As COVID-19 continues to impact the US, colleges are rapidly moving to online learning—an abrupt and jarring transition for many students and faculty. In most places, all courses will be offered online at least through the end of the summer, and most colleges and universities haven’t decided if Fall courses will also be online-only. So, what does this mean for students?
For those of you who are already learning online, very little about your schooling structure has changed. However, for students who had intentionally chosen an on-the-ground, in-person learning experience, this might feel like quite a loss. Not only are you being asked to learn new technologies and maintain your grades during a global pandemic, you’re probably missing the on-campus connection with faculty and classmates.
Online Learning: The Practicalities
In addition to processing this entirely new dynamic, you probably have some logistical and privacy concerns as you make the switch to online learning. We don’t blame you—learning a new technology is challenging enough in itself without the additional pressure of doing it overnight. So, we want to take some time to ease your worries and help you understand how Honorlock collects and uses your data.
For starters, we want you to know how seriously we take your privacy. Honorlock was founded by college students—we get the worries and frustrations that often accompany online learning, and our goal has always been to make those things better.
One of the ways we do this is by maintaining a commitment to honesty. We understand why you might have some concerns about using our platform, so we want to be completely open about what information we collect from you, how we collect it, how (and how long) we store it, and how we use it. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what Honorlock asks from you, how that compares to other proctoring services, and what else you need to know about protecting your privacy during online exams.
How Honorlock Works
Unlike some live online proctoring services, Honorlock doesn’t require you to download any software—all you need to do is install a Google Chrome extension, a process that takes about 30 seconds and helps protect your privacy.
Because all of our exams are proctored through a web extension, your data is extra secure. Throughout the entire exam process, Honorlock has no access to your computer, operating system, or network. Our online proctoring system can’t read, change, or modify data, and it also can’t access or interact with any secondary storage devices. Everything stays self-contained in your browser—and we only use it during the exam. Plus, if concerns persist, you can simply uninstall the extension as soon as your exam is over (since re-installing it for your next exam is so easy).
What Information Does Honorlock Gather?
You’re probably wondering what this all means on a practical level. What, exactly, does Honorlock gather during your exam? The short answer is that we gather as little as possible.
● Using our Chrome extension, we gather your IP address.
● Using your school’s LMS, we also gather your name and email address.
● During the exam, we capture a screen recording and a webcam recording.
● To verify your identity, we’ll also ask you to take a photo of yourself as well as your student ID.
That’s it. You won’t be required to create an account or password—everything about our online proctoring system can be accessed through your LMS. We also don’t access your webcam outside of your exam—as soon as you’re done testing, we stop using it. And, as always, if you continue to be concerned, you can just uninstall the extension and reinstall for your next exam.
The data we collect is for the sole purpose of verifying your identity and ensuring academic integrity. We’ll never sell or share your data and, after six months, it is purged from our system. Plus, while we have it stored, we make sure it’s encrypted and secured—everything at Honorlock meets industry standards with AES-256 block encryption. Also, as an AWS partner, Honorlock follows federal NIST 800-88 guidelines for proof of data/drive destruction.
What about Mobile Devices?
You may have heard that Honorlock can detect the use of secondary devices. Here’s the real deal: we do not have access to your mobile devices. It’s true that our system can create and send alerts if you attempt to search for answers, but those alerts are based on the sites you might visit—not your device. We never have access to your mobile device’s operating system or information—not during your exam and not at any point after.
Using Honorlock’s Online Proctoring System
We know that for many of you online education wasn’t part of the plan. Our goal is to help you make the best of a challenging situation. As you adjust to using Honorlock’s online proctoring system, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our support agents with questions—they’re here for you 24/7/365.
We wish you all the best as you transition to online learning and will be cheering you on as you finish your semester!