No sooner has the most unprecedented and disrupted academic term in modern history finished, than colleges and university administrators must make difficult decisions about their plans for the 2020-21 academic year. You can see what your likely options are in our previous blog entry.
As an increasing number of schools redesign their courses to give students the greatest chance of success from an online environment, exam proctoring systems offered by companies such as Honorlock are being called on to help ensure the integrity of academic assessments. The best are grounded in a student-centric approach that results in features that empower rather than punish.
Let’s take a look at how Honorlock’s capabilities compare with other online proctoring services.
Faculty Content Protection
A common worry of course instructors is that their test questions will appear elsewhere online. Search and Destroy™, Honorlock’s proprietary test bank removal technology, seeks out and eliminates unauthorized copies of test questions. Test bank websites have made leaked test questions too tempting for certain students to find and share, and no other proctoring company searches for and removes that content for the school. Dr. Juliette Mersiowsky of Longwood University reports that Honorlock’s Search and Destroy feature “surprised and delighted” her faculty. For added protection, we also prevent students from copying, pasting, and printing during the exam. Instructors using Honorlock rest easy knowing they won’t have to create new test questions each term.
Dr. Jill Simpson of the University of North Alabama trialed four different online proctoring solutions over two years after her school’s faculty reported that some students “felt that they were being penalized because they were NOT cheating.” One solution could effectively verify students’ identities, but it wasn’t easy to use. Moreover, the exam report took two weeks to get to faculty, in many cases after grades were due which meant that it was too late to address potential infractions. Honorlock’s real-time reporting freed UNA faculty from this dilemma.
Integration with your LMS and Third-Party Exams
Students want minimal administrative hassle in the first few moments before taking an exam. Anything that adds more tension to an already stressful situation is best avoided. Honorlock provides a frictionless experience thanks to our browser extension for Chrome that can be added in 30 seconds and then easily deleted after the student completes the exam. Other online proctoring systems require students to take extra time downloading and familiarizing themselves with bulky proprietary software —which also gives rise to privacy concerns among students. Honorlock can also seamlessly integrate our security with multiple third-party exams systems such as MyMathLab, ALEKS, Pearson, and McGraw Hill.
Detecting the Use of Secondary Device
Any minimally effective online proctoring system will ensure that students cannot freely access other tabs or windows. The most significant challenge, meanwhile, is how to prevent students from accessing study materials or test answers via smartphones or tablets. Honorlock has patented a first-in-the-industry system to solve this problem. During the exam, Honorlock detects the use of secondary devices, prevents them from accessing test bank information, and takes a screen recording of the attempted infarction. The result is that students are rewarded for their demonstrated knowledge and the integrity of your courses and degrees is sustained.
Relevant Voice Detection in Real-Time
Some competitors offer simple alerts that faculty tell us detect too many sounds that may occur during an exam session. Over-flagging incidental sounds annoys faculty and puts unnecessary stress on students. Honorlock’s AI delivers a smarter voice detection system that reduces false flags and gives students who like to read questions aloud the peace of mind that they will not be penalized improperly. Honorlock’s Voice Detection feature listens for more than just specific keywords or phrases, such as “Hey Siri” or OK Google.” When a valid issue arises it immediately alerts a live proctor who will pop into the exam session via chat to determine whether the student is acting appropriately.
Live vs. AI Proctoring
Honorlock offers the Goldilocks approach when it comes to Live vs. AI proctoring. Some completely automated services record the test-taking session and then review it afterward. One of these, as reviewed by Dr. Simpson, was fine with students but not faculty as it was clunky and could not verify student identities. On the other hand, live proctoring that verifies identities by forcing students to schedule a specific exam time has its own drawbacks. A student who misses the appointment may have to pay a fee and then wait 24 hours to reschedule. Imagine the calamity if the exam in question was set to close before those 24 hours had expired!
Having a proctor’s face hovering in a box on the student’s screen serves mostly to increase test anxiety— “creepy” is a common way for students to describe the experience. Honorlock avoids both this problem and scheduling frustration with a blended on-demand solution that verifies each student’s identity quickly and easily and monitors their tests via AI. Should a potential violation occur, one of our 24/7/365 certified proctoring team is alerted. They will see an analysis window first, then pause the student’s exam and “Pop-in” via chat box to redirect the student. A live proctor must catch infractions live or else miss them, which can be a serious challenge when watching up to 10 students simultaneously for extended periods. When our certified Live Pop-In proctor is alerted by the AI, the proctor focuses exclusively on the one student.
The ideal exam proctoring service will be welcomed by both faculty and students. It will uphold academic integrity while respecting each student’s privacy. Honorlock is not an intrusive application—it’s not an application at all. Our lightweight Chrome browser extension has access only to basic information: the student’s IP address, email address, and name from the LMS. We also store the student’s Photo and ID for a limited period of time after the exam, in case the school requires those for authentication. We do not share or sell that information to third parties.
It takes a lot of effort to make the complicated seem simple, which is a considerable part of the genius that sets Honorlock apart. Honorlock’s minimal intrusiveness and maximum ease of use, backed up by world-class always-available US-based support allows students to focus on their academic success and school administrators and faculty to preserve the value of your degrees and programs.