Teacher Blogger | By Kathleen G
It 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?
So, 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):
Traditional 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.