa and various levels of government, and provide services and run events to make campus life better.

This Fall, because of online learning, students are facing challenges we’ve never faced before, We need to make sure the University is held accountable and respects students’ rights and priorities.


This summer, without consulting the students, the University of Ottawa decided to implement the Respondus Monitor and Lockdown Proctoring software. As reported in CBC, Respondus uses artificial intelligence to detect potential academic fraud. It can review your browser history, track your eye movements, require you to have your webcam on, and even save recordings of you writing the exam for over a year.

The UOSU has raised serious concerns on two occasions, including in a statement on July 2nd and an open letter on July 15th. The faculties of Engineering, Civil Law and Common Law have all banned or discouraged the use of Respondus in their courses, but other faculties have not followed suit. 

Students have a right to not consent to the use of this unnecessary and egregious software in their courses. However, throughout the summer, many professors did not respect this right.

Help us fight for your rights by doing the following steps:

Write an email to your professor to formally notify them that you do not consent to the use of Respondus. Click here for a pre-written email that you can send to them, or copy and paste the italicized text below.

Dear Professor (Last Name),

My name is (student name) and I’m writing to you about the planned use of the Respondus proctoring software in your course.

In light of the numerous privacy, equity and accessibility concerns raised by the student body with regards to this software, and in light of the Provost’s communication on August 13th which noted that “Professors who choose to use Respondus in their courses are required to inform their students of this choice at the beginning of term, as well as to offer them an alternative and equally valid form of performance evaluation”, I would like to formally inform you that I do not consent to the use of the Respondus proctoring software for any evaluations and examinations in this course. Instead, I would like to take the alternative assessment.

Thank you very much for your understanding.


(student name)

If you’re in a class where Respondus is being used, please let us know by filling out this anonymous form. Where appropriate, we will follow-up with you and your professor to ensure that professors are respecting your academic and legal rights!


The transition to online learning hasn’t been easy. The University refused to lower the cost of tuition, some professors are unaccommodating with your personal situations, all on top of the isolating feeling of learning from a distance. Undoubtedly, students are the most affected with these decisions and we are going to fight for you.

The University of Ottawa says that they’ve given professors everything they need to succeed, but professors’ unions have been telling us all summer that this is not the case. The University refused to lower tuition fees, claiming that online learning will be just as smooth as in-person classes. Let’s hold them to their word!

If you’ve got a complaint about your virtual learning experience, let us know by submitting this form. We’ll use the various tools at our disposal to lobby on your behalf.