The 2020-21 academic year will be like none that has ever come before. Millions of students will be starting their formal college experience in circumstances that only a few infectious disease experts (and, of course, Bill Gates) ever predicted could be possible. But the educational spirit is strong, and schools and professors are eager to deliver an optimal experience for everyone. If you are entering the world of online education for the first time, you may take a while to get used to the environment. And, no sooner will you have made the adjustment than you may be required to take your first online exam. Such an exam is likely to incorporate a web proctoring solution chosen by your school. Looking for some background about why this is happening and a few basics as to how you can meet the challenge? Read on.

Online Exams aren’t Going Away

Your job as a student is to learn as much as possible however your classes are delivered, and then to demonstrate your acquired knowledge in formal assessments. These assessments may include term papers, lab reports, group projects, and, of course, online exams. By now it shouldn’t be a surprise that online testing platforms are here to stay and will play an important role in higher education for decades to come. Your first college exam is bound to be exciting, perhaps even intimidating, but there’s no reason to think that it should be any more so because you’re taking an exam that uses remote proctoring software. 

But Why is This Really Happening?

The Federal government requires your institution to “verify the identity of students to ensure those who register for an online course are the ones who participate.” It makes sense, right? You want to receive proper credit for the work that you do and both your school and our society in general also want you to receive that credit. Consider it from another angle: in many fields you are in competition with others. Remote proctoring software helps provide the level playing field so that you can do your best in your online exam, content in the knowledge that no one else is going to be able to gain an unfair advantage over you.

Make Sure You Stay Connected

The internet works most reliably when it’s plugged in! Wi-Fi and mobile hotspots can be perfectly OK, but if you can get yourself hooked up to a broadband connection, you can reduce your chances of being kicked off during your exam. You’ll also want to ensure that your webcam and microphone are working properly, as both are integral to a successful web proctored exam. If you use a wireless mouse or keyboard, you may also wish to check their batteries—every click and tap counts!

Know the Exam Instructions in Advance

Innumerable exam-takers wait until the last minute to read the directions for exams that had been shared with them well ahead of time. Keep out of this group. Instead, take the time to become familiar with your instructor’s guidelines in advance. Learn what they will allow you to have with you (a separate calculator, for example), and what will they completely forbid (also possibly a separate calculator—get the idea?). Knowing what will be expected of you will help you relax. You’ll be able to focus on the test material rather than find yourself in a sudden panic at the last minute because the directions surprise you.

Set Up Your Exam Room Properly

Make sure that your testing environment is ready for your online proctored exam as well. Is the room sufficiently lit? Will it be quiet enough for you to concentrate? Have you cleared up around your study area? Is it possible to lock or otherwise block the door so as to protect your space from wandering parents, siblings, or housemates? When it comes time to sit down and take your exam, you want your face to be seen, your desk to be clean, and your mood to be serene. 

Logging on to Your Exam

Honorlock was built by students for students, so everything we do is meant to make your online exam experience as seamless and painless as possible. Honorlock is a simple Chrome browser extension that will take you moments to install and then seconds to delete, should you choose to do so following your exam. Once you’ve taken care of your room, desk, and computer, you will be ready to begin. Make sure you have your Student ID, as you will hold it up to your webcam so that the AI can match it to your face (this is the government-mandated identity verification part noted above). You’ll then do a 360-degree sweep of your testing area with your webcam so as to demonstrate that the only materials in your immediate vicinity are the materials approved for use by your instructor in the course.

During the Exam

And you’re off! Intently focused on showing your instructor that you know your stuff. With Honorlock, a proctor’s face won’t be hovering in a corner of your screen, potentially freaking you out. 

Honorlock was actually created by students for students. We didn’t like that sort of online proctoring, and we figured that you wouldn’t either.  Instead, you’ll be monitored by artificial intelligence. Should a potential incident occur (say you get up from the computer unexpectedly, or suddenly start speaking with someone else who has come into the room), the AI will notify one of our always available certified live proctors, who may then “pop-in” via chat box to make sure everything is going fine and that you haven’t breached the guidelines set down by your instructor. If you are someone who likes to read exam questions aloud to yourself, you will not have to worry that you’ll be accused of cheating. Your instructor receives a report immediately following the exam and he or she is the person who will determine whether any breaches of academic standards have taken place.

The process, and the goal, is always to provide you with the most convenient, most secure, and least stressful online exam experience. Good luck with your studies!

If you’re a student and you are looking for support on how to use Honorlock, please chat with one of our ready support specialists here.

If you’re a faculty member who is looking for a remote proctoring solution and you would like to speak to an Honorlock sales representative, please click on request a demo here.