Oxford is asking applicants to own a ‘stylus and large touch screen device’ for interviews

Oh yeah sure everybody has one of those

The University of Oxford is asking applicants for certain courses to own a “large touch screen tablet or laptop and a stylus pen” in order to properly complete their new online interview process.

The university has introduced a new “Tier system” for interviews, indicating the level of technology required by applicants. All tiers require a working laptop equipped with speakers, headphones, a camera and Microsoft Teams, but Tier Three requires the whole touch screen bonanza. Moreover, they specify that a mobile phone “is not likely to be suitable.”

According to The Oxford Student, 12 courses require these materials for their interview process: Biochemistry, Chemistry, Computer Science, Computer Science and Philosophy, Earth Sciences, Engineering, Mathematics, Mathematics and Computer Science, Mathematics and Philosophy, Mathematics and Statistics, Physics, and Physics and Philosophy.

One Physics student responded to the news saying: “I have written my entire degree so far on paper and I don’t own a touch screen or stylus, nor do I use one in my tutorials. So why should it be necessary for an interview?”

The need for the touch screen equipment is apparently because applicants will have to “add markings using the ‘draw’ tool to highlight, point to, or annotate an existing image or text, add text using the ‘text’ tool, write out mathematical notation using the ‘draw’ tool with your stylus, as though you were writing on a piece of paper, sketch a diagram using the ‘draw’ tool with your stylus, as though you were drawing on a piece of paper.”

The university has noted that many interviews will take place in schools, so it is the school’s responsibility to make sure these materials are provided.

However, they have offered some help to students who would find these materials hard to acquire. Oxford’s announcement states: “We are already in touch with some applicants’ schools to try and pre-empt any potential issues around access to technology but please encourage your school to contact the college inviting you for interview with any queries. If you are not applying through your school, you can also contact the college inviting you with any issues.”

Oxford University has been contacted for comment.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

The private school power league: The schools producing the most ‘influential’ toffs

• ‘Clothes on, cameras on’: A lecturer’s verdict on online learning

If you have an issue with the Sainsbury’s Christmas advert, you’re racist