The Rise of Online Proctoring

Irene Tsahas June 24, 2020
If you have taken any kind of exam, you know what a proctor is. They are the anonymous individuals who pass out exams. Then, they pace up and down the room and sometimes stand over your shoulder watching your every move while you take the test. This is also the person who announces that time is up and collects your exam regardless of whether or not you’ve completed it. Today, proctoring is being conducted online.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has sent millions of college students home for the remainder of the semester, colleges and universities are racing to sign deals with online proctoring companies to ensure academic integrity and prevent cheating on online exams. The market for online proctoring is expanding at a fast rate so let’s explore what online proctoring is all about.   
What is it?
There are three main types of proctoring:
  1. Live Online Proctoring, a proctor monitors the students’ camera, microphone, and screen during the test.
  2. Recorded Proctoring involves the recorded audio-video and screen share feeds of students. A proctor then \plays back these recordings in search of suspicious activity.
  3. Advanced Automated Proctoring again records in real-time but also monitors the feeds for any suspicious activity such as eye motion using advanced video and audio analytics.
How does it work?
  • The application accesses the student’s webcam, microphone, and screen for the duration of the assessment. 
  • Student confirms identity by holding up an ID to the camera or through other kinds of identity checks like facial recognition. 
  • Students might be asked to type a short phrase so their keystrokes can be analyzed and compared to previous samples.
  • A lockdown mechanism may be used to prevent students from accessing web browsers and blocking of copy-paste options.
What are the drawbacks?
While online proctoring systems do provide a way to avert cheating, the lockdown software and webcam recording make users uncomfortable as to who is gaining access to this information. Students say the surveillance software forces them to choose between privacy and their grades. To reduce the stress of online proctoring, it is important to let students know exactly what to expect when it comes to privacy.  The pros of online proctoring outweigh the cons. Online proctoring effectively addresses the challenge of conducting honest assessments from a remote location by deterring a considerable amount of misconduct. Additionally, it provides a way to validate online learning for accreditation. The use of online proctoring ensure academic honesty in today’s current landscape; this will allow schools to increase online course offerings even when students are allowed back on campus. Watch out- online proctoring is here to stay.   

Irene Tsahas

Irene is associated with Magic EdTech as a Marketing Research associate and has helped platforms, content services, and technology team at Magic cross-functionally to shape the account plans for its customers.