Protecting Academic Integrity During Covid and Beyond

Remote proctoring during covid

Yet again, universities and colleges are adjusting plans because of COVID. With growing concerns about the Omicron variant, some institutions are delaying the semester start date, others are implementing vaccine mandates, and many are moving to a blended or online learning format.

“It’s a difficult time for colleges and these are difficult decisions… Universities and colleges need to ask, what is going to be our reality moving forward?… We have to accept how are we going to live with this virus in our environment.” – Dr. Robert Quigley, Senior Vice President and Global Medical Director at International SOS, said in an interview with University Business

Students want flexible learning options

While the future is uncertain, one thing is clear: online learning is here to stay.

In fact, a recent survey showed that since the COVID-19 pandemic started, about 73% of students indicated that they would like to take fully online courses or a combination of in-person and online learning.

Protecting academic integrity in online education during COVID and beyond

Online courses are great because they provide convenience for students and still allow high levels of engagement. 

But, many struggle with how to best protect academic integrity in online education and during exams.

Historically, some use browser lockdown software as a tool for preventing academic dishonesty. But it often doesn’t cut it because it’s easy to beat and an academic integrity policy is just a formality for some students. 

So, how can instructors administer online exams with confidence that they’re protected from academic dishonesty? Remote proctoring.

What is remote proctoring?

Remote proctoring, sometimes called online proctoring, uses software and/or services to monitor student behavior during online exams to deter, prevent, and identify cheating and to help students complete their exams.

What are the types of remote proctoring?

There are four primary types of remote proctoring:

  • Browser lockdown software: generic software that can prevent students from accessing other browsers
  • Live proctoring: a live remote proctor watches multiple students at once
  • Automated/AI proctoring: no live remote proctor is present & it only uses AI software to monitor student behavior during the online exam 
  • Blended remote proctoring: AI proctoring software monitors student behavior and alerts a live remote proctor if any issues are detected 

What are common remote proctoring features and how do proctored exams work?

There are common remote proctoring features such as: 

  • Video monitoring 
  • Voice detection
  • Browser lockdown software 
  • ID verification

Depending on the proctoring software’s LMS integration, it’s a pretty similar experience for students and instructors. Instructors create exams in the LMS like they already do and then pick and choose which proctoring features to use depending on their needs. Students simply log into the LMS and then before verify their ID and begin the proctored exam.

Other remote proctoring features needed to protect exams

In addition to the common features listed above, there are additional remote proctoring features that Honorlock provides for instructors to protect academic integrity in online education during their exams.

Detect cell phones and other devices

Most students have cell phones or another device which makes it easy for them to look up your test questions during the proctored exam. 

Some online proctoring services may have “cell phone detection” but that can just mean that a live proctor is watching the student and sees a cell phone in view. 

What if the student used their cell phone out of view? 

Honorlock’s advanced proctoring software can detect when a student attempts to access test bank content using a cell phone, tablet, or laptop during the online proctored assessment

Learn more about how Honorlock can detect cell phone use

A blend of AI software and live remote proctors

Honorlock was the first proctoring service to blend the benefits of AI proctoring with live remote proctors. The AI software monitors the student for potential dishonesty and alerts a remote live proctor to join the student’s exam session in real-time to address any issues.

Smart voice detection

Most proctoring services offer audio recording but Honorlock’s smart voice detection goes above and beyond by listening for specific keywords or phrases, such as “Hey Siri” while still allowing students who like to read out loud the ability to do so without being flagged.

Identify leaked exam questions and take action

Faculty spend a lot of time creating quality exam content, but it’s pretty easy for students to find and share the content on the internet if the right software isn’t in place.

Honorlock’s Search & Destroy technology searches the internet to identify exam questions that have been shared online and if leaked exam questions are found, instructors are given simple steps to take control of their exams’ integrity like sending content takedown requests when applicable and updating exam questions.

Implement Honorlock remote proctoring in two days

Just like the many higher education institutions we helped when the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, we’re ready to help your institution quickly implement remote proctoring in response to the Omicron variant.

We streamline the implementation process and can get your institution ready to proctor online exams in about two days. And to ensure that your faculty are confident and prepared, we provide support during and after the implementation as well as ongoing training resources.

Hear from two schools we’ve helped since COVID-19 started

University of Florida

“As challenging as the remote learning situation has been for the university, there have been many silver linings for us. A partnership with Honorlock has been one of them. 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.”  – Brian Marchman, Director of Distance Learning & Continuing Education 

Broward College

“The pandemic has brought many challenges to Broward College. Having to quickly scale our courses to a remote format has not been an easy task… Honorlock has provided excellent support in scaling our needs and meeting our requirements for faculty training. They have been an excellent partner due to their open communication, privacy policies, and the implementation of their state-of-the-art technology. It has been an affordable and reliable solution.” – Nestor Pereira, Dean, Business Affairs

Complete the form below to learn more about Honorlock remote proctoring services and software

Responding to Academic Dishonesty: Why and How to Use a Developmental Approach

Honorlock online proctoring platform LMS integration

Consider taking this approach to protecting academic integrity to prevent academic cheating while empowering students.

Considerations on a Punitive versus a Developmental Approach

To say that coronavirus was a major disruption to colleges and universities across the country could not be more of an understatement. Since Spring semester 2020, colleges and universities have been tasked with completely turning their worlds upside down in order to keep students engaged and learning while simultaneously keeping them safe. 

More than 1,300 colleges and universities in all 50 states canceled in-person classes and/or switched to online instruction as the pandemic accelerated.1 At least 14 million students have been affected.2

Delivering and consuming instruction was not the only challenge. The pandemic also altered nearly every aspect of college life. Students and faculty made it through canceling events, closing dorms and the demise of all the things that make college life enriching including peer groups, student/faculty dynamics and athletics just to name a few.

As students left campus and online learning increased, institutions also needed to ensure academic integrity for this enormous initiative. Testing paradigms had to shift – and shift quickly.  Honorlock alone provided over 6 million online proctored exams in support of higher ed during this time.

Making it through the pandemic

It has been over a year since the pandemic hit. The good news is the undergraduate grades have held steady and even improved at a number of universities that offered most courses remotely.3 That’s something to be proud of, considering all the fear of the unknown and plain hard work it took for faculty and students alike.

But all is well. Beth McMurtrie in “Good Grades, Stressed Students” goes on to say:

 “…Averages can hide a lot. Some campuses saw a rise in the number of students on probation or dropping out after a semester, even if average GPAs did not decline. Some campuses reported a significant amount of cheating, which may skew grades and suggest deeper struggles for students.”

Many students struggled to adjust to remote learning

The data also suggests newer students unfamiliar with college life, students on a lower socio-economic scale and students in community colleges fared worse than others. A new report from the National Student Clearinghouse found summer enrollment fell the most at community colleges and among black students.4

In the “Good Grades, Stressed Out Students” article, we meet Jackie Bell, a sophomore at San Francisco State University. All but one of her courses are virtual, so she has spent hours in her bedroom each day without talking to anyone. Other than a 9 a.m. live class three times a week, she watches taped lectures, takes notes, and works on her assignments until 6 pm.  

Jackie also had difficulty figuring out her path through college. She met virtually with someone in advising, but later found out they had given her the wrong information. She also tried to make an appointment with a counselor, but they were either too busy or when she did connect, they suffered from technical issues.

 “I already don’t know anything about the system,” she said. “Online I have to dig even more. There’s nobody telling me, maybe you should check this out.”

In that same article, Allison Calhoun-Brown, senior vice president for student success and chief enrollment officer at Georgia State University added:

“First-year students just didn’t know how to do college. They didn’t have a sense of where they could get support, how all this works, how to organize yourself well enough to know the deadlines.”

She continued:

 “A lot of the best research said that these classes should be taught asynchronously, but we found that students performed much better if the class was synchronous. There was probably a stronger connection to classmates and students.”

One professor at UC-Santa Barbara had students tell him they were expected to help out at home more now than before, cutting into study time. Parents were impacted – if they could keep work at all – with all the childcare challenges that COVID brought, for example. So siblings were expected to pitch in.

COVID created a perfect storm of change and stress, coupled with the need for students to “make the grade” in uncharted territory.

The need for online exam integrity is growing to include non academic settings

As investments in the digital delivery of online learning content increased significantly over the last several months, so too has the focus on administering high-stakes online exams to allow test takers to take such exams from their homes without risking exposure to COVID-19.5

And as important as COVID was in shining the spotlight on academic integrity – for online proctoring, it is quickly becoming even larger than academia alone.

Testing organizations have introduced home-based online versions of exams, such as the Graduate Records Examination (GRE), the Advanced Placement (AP) exams, and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam.

Corporations learned lessons from COVID as well. The remote work phenomenon opened up a new frontier in how and where work gets done, and it has spilled over into how certification paths for workers are delivered and administered.

Certification paths for skills development are on the upswing in corporate America, and it really began to take off as COVID struck. Just as in academia, online proctoring improvements enabled organizations to move from more expensive in person formats and enabled corporations to continue offering certification tracks virtually.

And we will have learned the lessons of COVID (hopefully) in order to apply them to the next pandemic in what has become a global village.

Online proctoring software will continue to improve

So, while we may all wish to debate the privacy concerns with remote proctoring, the reality is, it’s here to stay. At the very least identities need to be verified and abject cheating will need to be flagged, whether you are in an academic setting or a corporate one.

Will online proctoring continue to evolve over time? Most assuredly so. Will it happen fast enough to assuage students who feel they have had this thrust upon them in a very demanding time. Probably not.

What can we do to help students adjust and still protect academic integrity?

So what can we do to help our students adjust to this new testing paradigm? First, we need to consider looking at “cheating” through a bit of a different lens. There are really two different approaches here.

First, rather than look at proctored online testing as a way to “catch” cheaters, consider it a tool for visibility into how and why the academic cheating may be happening.

Secondly, we need to figure out what we should “do” with cheaters and their need to cheat. That’s the harder one.

For these questions, we turn to the work of Tricia Bertram Gallant, who Honorlock had the pleasure of working with at a recent Academic Integrity Online virtual seminar in conjunction with The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Dr. Bertram Gallant is an internationally known expert on integrity and ethics in education. She is a long-time leader with the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI). She is also the Director of Academic Integrity at UC San Diego.

In a recent UC San Diego newsletter article, entitled “Does Remote Instruction Make Cheating Easier”6 Dr Bertram Gallant breaks down remote instruction versus online learning in answering the following question:

Is it remote instruction that can increase the chances of students cheating, or more likely the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Unfortunately, we know much less about remote instruction than we do for online learning, which is very different from remote instruction. Online learning is planned, and often exams are still proctored (with either online services or required in-person proctoring).

Remote instruction is the mode of instruction in which students are temporarily separated from the instructor and course content is delivered digitally, as in the case of an emergency campus closure.

We don’t know if students are cheating specifically because of remote instruction. But we do know from the research conducted over the last 10 decades by behavioral economists such as Dan Ariely and psychologists such as Eric Anderman, among others, that human beings are more likely to cheat when:

        • They see or believe that other people are doing it.
        • There are temptations/opportunities (that is, cheating is situational).
        • There is a heightened state of arousal, stress or pressure.
        • The class rewards performance rather than mastery of the material.
        • The class reinforces extrinsic (i.e., grades), not intrinsic (i.e. learning), goals.
        • Instruction is (perceived to be) poor.
        • When it’s less likely that there will be costs to cheating.
        • They can disassociate their self-identity from their actions.

So, if remote instruction or the pandemic result in any of the above factors, then it is logical to conclude that there would be increased chances of academic cheating.

Consider a developmental approach rather than punishment when cheating occurs

Dr. Bertram Gallant’s work in getting to the bottom of why students cheat and then using the information to help students not cheat is of great interest.

Rather than a simplistic punitive approach “don’t cheat,” Dr. Bertram Gallant’s work revolves around developmental approach examples that use the student’s reasons for cheating and couple them with targeted mentoring based on those reasons to move the student toward a higher integrity stance. She sees this as fundamental to the responsibilities of each institution to the student.

In a recent Journal of College and Character article entitled Punishment is Not Enough, The Moral Imperative to Responding to Cheating With A Developmental Approach7, she writes:

The rates of academic cheating should not surprise us. Deception is used by all species as a strategy for survival and success, and so the act of cheating by students may be seen as a “natural and normal” (Stephens, 2019, p. 9) response to school systems and cultures that value “achievement, credentials, and getting ahead” more than learning (Galloway, 2012, p. 391). 

Consider the hypothetical student who is at risk of failing a class, the consequence of which would be losing their financial aid and thus their ability to pay their rent. In such a case, deception, rather than honesty, may be the intuitive, default response of the student, with honesty requiring more deliberative thought and reflection (Bereby-Meyer & Shalvi, 2015).  

This intuition toward deception is bolstered by what Ariely (2012) calls the “fudge factor,” our ability to maintain a healthy sense of ourselves as honest people even as we cheat. This “fudge factor” is on full display in the Josephson Institute survey—while half of the students admitted to cheating, 93% of them expressed satisfaction with their own morality.

This is not to say that colleges and universities should accept cheating as morally acceptable or inevitable (Stephens, 2019). Academic cheating is certainly not morally acceptable. When students cheat, even on the most minor of assessments, they are being dishonest (i.e., misrepresenting that they know, have done, and/or can do) and perpetuating unfairness (i.e., gaining a competitive advantage over those who have been honest).

As such, cheating represents an existential threat to academia because it not only undermines student learning (both academic and moral) but also the validity of its assessment and, ultimately, the integrity of the credentials conferred upon them.

She then outlines very clearly the differences between a punitive bias and a development frame.

Responding to Academic Misconduct: Presuppositions of Two Contrasting Approaches

You can see from the table that punishment is included in both approaches, lest you think there are no repercussions to cheating, but in the punitive there is little opportunity for change or learning.

At the end of this article she and her colleague, Jason Stephens, devised a call to action for institutions:

In this article, we examined why educational institutions fail to respond developmentally to cheating, choosing instead a punitive approach. We also examined the benefits and limits of both punishment and development.

In the end, we argue that when educational institutions adopt a punitive approach, they are declaring that students who cheat are simply incorrigible and incapable of learning and growth, or we are incapable of helping them learn from cheating, and so all that remains to do is punish.

We believe that we can do more than this. We believe that we must do more than this. This article, is a call-to-action, a challenge issued to all colleges and universities, but particularly those who are already dedicating resources to other activities that facilitate character or moral development (like service learning or ethics classes), to make the commitment to move away from the punitive toward more developmental approach examples for responding to cheating.

To do this, institutions can start small, perhaps by training a small group of people to have structured reflection conversations with students to help the students do their own assessment and begin their own education.

For those institutions interested and able to do more, perhaps consider a restorative justice process instead of the current judicial process or using existing resources on campus (like the writing or learning center) to create educational opportunities that students could take after an instance of cheating.

To go further, institutions can form a taskforce to analyze their current punitive approach, discuss and design a developmental approach, and then invest some resources into building up the structures necessary to support students in the aftermath of cheating.

These same structures and resources can also engage in preventative education and culture-building, so the institution is supporting integrity in all facets, but the goal of moving from punitive to developmental should be primary.

If we refuse to help our students learn from their failures—ethical or otherwise—we are failing our students and falling short of achieving our educational missions.

Online proctoring with a human touch to protect academic integrity

Honorlock’s mission is much more than catching cheating and delivers a better way to protect academic integrity with online proctoring that’s good for the institution and for students.

Our exam proctoring services aim to protect academic integrity and empower students. We take the online proctoring experience and make it human by combining the benefits of live human proctoring backed by smart AI proctoring software.

Honorlock’s philosophies as a company follow the developmental approach rather than the punitive, which is why we are sharing this paper. We value integrity, humanity, humility and courage – for ourselves and in our relationships with others. 

Our remote proctors are trained specifically on how to de-escalate the stress that goes with online proctoring so students can have a more human interaction with proctoring. Customers are able to adjust the online proctoring to more closely match their needs.

Our approach to the fine tuning of the AI that drives the online proctoring experience includes feedback loops so the product is constantly improving. Honorlock’s customers will attest to our focus on continually building online proctoring solutions and relationships that provide insight into a better solution for institutions and students alike.   

The pandemic isn’t over yet

COVID is a hard lesson that’s still being learned. We aren’t going “back to normal” as we knew it. But with communication, perseverance and the strength of our communities and colleagues, we are making our way through it.

Please consider adding a look at what your institution’s practices and philosophies are in terms of cheating.  If we are building a better model, perhaps it is time to include a change of direction in how integrity is approached, communicated and strengthened. Continue to be aware that different constituencies experienced the pandemic in different ways.

Here are some helpful Do’s and Don’ts we compiled that remind us of that humanity in learning.8


  • Do not forget that we are still in a pandemic. Do not forget that it is also an inequitable pandemic.
  • Do not cause further harm. Do not support, enable, or endorse policies that perpetuate further inequities or fuel negative perceptions of students.
  • Do not ask students for their approval of a decision that has already been made. Instead, engage with them in advance to help determine a solution.
  • Do not require more proof of learning in an online class than you would normally require in a face-to-face setting.
  • Do not forget that this is not the educational experience students wanted or expected. Nor is it a test of online education. And in case you were wondering, it still will not be “online education” in the fall. It will continue to be a derivative of emergency remote teaching and learning.


  • Use learning outcomes as a guide and means to design and focus educational offerings.
  • Listen to students’ voices and respond accordingly.
  • Modify assignments and assessments in ways that are flexible, use low bandwidth, and are based on the principles of equitable assessment.
  • Be aware of and address systemic inequities.
  • Engage in trauma-informed and healing-centered pedagogy and assessment

To learn more about how Honorlock can help your institution protect academic integrity and support students, sign up for a demo today!

Sign up below to receive more resources for tips, best practices, white papers, and industry trends

 Smalley, A., Higher Education Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19), National Conference of State Legislatures, Mar 22, 2021,
2 Johnson Hess, A. How coronavirus dramatically changed college for over 14 million students, CNBC, Mar 2020,
3McMurtrie, B., Good Grades, Stressed Students, Chronicle of Higher Education, Mar. 17, 2021,
4Sedmak, T., Community Colleges, For-Profit and Rural Institutions, Black Undergraduates, and Male Undergraduates Suffered Most from Online-Only 2020 Summer Sessions, According to Latest Enrollment Data, National Student Clearinghouse, Sep 2020,
5Luna-Bazaldua, D., Liberman, J., Levin, V. “Moving high-stakes exams online: Five points to consider”, Education for Global Development, July 2020.
6Piercy, J., This Week at UC San Diego, Does Remote Instruction Make Cheating Easier, July 2020,
7Tricia Bertram Gallant & Jason M. Stephens (2020) Punishment Is Not Enough: The Moral Imperative of Responding to Cheating With a Developmental Approach, Journal of College and Character, 21:2, 57-66,
8 Supiano, B., Teaching: Assessment in a Continuing Pandemic, 3/6

Rapid Shift to Online Education Helps Universities Cope in Uncertain Times

Imagine what would have happened to colleges and universities in 2020 without the online education technology to allow teaching and learning to continue as it did. OK, stop! It was painful enough for those who had never used such technology before but imagine a complete shutdown of all higher education that a similar pandemic would have caused just 10 or 15 years ago. 

Click below to get information about quickly implementing online proctoring if your institution is moving to online learning related to COVID.

The good news for students who want to learn and teachers who want to teach is that most schools were able to respond. Some did it seamlessly, many did it heroically, and they all did it during an unprecedented crisis that hit hard in March 2020  and kept presenting new challenges throughout the year. People who had never before heard the words “online proctored exam” became creative test builders or savvy online test takers within a month. While the uncertain times continue into the winter, even as the first vaccines are being administered, let’s take a look at how today’s online education technology has helped institutions cope with remote schooling.

Old Hands at Online Education

Many schools have offered online courses toward degree programs for the past five, 10, or 20 years. Even schools known for their in-person undergraduate and graduate programs, such as Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Southern California have offered online courses. 

Students from all over the world could take courses in those universities’ distance learning programs, which allowed the schools to expand their mission and—sometimes over the objections of those who feared that academic standards would suffer—enter a lucrative market. Locally, meanwhile, online courses could help traditional students catch up if, for example, they had to take a semester off for personal or financial reasons.


Schools that already invested in their own systems were better placed to convert their courses to an online environment, even if the majority of their faculty had never taught online before. To be sure, instructors had to put in an immense amount of work to learn new software and, in many cases, reconceptualize their courses for an online environment. The psychological toll may take years to work itself out, and, while digital transformation can’t be considered a panacea for all that ails higher education, the success stories from this era will certainly contribute to an expanded sense of what’s possible, both now and in the future.

Video Classrooms and Conferencing

As noted, in some schools, the capability to run courses online has been developing for some time, and the support of companies that provide online test proctoring services has also been growing. The ability for instructors to see and hear 25 or more students on-screen at once has become widespread, even if it was only encountered for the first time during the COVID-19 crisis. Students can ask questions of teaching assistants in real-time chat boxes and smaller numbers can meet in online “breakout rooms” for focused discussions and group work.

Many schools without their own dedicated online classroom platforms were able to adapt their video conferencing services that were not originally set up with universities in mind. These services were able to help in a pinch and also allowed instructors and tech staffers to learn what works and what needed to improve with a given interface and student experience as they planned for the future.

How One School Quickly Integrated Online Proctored Exams

When it came time for course assessments, particularly high stakes midterm and final exams, companies such as Honorlock stepped into the breach to help schools maintain academic integrity even as an exponentially greater number of students took web proctored exams for the first time.

Like many schools, Broward College had to react fast. As one of the United States’ largest community colleges, Broward serves approximately 67,000 students, many of whom are the first in their families to pursue their formal education beyond high school. To fulfill their promise to these students in the face of the pandemic, Broward went full steam ahead to transition courses to a fully online environment. Naturally, they faced many of the same obstacles other schools did, as well as those unique to their community. They needed an online proctoring solution that would become a true resource, not an additional problem.

Data Privacy and Building Trust

Daphne St. Val, Senior Instructional Designer at Broward, noted that students were initially concerned about their privacy, but “little by little,” she said, they became comfortable: “When you install the [lightweight Chrome browser] extension, it’s not tapping into anything other than what you do during your screen sharing.”

Support for Faculty and Students

Many instructors and students struggled during the beginning of the pandemic due to the rushed learning curve associated with video-based courses and online test proctoring systems. In contrast, Honorlock users reported relief. “Having access to 24/7/365 support is huge, said St. Val. Especially during times like this when students may be taking exams at any time of day. You want them to have access to someone who can troubleshoot with them.”

Exclusive Online Proctoring Features You Can’t Get Anywhere Else

Three exclusive features that St. Val said particularly sets Honorlock apart from other online proctoring solutions are Live Pop-In™, Search and Destroy™, and Multi-Device Detection. In brief, our AI monitors each exam and only notifies our always-available human proctors when a possible violation of academic integrity (e.g., another voice in the room, a student getting up from the desk) has occurred. Meanwhile, our proprietary software searches the internet for unauthorized copies of the instructor’s test questions and issues copyright take-down orders from question-pool sites. We can also detect whether a student searches for test questions with a smartphone or tablet during the exam itself.

You can see more about Broward’s success story, and those of a range of other schools, here

Into the Future

As students take more and more classes online, we may look back on this pandemic nightmare as the beginning of a brighter future for instructors and students. A future that provides instructors and students with broader capabilities to teach and learn, offer classes, and remotely proctor exams to ensure student success.

Want to see Honorlock in action? Request a demo

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Student Privacy, Online Exams, and COVID-19

COVID-19 continues to impact higher education institutions

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 some places, all courses will be offered online and most colleges and universities haven’t decided if courses in the future 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.

Get information about quickly implementing online proctoring if your institution is transitioning to online learning related to COVID

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 student privacy online. 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 student privacy online during exams.

What Information Does Honorlock Collect?

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 12 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.

Does Honorlock Have Access to Mobile Devices or Detect Phones?

You may have heard that Honorlock can detect the use of cell phones and other 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.

Does Honorlock Sell My Data?

We do not sell your data. You may have concerns about student privacy online and data security, but don’t worry, Honorlock has you covered.  We only share your data with your educational institution and delete it per school policy.

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 schooling during the pandemic and will be cheering you on as you finish your semester!

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Supporting Students Through Our New Normal

Did anyone get the number of that bus that just hit us?  If you felt a bit that way when COVID-19 started, you were not alone.

With the benefit of a bit of time in the rearview (and some of us earning our e-learning stripes), our viewpoint is beginning to shift from “do what?!?” to “how can I make this better?”

Click below to get information about implementing online proctoring when moving to online learning related to COVID.

On April 22, 2020, InsideHigherEd published an interesting article on a new survey that asked 826 faculty members and administrators at 641 American colleges and universities how they fared in the recent “forced march” into digital learning.

The results were not surprising.

The major takeaways were:

  • (90 percent) engaged in some form of emergency distance/virtual education to conduct or complete the spring term
  • Almost two-thirds said they changed “the kinds of assignments or exams” they gave to students
  • Nearly half said they lowered their expectations for the amount of work students would be able to do (48 percent)

One of the most interesting aspects of the survey from our perspective was the question “What assistance would be most helpful for faculty” at the time of the survey.

Respondents’ number one answer was “Information on how to best support online students.”

Honorlock just so happened to host a webinar on change management that same week.  Here is a link to the recorded webinar if you are interested in learning more about change.  Hundreds of people registered and attended, so we know it was a topic that resonated.

Within that webinar, we had curated a list of resources for our attendees on the subject of how to support student learning during the transition.

We want to take the opportunity to share them in this blog as well. Two of the resources (Rutgers and Michigan) are more of an infographic, while the others were full-blown manuals on how to offer support.

While these are written primarily for their own institutions, there are great tidbits that can be gleaned.  Here are the links and a short summary of each of the resources.

This is an overview of how to stay organized and adjust study habits, including a template for helping students set up a schedule that works for them, as well as tips for working in teams.

This handy reference offers tips on how to get online, find WiFi if you don’t have it, and managing your time.

The Boise State University resource is an exhaustive guide to everything from taking care of yourself (including sections for LGBTQ students and those with disabilities) to an outline of various platforms and technologies that can be used to facilitate learning.

Lehigh University includes a short video on the 5 Steps to Online Classes

The San Francisco State version contains how to get help front and center at the top of the guide. Sometimes that information is buried deep in a document, and when students are in a panic, it’s helpful to have those contact numbers front and center.

But back to the survey numbers for just a moment.

Educators were able to use tools like our digital assessment software to not only adjust to a new way of instructional delivery – a herculean feat – but also to make dispensations for the amount of work as well as the type of work they assigned to students.

This change was not easy for anyone. Our students were leaving campus for home (if they were one of the lucky ones), figuring out how to participate in learning, juggling space, schedules, and mindset to navigate the pandemic, keeping families safe and perhaps even dealing with food insecurity, the list goes on.

Through it all, you kept the educational fires burning. It may have felt to you like a bit of a dumpster fire at first, but you persevered and whether you realize it or not, you helped your students by modeling behaviors that helped them see “we can get through this together.”

Your number one need from the survey (and Honorlock would concur from our webinar results), was to be of help to your students. Honorlock can think of no finer commentary on the state of education in the country today.

Online Education: How to Successfully Work Remotely

As we enter the next phase of this abrupt transition to online education it is important to focus on how to successfully work remotely. While this may not be permanent, it is important to learn how to best manage your responsibilities to ensure the success of your students during this time. We’ve compiled a few remote work tips for how to successfully work remotely.

Develop a Regular Cadence

Without a consistent schedule, you risk your ability to focus, stay productive, and meet your institution’s education goals. Cathleen Swody, Ph.D., organizational psychologist and founding partner at Thrive Leadership, states that “Dressing pulled-together helps us feel pulled-together.” Maintaining a sense of regularity as you would heading into your office and/or classroom is essential. Ensure that you are sitting down during regular hours to provide support to your students and that you are equally taking breaks throughout the day. Create personal reminders and events; become your own personal manager. Developing a structure can aid significantly in preserving mental health during this chaotic time and reduce the possibility of burn out. 

Stay Connected

Do not be a stranger to your fellow faculty members! When you are fully remote it is easy to feel like you and your colleagues are less connected to one another. According to the Buffer State of Remote Report loneliness and collaboration/communication accounts for 40% of the challenges of working remotely.

It is more important than ever to support each other to ensure that the success and education of your students remain constant despite this crisis. How can you do this? Here are a couple of our favorite remote work tips:

  • Plan regular one-on-one calls with peers. It is an overwhelming time for everyone so having someone check-in is incredibly valuable. Ensure that you not only discuss the challenges they are facing with their classes but see how they are doing personally. We are all traversing a nervewracking time of change, but a sense of comradery can go a long way in making someone feel supported.
  • Start a weekly department-wide meeting. Discover new opportunities, discuss concerns, and offer ways to contribute.

Stay Productive

Working remotely introduces new distractions that must be combated. When you are not giving a lecture or providing one-on-one attention to a student, how do you manage your other responsibilities in a focused manner? Here are a few strategies we like:

  • Consider noise reduction headphones. Our home environments may not be fully set up to support a quiet workspace, but reducing the sound of distractions can significantly improve your ability to concentrate.
  • If your home does offer the ability to designate a workspace, ensure that it is a stress-free area that does not interfere with your ability to teach nor intrude into the lives of other household members. Avoid sitting on the couch in front of your TV or lounging on your bed.
  • In order to stay productive, you also have to ensure you unplug from your workday. Close the door to your office, put away the laptop, gather up your lecture notes, etc. Safely stow away your work materials and recharge for the next day. Read our previous blog post, “Top 10 Things to Take Care of Your Right now” to learn more about how to unwind. 

Most importantly, working remotely does not have to be complicated. Find what works specifically for you to ensure that your students’ education remains consistent.

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Educators: 4 Ways to Stay Sane During COVID [Infographic]

Don’t let yourselves lose sight of all the good you are doing.  We, here at Honorlock, want you to keep yourselves safe (and sane) as we go further into this new normal. This online infographic provides some advice for teachers to keep you going. Click here to download the Infographic.

If you’re looking for online proctoring services during COVID-19, click the button below for more information.

Academic Leadership During Crisis: 5 steps to improve skills

If you are a leader now or just being called to lead during the COVID pandemic, leadership right this moment is feeling not so fun. Figuring out a plan forward is critical, but it is also daunting.  

Higher education leaders play a pivotal role in helping their institutions not only cope but succeed in these difficult times.

Though it seems overwhelming, it is paramount to get out of the gate quickly and pull together a workable strategy for going forward. This is no different than what you’ve been doing in crisis, but this lens is more about how do we get through the shock of it all and use our academic leadership skills and talents to not only surmount this challenge but also prepare for the next pandemic, the next business interrupter.

Chief Learning Officer magazine provided an article using the ADAPT model for leading through change that we’ve adapted slightly to apply to the situation we find ourselves in at present.


Analyze the impact on your institution. Evaluate how this pandemic will affect your students, your colleagues, and how work gets done. Some key questions to consider are:

  • How prepared are we to do more with less? Now that the newness of the crisis is waning, have we assessed who may need additional training?
  • Are we becoming familiar with the telework shift — both in terms of the work process and technologies as well as the change in mindset from in-person to virtual?  What needs to happen to take this to the next level.  How will we go from alarm/reaction to a higher level of proficiency?
  • Has our supply chain been impacted? What are the provisions to address this? For example, do we need to secure, onboard and train new suppliers in the face of this pandemic?  This can be applied to people, supplies or even hardware/software needed to succeed.
  • Do we need to ramp production at our schools and colleges and, if so, does that require onboarding newly hired personnel or cross-training current employees? What can we do to reduce ramp-up time?  Do you need more instructional designers? How do you ramp up those designers to be able to support your move to digital? What do they need to know? Do you need to do your own instructional design?


Devise a plan to engage your community. The impact analysis should drive both the audience and the topics. This where every bit of your performance-consulting acumen will be leveraged to quickly and effectively tease out the specific challenges and discuss the impact on human capital. Starting with the end in mind (an actionable plan with roles/responsibilities) will help ensure you keep focus, get buy-in and establishes a clear path forward in terms of the next steps.


Assess your options. Tough times call for new approaches and new ways of thinking. If you still leverage instructor-led training, what is your business continuity plan? Key considerations include unwinding all the various ILT planning and logistics; evaluating other modalities, namely virtual instructor-led training; and migrating existing ILT into new modalities.  

Finally, if there ever was a spot-on situation for microlearning, this is it. We shouldn’t limit ourselves to micro elearning, either. All options should be on the table: podcasts, videos, infographics, quick reference guides, and so on. Less is more — more on-point learning and more opportunities to create additional content.


Prioritize your plans. In times of turmoil, everything seems important and things can quickly turn chaotic. Some training will need to take precedence over others and hard decisions will have to be made. Just like some international hospitals are having to triage patients, so might we need to triage learning. Some learning will be strategic and therefore high priority while other training will be addressed in a more tactical manner and with less priority. The key to prioritizing your plans involves consulting your department head, a trusted mentor, or another leader to get another point of view and a second set of eyes. This person can check if your plan is on-target, is close but could be tweaked, or has some gaps or blind spots that need to be addressed. Having a second opinion to glean objective insights will not only validate your plan but help you achieve needed buy-in and set your plan up for a successful implementation.


Track both projects and intelligence. “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts” applies here. Efforts should not be managed as a series of disparate, disconnected projects. There needs to be a master plan that oversees all individual projects in a coordinated way (program management). Things are very fluid, and priorities may need to shift. Keeping a dashboard view of all the moving parts allows the learning leader to manage to the strategic outcomes and adjust individual components as needed to ensure the overall needs of the institution are being met. This is also a great time to turn data into information. Are we tracking for completion or for competence? Any data generated should be leveraged to inform future learning solutions to benefit both the learner and the institution.


This unprecedented time offers both challenges and choices: 

  • Moving from reactive to more of a proactive stance
  • Leading versus managing
  • Being a catalyst for creative solutions that help drive your institution through this period of difficulty and uncertainty 

 Now is the time for learning leaders of all stripes in all areas of our higher education institutions to ascend, and this ADAPT model for academic leadership skills can help you keep track of where you are in that process.  

Remember, the only difference between a leader and a coward is the direction they run when they are scared.

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Top 10 Things To Take Care of You Right Now!

If you are like most, your attitude may have taken a real beating with the last few crazy weeks.  Uncertainty abounds, requirements are changing how you teach, and concern for your students, friends, and family are paramount.

That’s why this blog post is going to concentrate on tips to helps students and teaches adjust to COVID-19. By your very nature, you care for others, or you wouldn’t have gone into the teaching profession. But you can’t continue to carry others if you don’t make time to work on your own wellbeing.  

Learn how to quickly implement online proctoring if your institution is moving to virtual learning related to COVID.

Here are a few funny, timely finds for you to think about as you are swimming the maelstrom of personal wellness tips.

  1. You’re not stuck at home, you’re safe at home.  One word can change your attitude.
  2. What are you grateful for today?  Make a point of reflecting every day to remind yourself.
  3. Who are you checking in on or connecting with today?  We are all suffering from some powerful isolation, on top of everything we are trying to do to keep our various plates spinning.  Take the time to send a note or make a much-needed call.
  4. What expectations of “normal” should you be letting go of?  It’s perfectly all right to recalibrate. It can be big or small.   But give yourself the time and space to assess what can be “just enough” in these turbulent times.
  5. How are you getting outside every day?  Make a point to get outside when you can.  Your computer work is probably getting the best of you in how long you sit, or how much eye strain you may be dealing with.  Spend a few minutes outside (maybe working on that gratitude thing). It will reinvigorate you.
  6. Find some beauty in everyday things.  Be mindful of that around you. If someone is doing exceptionally well through this, let them know you noticed.  It will help you both. If a tree is blooming you’ve never noticed before, take that moment to drink it in.
  7. Here’s a novel one.  You probably don’t feel like you have any extra time but think about the time you normally spend commuting to your job.  If it is 20 minutes one way, that’s 40 minutes a day you have that you normally wouldn’t. Pay yourself by spending that time on activities you’re interested in for your own enrichment or self-development.  Learn some French, acquire a new skill, you name it, but think about all the time you are spending and carve some out for yourself.
  8. Limit your news consumption.  Many are limiting it to “x” number of minutes a day.  It is easy to go down the “too much news” rabbit hole.  It isn’t helpful. Stay informed, but don’t dwell in what-ifs. 
  9. Think of another challenge you’ve surmounted to remind yourself you are resilient and strong.  Maybe you lived through 9-11. Maybe you kicked cancer to the curb. Maybe you got out of an abusive situation sometime in your past.  You are stronger than you know.
  10. Close your day, every day, with a positive acknowledgment of something you accomplished or learned. It will help dilute some of the negativity you may be feeling right now.

Stay safe, stay sane and know above all else, how important you all are.

Moving to Online Courses During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As more schools shut down and start moving learning online due to the COVID-19, it’s important to know that there are solutions out there for ongoing education and helping students continue acquiring the skills they need.

Click the button below to see how you can implement online proctoring in 2 days to help protect exams and support students during COVID

Here are some common questions that people have as they convert their homes into an adequate learning space:

What if students don’t have their own computers or webcams?

If your institution has not implemented a 1:1 student-to-device program, it can be hard to find a resource for students now.  Unfortunately, laptops are one of those items people are rushing to buy worldwide due to the increase in work from home workers as well as learners.  Check with local nonprofits and businesses that may be ramping up programs that provide laptops during this time.  Here is a link to an article that lists several organizations and creative ideas to find a low price or free resources.

What if students don’t have adequate internet access?

Maintaining digital equity for all students is a major hurdle for most college campuses moving learning online right now because if they don’t have access to the internet during the current global pandemic, it will be impossible for them to learn. With shelter in place requirements in place or coming, even the public library may not be an option for learning for quite some time.

Here are some suggestions for how students can gain access to the internet:

  • Spectrum is offering free broadband and Wi-Fi internet access for 60 days to students impacted by the coronavirus shutdown. Charter Communications, Spectrum’s parent company, announced Friday that beginning March 16, it will make its services available for free for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who don’t already have internet through the company. Installation fees will also be waived for new student households. It also said it would open its Wi-Fi hotspots for public use.
  • Comcast is also making it easier for low-income families who live in a Comcast service area to sign up by offering new customers 60 days of free Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month. The company is also increasing internet speeds for the Internet Essentials service from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps for all new and existing customers, which will be the speed of the service going forward.
  • More vendors may be offering access as the pandemic response matures.

What if I or my students lose the internet? Will their exam answers be lost?

Honorlock offers 24/7 technical support 365 days a week to help students with issues as they take their exam, easily accessible through an Honorlock support menu available on their screen. Honorlock also monitors additional activity like someone trying to leave the test session, copy/paste questions, or open a new browser. We also have encrypted protocols in place to save work, view the test taker’s answers, and allow the proctor access to review exam session videos.

What is Honorlock’s availability like during the coronavirus crisis if we launch and have issues?

As educational institutions transition to moving learning online during the current global pandemic, we anticipate an uptick in demand for our services. Our HonorSquad continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation, focus on best practices and plan ahead. We’ve contacted AWS (Amazon Web Services) to obtain extra capacity, talked to third party video conferencing vendors to ensure that they understand our demand, and increased our staff. More simply put, we’re preparing as if it was finals week. For more information, check out our Our Pledge To You During Coronavirus and feel free to email us (, or launch a live chat at

What does Honorlock do exactly?

If you are in the process of quickly moving your instructors, students, and staff to an online platform to minimize any downtime with their continued education, keep in mind that Honorlock is a safe and efficient way to facilitate your exams.

Honorlock provides on-demand proctoring services that do not require advanced scheduling or bulky software downloads. Because maintaining academic integrity is of the utmost importance to us, we’ve also patented a one-of-a-kind mobile device detection system.

Honorlock’s innovative and exclusive online proctoring features include:

  • Search and Destroy: To help deter cheating, we employ our proprietary test bank removal service that actively searches the Internet and destroys any unauthorized copies of your test questions. In an online world, it’s far too easy to share and find test answers. We put a stop to this by immediately filing DMCA copyright takedown notices if we find any copycat test information.
  • Multi-Device Detection: Honorlock is proud to have the only technology that can detect multiple devices that may be used during test-taking to try to find answers. Our system even takes screenshots to help prove that attempted cheating may be happening during an exam.
  • Voice Detection: Faculty has told us that online testing services that send voice detection alerts tend to be over flagged, putting unnecessary stress on students. Honorlock reduces the number of inappropriate flags with its proprietary system. The voice detection service even goes beyond that by listening for keywords that students may be using to try to cheat, like flagging words such as “OK Google” and “Hey Siri”.
  • Live Pop-In: Honorlock offers the only Live Pop-In system that combines automation and live proctoring by prompting test proctors to pop into the exam if there’s any suspicious activity going on.

How to get started transferring courses online ASAP with Honorlock

The urgency to get students transitioned into an online learning environment has never been greater. If you are a school or administrator that needs a safe, secure robust proctoring system right away, Honorlock can help. To get started, simply go to this page and follow these steps:

Step 1: Sign a condensed 2-page agreement that makes it easy to get up and running while eliminating liability threats.

Step 2: Fill out a simple order form (Honorlock charges $5 per exam) that will only be billed after the impact of the coronavirus has lessened.

Step 3: Go live with same-day integration and training.

Resources for Further Reading