Stories abound within academia of the anxiety-ridden, round-the-clock work that thousands of college instructors and tech support staff put in during the months of March and April, and then again in the summer of 2020, to adjust to the demands created by the pandemic. It was a big enough challenge to adapt to online teaching, but then an additional one to figure out how your examinations would be delivered. Some were able to make the transition more seamlessly than others, but no one escaped unscathed.
The many instructors who had been using web proctoring solutions for years before the coronavirus managed to avoid the learning curve that those new to the process faced. They gave advice to colleagues via video calls and message boards, and all faculty did what they could to support each other during the unprecedented transition.
But where do we go from here? We hear good news about vaccines, but their distribution may not be widespread enough during the 2020-21 academic year to send us back to “normal.” Here are a few things to reassure faculty as they contemplate preparing for an uncertain climate in 2021.
Web proctored exams save time
While Honorlock was built by students for students, we could not be successful without making instructors’ lives easier, too. Our intuitive web proctoring software runs with a lightweight Chrome browser extension that doesn’t require any bulky software downloads.
You build your exam in your LMS as you normally would, and then our system collects the information required to create the test. At your convenience, you can activate our proctoring function and decide which features you’d like to use. For example, you can record web activity, disable copy/paste on a student’s computer, deter secondary device usage, and forbid external monitors. Our extensive options will provide you with confidence in the integrity of your students’ testing experience.
Following the test, our certified test proctors review each student’s session and swiftly notify you of any violations of your guidelines. It all boils down to reducing your administrative load so that you are free to focus on your teaching and, let’s not forget, your own research.
Online proctoring bolsters academic integrity
Educational institutions are invested in the academic integrity of their exams and programs as a whole. You want to know that what you are teaching is actually being learned. Your students want you to affirm that they are on the right track, and give them advice on how to improve. At the same time, they want to know that they are competing on a level playing field with their peers. Your institution depends on academic integrity to build and sustain its local, regional, and national reputation. The general public benefits by having more citizens who are educated and honest.
A common criticism of online proctoring is that its safeguards can too easily be circumvented, but we now have the advanced technology to act as a successful deterrent. If it is easier to cheat on an online exam, more students may be tempted who normally would not consider doing so. A student taking an exam proctored remotely by Honorlock will be less likely to look up an answer on their phone thanks to our Multi-Device Detection software. A student who wants to post your exam answers up online after the test, so that next semester’s class can access them, will be foiled by our Search and Destroy™ technology. That means you won’t have to make up new questions for every similar exam from semester to semester.
Whitelisting and Real-time Reporting
During a proctored exam, you can authorize students to be able to access specific, approved information during their online exam. Simply whitelist the particular web pages and applications you’d like to permit. Before the exam begins, a student uses their webcam to scan the room for any other people as well as unapproved resources, and our AI system recognizes when students get up from their desks or start talking to a third party. Our live proctors will then intervene to get them back on track (perhaps their roommate simply wandered in on a personal errand). After the exam, our report of potential incidents and a time-stamped recording will allow you to review so you can protect the integrity of your students’ learning experience.
Always available support for virtual proctored exams
We understand the frustrations some online exam proctoring systems create. In addition to providing a smooth and intuitive interface, Honorlock provides 24/7/365 support for you and your students. Exams are hard enough without technical problems knocking your students off course. And the last thing you want is to have students call you in a panic in the middle of their exam! No need to turn off your phone: our support team is available any time of the day or night to help troubleshoot problems and get your students back on track.
When Paula Rodriguez joined Colorado State University as the director of the university’s testing center in 2017, she was almost immediately approached by faculty unhappy with their online proctoring system. Though they were locked into a contract at the time, she was able to run a pilot with Honorlock. “Faculty absolutely loved it,” Rodriguez said.
CSU chose Honorlock from the seven companies bidding to become their new web proctoring service provider, thanks to the excellent feedback from CSU’s faculty and students. “Since we made the switch,” Rodriguez said, “everything has been great . . . I am really happy with our Customer Success Manager! The level of consistent communication and feeling like we are special is not something you get often.”
Ready for 2021
Honorlock is built to be convenient for instructors and students so you can focus on teaching and they can focus on learning. None of us can be sure exactly how things are going to go during the rest of this academic year, or how recognizable the following year will be, but if your school uses Honorlock, you can rest easy knowing that your web proctored exams will go off without a hitch.
Want to see the process in action? Request a demo.
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