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4 Advantages of Online Proctoring in Higher Education

November 13, 2019

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As distance learning in higher education becomes more prevalent, so has the need for online proctoring during exam time. Online exam proctoring systems bring many advantages to both the student and the academic institution by allowing students to take exams on their own computers from any location. The right online proctoring solution ensures that the academic integrity of a student taking an exam online is the same as that of a student sitting in front of a live proctor in a classroom or testing center. 

There are two different methods of online proctoring:

  • Live Online Proctoring: During a live session, a student schedules a test session in advance and is monitored by a live proctor when they log in to take their exam. It’s standard for the proctor to have the student scan the room with their web cam and then scan their ID for verification. The proctor can see and hear the student throughout the session and handles any rule violations (such as looking at books or using a calculator) according to the institution’s rules. A report is generated and provided to document any rules violations or issues. 

  • Record and Review Proctoring: Record and Review proctoring is exactly what it sounds like. Students can take their exam on demand with no appointment required. The exam session is recorded in its entirety, including a room scan with webcam audio and video as well as ID verification. After the record and review exam session, a proctor will then review the exam for potential issues or instances of possible cheating. The proctor will flag those instances for review and then provide an integrity report to the institution.

Institutions implementing online proctoring generally seek to accomplish two main goals: curtailing cheating during online exams and providing a better test-taker experience. In order for an online proctoring platform to accomplish those goals and be supported by the various stakeholders in academia, it should fulfill four basic principles:  

1. It must instill greater exam integrity.

The ideal online proctoring system must authenticate the identity of the student, monitor real-time exam conditions, and lock down the testing computer from performing any task other than taking the examination. 

Using the Lockdown Browser Feature, the test taker’s workstation can be locked down, which prevents any access and communications to external resources. This system lock down also prevents test takers from copying and distributing test content. 

An institution can also use the recorded test session as proof of exam integrity, assuring students, parents, and employers that the awarded college degree holds the expected value. 

Ultimately, the institution wants faculty to be comfortable promoting online testing, student to feel like they are testing on a level playing field, and those valuing the online degree to be sure that it demonstrates the knowledge and accomplishments of the student.

2. It must be cost effective.

The ideal online exam proctoring system must move from a model that is dependent on large numbers of live proctors to an online method that allows a greater number of tests to be monitored by a smaller amount of resources. This process also increases the consistency of the process, thus improving fairness. 

3. It must be convenient.

The ideal online exam proctoring system must be flexible and take into consideration student lifestyle needs. Students take online classes specifically because they are convenient. A testing system that requires them to leave their home defeats that purpose. 

If no live proctors are required for testing, this allows students to take the exam at any hour without impacting existing resources – or requiring additional ones. Also, this model can be used for any exam, test, or quiz several times a year, providing a faster return on investment. 

4. It must be safe and secure.

It’s essential to provide online security for students. Students and the institution must be comfortable that the proctoring platform and the people behind it are professional and responsible. If your online proctoring solution and data collection aren't secure, there is a risk that the student population will not adopt it, which can lead to increasing institutional operating costs which, in turn, could lead to program failure.

The Bottom Line:  

Online proctoring allows higher education institutions to offer classroom-type security and integrity along with the convenience of anytime learning. A secure online proctoring system fulfills the integrity goals of everyone involved – the university, staff, and students.  

Webinar Outside In Putting The User At The Center Of The Online Proctoring Experience

Douglas M. Winneg Douglas M. Winneg is the Executive Vice President, PSI Services LLC. Doug has worked in the Academic and Certification Assessment space for 18 years. Both as head of the PSI Services Education group, and prior to that as CEO and founder of Software Secure, acquired by PSI in 2016, Doug has designed assessment systems and services with a single objective, to promote test integrity. As CEO of Software Secure, he was the designer of the company’s patented Securexam Lockdown technology and Remote Proctor products. Doug has lead the design of secure computer-based testing systems for higher education and K-12 online education programs and national certification providers in the United States, Canada, The Netherlands and The United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa. Doug received his J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from Swarthmore College.

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