One of the big success stories of this tumultuous era of higher education during a global pandemic has been the way web proctoring companies have been working overtime to help schools and faculty members make the necessary adjustments, often on the fly, to fulfill their vital mission. Honorlock’s distinctive success in this rapidly expanding field has recently been recognized by Inc. magazine, where we are listed at #236 in the top 5000 fastest-growing private companies.
We didn’t get there by suddenly appearing in January with the pandemic – we’ve been building our remote proctoring business since 2015. Let’s have a look at how remote proctoring is not just a remedy for a temporary illness, so to speak, but an elixir that is helping institutions and programs transform themselves for a healthier future.
The Nightmare of Sleeping Through an Exam
Plenty of today’s professors (and even a few deans) can tell stories of being up late studying hard for a final exam as undergraduates, head hitting the pillow soon after they had convinced themselves that they were as ready as they could possibly be for the next day’s exam, only to sleep through their alarm and wake up to the horror of having to race across campus with no breakfast or even coffee. Some of today’s residential students have had a similar experience, and if it hasn’t happened to you, it’s probably happened to one of your classmates. If the over-sleeper was lucky, they would just manage to get to the exam room on time, frazzled and hyperventilating. If they were unlucky, and many keep these sadder stories to themselves, they might have missed an exam completely, resulting in consequences as severe as academic suspension or even the loss of a scholarship.
Flexible Scheduling Ends the Nightmares
Today’s stories of online proctoring experiences gone wrong, in contrast, may be more along the lines of a student gets sick and misses a scheduled live online proctoring session. They may then have to pay a fine to reschedule, or worse, the new time they are offered falls after their instructor is required to submit their grades to the registrar. This type of nightmare can take weeks to resolve, and not a small measure of anxiety in the process.
No one need suffer like this anymore with Honorlock’s remote proctoring service. Our 24/7/365 support includes proctors who are always available, so students can take their exams on-demand, at precisely the hour when they feel most ready.
Web Proctoring for International Students and Americans Abroad
The Institute of International Education reported in November 2019 that the number of international students in the United States in 2018-19 rose to its highest point in history, and exceeded one million students for the fourth consecutive year. Due in great part to the global health crisis, no similar new records are expected for 2020-21; in fact, a significant fall in numbers is expected. A portion of students will be coming from countries that are at risk and therefore may have difficulty obtaining visas, while another cohort will take a look at the numbers of COVID-19 cases in many U.S. states and decide that it’s simply safer to stay in their home nations. Either way, the disruption will be felt acutely by the students, their universities, and the local American economies to which they normally contribute billions of dollars each year.
However, the existence of online education and remote proctoring solutions will be a saving grace for many thousands of that million this year and in the future. The web proctoring of exams will allow schools and faculty to continue to teach and assess international students while abroad. Not just international students, either: thousands of Americans take courses via distance learning while they themselves are abroad, notably members of the military, dual-citizens, businesspersons on assignment, and volunteers.
Cost-Effective Web Proctoring for Universities
While many schools already had begun integrating web proctoring into their normal practices, even more needed to shift gears at speed when the pandemic hit, which put an unexpected demand on their budgets. Some schools may have encountered pricing challenges, as some web proctoring services charge per hour, which can result in a wide range of costs depending on the length of the exam. In this economic climate, you need cost-effective web proctoring.
Systems that charge a flat rate per exam or per student give you transparency about your costs. A recent article in the South Florida Business Journal describes the satisfaction of the University of Florida’s Director of Distance Learning & Continuing Education Brian Marchman, who had already been working with Honorlock (as are two of the other 10 largest U.S. universities) before the pandemic hit:
“We had not planned in our budget for any way to pay for this, so we had to find the funds and not put it on the backs of students, and they were able to make it work for us,” UF’s Marchman said of the university’s agreement with Honorlock. “We were over a barrel, and they didn’t take advantage of that.”
Upholding Academic Integrity
Ultimately, the main reason that the best remote proctoring services exist is because they help institutions, their faculty, and their students all have greater confidence that the student who is taking the course is the one doing the work, and that every student doing the work is doing so with honor. To achieve this indispensable goal, you need an effective, user-friendly, and stress-reducing system. Some pretty cool technology such as Search and Destroy™ and Multi-device Detection does its part, too.
Life is also easier when you have a strong support structure undergirding your web proctoring system, as Dr. Juliette Mersiowksy of Longwood University appreciates:
“Honorlock is responsive to our needs and suggestions, which is a good indicator of the kind of company that listens. Honorlock’s support is fabulous! They are very customer service oriented, which is rare among instructional technology companies today.”