Fortunately, due to fast technological development, there is a great variety of remote proctoring services that help educators uphold academic honesty in the digital environment. This article will explore what proctoring software is, how it works, its types, key features, and everything you need to know to ensure the security of online exams.
What Is Proctoring Software?
Proctoring software is technology that allows educational institutions to uphold the safety and integrity of remote assessments. It runs on a student’s device and helps to eliminate academic dishonesty by verifying the test-taker’s identity and invigilating them via audio and video feeds throughout the entire examination process. Depending on the type of proctoring solution, an online exam can involve a human invigilator or be supervised automatically.
Educational institutions usually implement online proctoring to:
- ensure the integrity of the academic course;
- protect their reputation;
- provide assistance during online tests.
What Are the Types of Online Proctoring Software?
The most common types of online proctoring software include live remote, recorded, and automated (also known as AI) proctoring. Let’s have a closer look at their distinguishing characteristics.
Live Remote Proctoring
This type of proctoring has much in common with class-based tests. It involves a human invigilator who monitors the entire examination process in real time via students’ webcams and microphones. Live remote proctoring is an optimal solution for high-stakes exams where a human examinator can not only deter cheating, but also communicate with students if they have any questions.
Recorded proctoring implies the use of special software that records and stores all data during an online exam. Once the testing is complete, a human proctor examines the audio and video feeds to ensure the integrity of the examination.
Automated (AI) Proctoring
AI proctoring is a cutting-edge solution that doesn’t require a human observer. That means that special software, which runs on a test-taker’s computer, can automatically analyze the information from their screen, video, and audio feed to spot any undesirable activities. This is the most cost- and time-efficient type of proctoring.
Online proctoring software usually comes with some basic features such as:
- Audio and video proctoring that allows live remote proctor or an AI-based technology monitor the examination process via students’ microphone, screen, and web camera.
- Lockdown browser that prevents students from googling information.
- ID check assists to verify students’ identity, comparing the scan of their authentication documents and the webcam image.
Apart from these functionality, remote proctoring solutions help educational instituions eliminate cheating by integrating advanced monitoring features, such as:
- facial detection
- noise detection
- prevention of mobile device use
- content protection
How Does Remote Proctoring Work?
Remote proctoring is usually represented by a cloud-based solution that can easily be integrated into a Learning Management System (LMS) or a test platform. Different types of proctoring come with various customizable features, so educators can configure the assessments in compliance with their objectives. When it comes to the process of test-taking, an online proctored exam usually consists of the following steps:
- Verification. The system verifies students’ identities by comparing an image from their web cameras and a photo or a scan of their authentication documents. Once they’ve passed this procedure, they are allowed to commence the test.
- Real time monitoring. Online proctoring implies continuous student invigilation. It helps educators spot and prevent any suspicious activities. Depending on the proctoring type, the role of an observer can be taken by a human proctor or by AI-based software.
- Data storage and review. As soon as the exam is finished, proctoring software analyses the results and forms the reports. It’s important to note, that all audio and video data is recorded and stored, thus, making it possible to review documentation in case of any controversies.
What Are the Advantages of Proctoring Software?
Proctoring software is an advantageous tool for both educational institutions and students. Let’s have a look at some of its important benefits:
- Honest academic environment. Proctoring software is an effective solution to maintain the integrity of online courses. In addition to helping educational institutions protect their reputation, it provides students with a fair learning environment.
- Flexibility. Online proctored exams can be taken anywhere and at any time. Thus, both educators and students can manage their time schedules more efficiently.
- Reduced stress. Students feel more relaxed when taking exams from their homes or other familiar places. Moreover, in the case of recorded and AI-proctored tests, they don’t need to communicate with human examinators.
- Cost efficiency. Online proctoring provides educational institutions with a significant economic advantage. They don’t need to pay administrative costs or hire as many teachers and administrative staff as they would need for offline assessments.
- Value. Online proctoring helps academic institutions build their reputation and, as a result, increase the value of their certificates and degrees.
- Scalability. Online proctoring allows educational institutions to widen their student coverage while maintaining high academic integrity.
Who Needs Online Proctoring Software?
Online proctoring software can be applied in many different spheres. Apart from the academic environment, where it’s widely used for online assessments, it can also be adopted by businesses. Remote proctoring can help them to organize online courses to improve employees’ hard and soft skills, as well as to conduct professional certifications. What's more, it can increase the efficiency of some working processes, for example, recruiting, making it less time-consuming and more cost-effective.
What Are the Software and Hardware Requirements to Take an Online Proctored Exam?
Students who are going to take an online proctored test are usually required to have:
- A computer or laptop that meets the requirements of the proctoring software and has a web camera with a microphone;
- A suitable up-to-date browser;
- A robust internet connection (with a speed usually not less than 256 kbps);
- Another device with a camera (phone or tablet) for a better view of the test-taking place.
Online proctoring solutions have gained immense popularity in the era of remote learning. They ensure the integrity and safety of online exams, provide both students and teachers with greater flexibility, and significantly reduce the stress during important assessments.
The wide choice of remote proctoring services allows every educational institution to find a solution that will best meet their needs. When it comes to students, they don’t require any particular hardware or software. All they need is a desktop computer or laptop and a stable internet connection.
What can proctoring software see?
Online proctoring software runs on the test-taker’s device. Thus, before commencing the test, the student is usually asked to provide access to the computer’s web camera and microphone. Without permission, proctoring software can’t have access to the video feed, the screen of an examinee, or any computer files.
Can proctoring software see my screen?
Proctoring software can see the screen of a test-taker only after being granted permission. This is how it monitors the entire examination process and spots any suspicious activities. It cannot have access to your computer and its files without your knowledge.
What happens if you get caught cheating on a proctored exam?
Different academic institutions apply various penalties for cheating on online proctored exams. If the proctoring system red-flags any undesirable activities, depending on the type, it can either signal the live proctor or create a report, which can be reviewed after the test is finished.