This post, the first in a series on academic integrity technologies, looks at the perks of online proctoring tools.
From K-12 to higher ed and even in corporate training, assessment is increasingly moving online. Whether it’s deterring cheating during student exams or verifying someone’s identity during employee assessments, enforcing academic integrity online is becoming a vital priority for educators. This is the first post in a series looking at how technology is keeping online learners honest, starting with online proctoring.
Remote or online proctoring solutions are increasingly gaining traction with educators. In fact, Eduventures predicted that 2016 would be the year that online proctoring goes mainstream.
Online proctoring tools use algorithms and machine learning to deter cheating by automatically identifying cheating-like behavior during online assessments. The tech tracks student behaviors and patterns during the assessment, and platforms often use secure browsers so teachers can decide how much flexibility students have to access certain web pages or applications.
They’re also one more tool in an arsenal that instructors are using to break down geographic barriers to flexible learning; learners can take tests remotely – no more having to travel to testing centres to be proctored.
“Educators want to continue to evolve and embrace new technologies that allow them to expand their existing footprint and provide more educational opportunities for students,” says Velvet Nelson, Chief Learning Officer/Co-Founder at online proctoring service ProctorFree (a partner of D2L). “Online proctoring does that because it allows institutions to expand their examinations beyond the classroom.”
Beyond automated digital cheating deterrence and greater accessibility, there are many other perks that online proctoring solutions can offer educators. With adoption rates starting to skyrocket, we thought we’d highlight six other key features people should know about:
Easy access for learners and instructors
When online proctoring solutions are integrated with learning platforms, they can offer learners and instructors easy, one-click access to assessments. All students have to do is login to their learning platform to launch the proctoring tool, for a single sign-on experience.
When instructors are setting up an online exam or assessment, they don’t need to create a spreadsheet with students’ names and IDs – that’s all in the learning platform. They can put together their assessment as they normally would, and incorporate all the necessary student info with the click of a button.
Online proctoring solutions can help instructors better serve learners with disabilities, and who need special accommodations, by allowing them to take assessments from the comfort of their own home at their convenience.
To use online proctoring, students must set up a virtual ID and profile using a webcam and verification tech, including biometric facial recognition, to match them every time they login to the system. This allows instructors to easily verify their students’ identities so they can learn who they are, what they look like and their learning patterns.
Insight into student learning patterns
Online proctoring solutions will usually provide instructors with exam recordings for every student who takes an examination using the proctoring software, as well as comprehensive reports that look at students’ activity during every minute of the examination. Instructors can use this information to see how students test, and analyze the exam recordings to glean insights into learning patterns, like if there are specific problems that trouble certain students, or if a class didn’t respond well to a certain kind of question.
Professional review with human proctors
Online proctoring solutions aren’t always just about using algorithms. Some, like ProctorFree for example, also have human proctors audit and provide professional reviews of the results of their automated solutions to eliminate false positives or anything that might taint the results of an assessment report.