I am often asked about online proctoring and I point out that the opportunity to have a true partnership with ProctorU, and the ability to design a custom solution to fit the classroom is important.
— Tawnya Means, Assistant Dean and Director of Teaching & Learning Center, College of Business
My experience with ProctorU began in 2009, at the University of Florida in the Warrington College of Business. I was co-teaching a fully online course that regularly enrolls 150-250 students. The course had a mix of on campus and online students and some of the students were unable to use our traditional testing facilities for exams. For example, one student was driving a Wienermobile all over the country for a fabulous internship. We wanted to find a way to support her driving schedule and her ability to take exams remotely. So we started investigating ways that we could support students with online proctoring.
We were evaluating different vendors when ProctorU’s founder, Jarrod Morgan, approached us. We conducted a pilot with ProctorU and our experience was that ProctorU worked well for students and faculty. ProctorU provided a personal touch, and a direct connection for the students with the support they needed, especially for students who were brand new to remote testing. ProctorU was basically bending over backwards to make sure that the students had what they needed to be successful.
That cheating using technology happens like crazy. Or the opposite, that cheating doesn’t happen at all, which is very naïve. There are people who will cheat no matter what, and there are people who will never cheat, and then there’s a whole bunch of people in between who are tempted to cheat if they see an opportunity arise. Because online proctoring captures a lot of opportunistic cheating, people assume that cheating happens more online. I think cheating happens in person as well but a lot of it goes unnoticed in face-to-face proctoring environments.
We went through a number of changes and some growth, both for us and for ProctorU. Through these exchanges we developed a true partnership where we could interact back and forth: This is what we need. Yes, we can build it. This is how we want to support our students. This is what could be better. That back and forth partnership was unique. When I left Florida and started working at Nebraska, they didn’t have online proctoring capabilities here, so again I went through and evaluated about nine different vendors. Ultimately, our decision was to stay with ProctorU given their ability to provide the right blend of technology-based solutions and support in order to make it smooth and successful for students and staff.
I am often asked about online proctoring and I point out that the opportunity to have a true partnership with ProctorU, and the ability to design a custom solution to fit the classroom is important. For example, not everyone will need the full live version or fully automated proctoring. However, the fact that there’s a customized solution available is helpful – from a financial standpoint as well.
One of the things I’m excited about is the combination of having access to real-time, online support from a human as well as automated AI capabilities. If a student encounters an issue, if they’re not completely comfortable with the technology yet, which many of our non-traditional students aren’t, if they are nervous or struggling, or not sure where to go, those issues require a human to help when needed. Additionally, I love having the ability to go in after the fact to review the exam session and make a decision about was this something that the student shouldn’t be doing, or should be doing, that takes a human element too. I’m also excited to see the changes happening with artificial intelligence, and the how the system will learn over time the kinds of things that should be flagged.
Academic integrity is a huge issue for any online program. Having the ability to work toward ensuring that academic integrity is maintained is critical. As more programs go online, there will need to be structures in place to protect exam integrity or we’ll have people running rampant, cheating and making a bad name for online programs. It’s important to maintain the rigor of the program, the reputation of the program and the school, and to let students know – even the students who don’t cheat – that nobody else is cheating. At the same time, you can’t have academic integrity restrictions that cause distractions or make it difficult to learn. The technology needs to be seamless.