What is online proctoring?
The education industry is witnessing a tremendous transformation with the emerging technologies that have enabled online learning. Furthermore, the pandemic has given a major boost to online education, forcing schools and higher educational institutions to conduct classes online. And even once the pandemic is behind us, online education as a supplement to classroom learning is likely to be the new normal.
Examinations are an integral aspect of education. With classes shifting online there was naturally a need to also conduct exams online. Schools, colleges and universities are now looking to conduct examinations online without any compromise to the feasibility, convenience, security and experience of the instructors and students. And online proctoring seems to be the way forward.
Online proctoring, also known as remote proctoring, is a software solution that enables students to take an online exam without any compromise to its quality. The online proctoring solution confirms a student’s identity and monitors their progress throughout the examination using a web-cam to flag any suspicious activity or behavior. The web-cam is integrated with AI software to track student activity during an examination. With online proctoring, online educators can become online invigilators, powered with a tool to recognize, approve, track and monitor candidates in all remote locations.
How does online proctoring work?
An online proctoring solution records and monitors every examination session from beginning to the end, while also detecting and deterring any academic misconduct such as cheating. The software includes biometric authentication such as ID scan, face scan and room scan on entry. The webcam captures images, desktop screens and chat logs to safeguard against any suspicious activity, for instance, students leaving the room or leaning away from their webcam. Besides, it also includes a lockdown mechanism to prevent students from accessing their web browsers and other applications during the tests. In sum, online proctoring makes cheating very difficult, in fact, even more difficult than a physical invigilator in a classroom. Some of the actions it can track include:
- When a student leaves the room
- When another person enters the room
- Track eye and head movement of the examinee – so if the student looks down or away for a certain period, the online proctoring solution flags it as an unauthorized activity
- Track and monitor any unauthorized use of device during the test
- Determine proxy examinee instead of the candidate
Advantages of online proctoring
Online proctoring enables the examiner to conduct, evaluate and assess examinations anywhere and anytime. Then there are other added benefits to consider, some of which are as follows:
- Cuts down on logistics cost: Online proctoring does away with the costs needed to conduct physical tests and transport examination sheets and staff to and from the test centres.
- Enter new markets: With online classes, universities, colleges and schools can have virtual campuses anywhere in and outside the country.
- Plug and play technology: Online proctoring technology is designed to integrate with existing IT infrastructure and so it helps educational institutions to reduce costs and improve their efficiencies.
- Additional features: Apart from monitoring and tracking student activity during an examination, online proctoring solutions also have analytical features that allow universities to identify and build cost-effective online examination systems that enable higher accuracy in preventing cheating.
How to ensure effective online proctoring
Online proctoring offers a range of features to control and intervene in any test scenario. Here are some ways to ensure effective online proctoring.
- Auto proctoring: The AI-based solution can track a large number of candidates taking an examination and flag all suspicious activity. For instance, it can track all activities that take place in front of the camera. So, if a student opens a web browser or application during the test, the online proctoring software will take a screenshot without letting the student know.
- Live proctoring: This solution is an effective combination of human and technology and so offers the best of both the worlds. In live proctoring, an invigilator monitors the video feeds and can intervene in real-time in case the situation demands. Live online proctoring, therefore, adds another layer of security as students take their examination.
- Record and review proctoring: This form of proctoring provides some level of flexibility to the candidates who don’t have a fixed time to take the exam. This type of online proctoring records the candidate’s audio-visual and screen-sharing feeds during the examination. The proctor then reviews the recorded feed and checks for any dubious activity.
While a lot has been said and written about online education, online proctoring is now in the limelight with all educational institutions forced to conduct their examinations remotely in the face of the ongoing pandemic.
Online proctoring is here to stay as it enables cost-effective and accurate monitoring of the entire examination process right from determining the identity of the candidates to monitoring and recording their behavior during an examination. The software includes biometric authentication and camera to record students onscreen activity and also their eye and head movement during a test.
Online proctoring provides invigilators the much needed tools to monitor, record, track and report students’ activity remotely and ensure that all fair practices are followed and maintained during an examination.
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