LAW STUDENTS have been using the Retina Touch Bar on their Apple Macbook Pro machines to cheat their bar exams, leading to a decision by North Carolina Exam Board bosses to enforce a ban on the functionality.
A notice posted today says: "Please be advised that the Announcing Proctor will make an announcement at the start of the exam session asking anyone who is using a Mac Book Pro with Touch Bar to raise their hand so that a proctor or ExamSoft technician can come to their seat and ensure that the Touch Bar has been disabled."
The Touch Bar is designed to create "soft keys" which can then be configured for quick access to certain programs or websites, but it can be programmed to do a lot more. We recently showed how it could be programmed to run a fully functioning version of the classic game Doom independently of the main display.
As such, it could, in theory, be used to access the internet, despite ExamSoft, the company that provides the software for the exam using a package called SofTest, designing its software to stop BYOD users from accessing the internet, or any files not relevant to the exam.
Additionally, it could be set to offer predictive text, which could act as a prompt to students as they write.
But it seems that North Carolina is one of the gentler states on the matter. ExamSoft has said that in New York and California, for example, the Touch Bar is banned from the exam room altogether, and candidates have to find an alternative computer to work on.
The New York exam rules state: "If you bring a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar to the examination, you will NOT be permitted to use it, it will be removed from your desk and you will be required to handwrite the answers to the essay questions"
How will they cope? INQ remembers that not so long ago, the idea of taking a computer into an exam would have been unthinkable. µ
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