Online Proctoring: A Look at the Software that are Watching You

Teacher Blogger  |  By Kathleen G 

e1It was in 2018, during the end of my second undergraduate degree, when I first heard the term “online proctoring”. Until that time, and throughout my other undergraduate experiences, exams had always been synonymous with a classroom and a person standing at the front.  The concept of having an online proctor made a ton sense. Many for credit degrees and courses have made the move to completely online, so it made sense that the required proctored exams followed.  Many students make use of these services for various reasons including convenience, flexibility and accessibility – many of the same reasons people choose online education over face-to-face education in the first place. It seems like the perfect match.

What is Online Proctoring?

e2So, what exactly is online proctoring? Well, to start, it differs from remote proctoring, although these terms are sometimes used synonymously.  The term online proctoring is a very specific term that describes a student’s exam being proctored by a human with the use of the internet and a webcam (Foster & Layman, 2013).  Remote proctoring is different as it can describe an exam that takes place anywhere outside what is considered the standard testing area (testing site, proctor that comes to the house, etc.) (Foster & Layman, 2013). While the perception is that this technology is relatively new in the last few years, it really isn’t. While many more software companies have emerged, the first company, Kryterion, emerged back in 2006 (Foster & Layman, 2013).  Other popular companies include ProctorU, which I will discuss the most in this blog because of personal experience.

The Good, The Bad, and The Awkward…Has Anyone Evaluated the Evaluators?

So, I am sure you are thinking, “That sounds great; tell me more!” So, let’s talk about the pros and cons. As in most decisions, there are positives and many negatives that need to be considered; but let’s look at this as a glass half full situation and look at some positives first. In 2013, David Foster of Caveon Test Security and Harry Layman of The College Board put together a report that compared these systems called Online Proctoring Systems Compared. In this article they listed the three valuable benefits to adopt online proctoring vs traditional proctoring (Foster & Layman, 2013):

e4Traditional proctoring is not as secure as we once thought. Online proctoring addresses these weaknesses. Online proctoring can detect cheating JUST as much as in person proctoring – possibly better.

On-site proctors are not always trained and motivated to ensure the academic integrity required. Not all are instructors or teaching assistants, and some may even be volunteers.

Proctoring software is becoming more capable, which is gaining the attention of many students and institutions.

Continue reading “Online Proctoring: A Look at the Software that are Watching You”

Gauging Googles’ Gains: A K-6 Educators Perspective

Teacher Blogger  |  By Lori 

google apps for edThe Google for Education (GSuite) website claims it has the potential to make learning accessible for all and research has begun to evaluate its efficacy. Astute educators rely on research to inform their practice and then further evaluate whether or not assistive technologies truly have the ability to transform student learning or if they are simply a reflection of oligarchic infiltration of educational institutions. While educational stakeholders recognize the value of quantitative research in supporting pedagogic decision-making, strong qualitative lived research is more valuable in informing the design of educational experiences, which remains a critical consideration in the authenticity of inclusive education practices. According to Perelmutter, McGregor & Gordon (2017), “if Assistive Technology helps learning purely in a numerical sense, but is uncomfortable or socially stigmatizing to use, then advocating for it might cause more harm than good” (p. 2). 

Pessimistic Past

With little success and much frustration using past assistive technologies, it seemed as if Google’s intelligent web-based apps, extensions and add-ons would miraculously transform student learning experiences with the click of a mouse. While every teacher at my school received a short Professional Learning workshop in Google for Education, I was one of the lucky three educators on our staff of thirty-five who was further trained in implementing Google for Education as an assistive technology for students with exceptionalities. This training would serve me well and would have also benefited dozens of other educators on staff who could not receive the training due to logistical, budgetary and policy constraints. 

Friend or Foe

Specialized training made me extremely eager to implement GSuite after I was gifted the opportunity to work one-on-one with an amazing student who attended school for partial day programming, but with whom I had already connected given our shared enthusiasm for maker education and various digital technologies. The process was unhurried and I was patient because I knew that I needed and wanted to really know my student and build a trusting relationship in order to get them to continue coming into the building every day, which was a major challenge and the most important goal decided upon by our Special Services Team.  Continue reading “Gauging Googles’ Gains: A K-6 Educators Perspective”