Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

MA English




James Daniel, PhD


Mary Balkun, PhD


composition, pedagogy, educational technology, surveillance, capitalism, proctoring software


This paper explores the impact of implementing the proctoring software Honorlock in the collegiate writing classroom. Through a framework inspired by Shoshana Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance Capitalism and Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, the investigation analyzes the efficacy of Honorlock’s attempts to reduce plagiarism and student test-taking anxiety when applied to preliminary writing assessments in Seton Hall University’s First Year Writing program. With professor interviews, surveys, and observations, the paper exposes the flaws of Honorlock’s promise of student empowerment and honesty by dissecting the punitive language used in their marketing material to potential and current consumers, administrators and professors. The well-intentioned enforcement of Honorlock and its features, such as continuously monitoring and analyzing their digitized essays and physical appearance, creates a “culture of suspicion.” As a result, the physical first-year writing classroom transforms into a den of surveillance. Ultimately, this project aims to reveal the limitations of Honorlock’s capabilities, namely its inability to function seamlessly with essay-based assignments through the learning management system Canvas in the composition classroom. Lastly, I will provide professors solutions focused on assignment construction and anxiety reduction within students that will help students create self-authored essays without connecting invasive proctoring software to two major timed assessments, the directed self-placement survey and diagnostic essay.