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

22 Educational Technology & Online Learning Trends for 2022

22 online learning trends and changes to expect in 2022

1. Using Metaverse for a realistic online learning environment

What is Metaverse?

To summarize it, Metaverse provides a realistic virtual “world” that blends things like virtual reality, social media, gaming, collaboration technologies, and even e-commerce. Metaverse creates an immersive experience with lifelike avatars and ultra-realistic virtual environments that you can fully interact with by seeing and meeting people, touching objects around you in real-time, buying and selling products, and more.

Why Metaverse may be used in 2022

Instructors can build literal classrooms that students can enter, sit at a desk, raise their hand, and speak to others.

2. Increasing awareness and use of Open Educational Resources (OER)

What is OER?

OER refers to digital teaching and learning materials that are accessible to everyone and almost always free to use. OER materials come in various formats such as digital online textbooks, audio/video, gamification, and more.

Instructors and students can find a variety of materials from sites such as OER Commons, where they can filter based on the resource type, subject, education level, standard, and language.

How does Metaverse work?

Instead of being tied to a single textbook that students have to purchase, instructors can easily find OER resources and then pick and choose different resources to use in their course.

Did you know that a 2021 survey found that 65% of students chose to not purchase a textbook due to the cost? With textbook prices continually increasing, OER materials are a cost savings game-changer for many students.

3. Focusing on improving web accessibility in online courses

About 1 in 5 students have reported a disability. And with the wealth of web accessibility software and tools, assistive devices, and information available there’s no excuse to not create accessible online courses. It’s a foundational piece of improving online learning and creating an inclusive learning environment for every student. 

Why focusing on web accessibility in online courses may increase in 2022

While it varies from state to state and institution type, there are usually web accessibility standards that higher education institutions are required to.

one out of five people have a disability or condition that impacts accessibility

4. Implementing strategies to help reduce student test anxiety

Testing can be inherently stressful for many students – especially in an online learning environment. In a 2020 survey, 64% of students responded that online exams make them nervous. The survey found that technology concerns and not knowing what to expect about certain aspects of the exam were the main causes of test anxiety.

Why strategies to reduce student test anxiety may increase in 2022

  • Simple strategies can make a big difference

Simple strategies such as offering a practice exam and letting students know what to expect can help alleviate test anxiety.

  • Some software can help decrease student test anxiety

The 2020 student survey showed that online proctoring services that blend AI and trained human proctors helped reduce student test anxiety.

In a survey, 64% of students said online tests make them stressed

5. Using online proctoring services

While some expected the use of online proctoring to be a quick-fix band-aid during the rapid shift to online learning due to covid, it’s continuing to be used – even as more institutions are transitioning to in-person classes.

Why institutions using online proctoring will continue in 2022

If you’re an instructor, think about how much of your class time is spent administering exams. With some online proctoring services, you get that time back because students can take exams outside of class and still get support if they have any issues.

With features such as detecting cell phones, locking down the browser, and video monitoring, online proctoring creates an equitable testing experience so that no students will have an ​​unfair advantage.

Online proctoring can help reduce student test anxiety because students have the convenience of testing when and where they want which helps alleviate the stress of scheduling exams.

Additionally, online proctoring services that combine AI software with live remote proctors can help reduce student test anxiety. This approach to online proctoring creates a minimally invasive testing experience because students don’t feel like they’re being watched by a live proctor the entire time because the AI monitors the exam and alerts a live proctor to intervene only if potential dishonesty has occurred. 

LMS integration with online proctoring software should make implementation quick and easy. Meaning, it shouldn’t take weeks to get up and running. 

If the online proctoring software directly integrates with the LMS, it’s easy to use because it’s pretty much the same experience for instructors and students. Faculty will create the exam in the LMS like they already do and students simply log into the LMS and launch the proctored exam as normal and then verify their identity.

6. Incorporating more visual content

Just as many other industries, such as marketing, nonprofits, and healthcare are seeing the benefits of visual content, expect online learning to do the same.  

To be clear, this doesn’t mean that online courses will suddenly become a picture book, but you may see more visuals used in alignment with other course materials to help reinforce learning.

Why incorporating more visual content may increase in 2022

Educators are always looking to create more engaging course content and visuals are a great way to help break up heavily text-based content and improve comprehension.

7. Adopting user-friendly educational technology

Online learning significantly increased in 2019-2020, largely due to COVID-19. By how much exactly? You may be surprised.

According to recent IPEDS data, almost 52% of students took an online course in 2020 compared to 37% in fall 2019. 

With the sudden shift to online learning and educational software constantly evolving, some students and faculty have struggled to adjust. 

Why educational technology that’s easy to use may increase in 2022

If educational software is easy to use, faculty may be more likely to use it, which aligns with the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). The TAM model essentially says that the main drivers of technology adoption are perceived usability and ease of use.

8. Microlearning to help make online course content more digestible

What is microlearning?

Long story short: microlearning means breaking course content into smaller, more digestible chunks. Instead of providing a 30-minute video lecture with overall notes, microlearning would mean breaking the lecture down into a few short videos and infographics with consolidated notes.

Why microlearning may increase in 2022

Microlearning doesn’t mean that instructors will have to recreate course content. It can be as simple as reworking existing content into smaller chunks that are more specific to a topic.

Microlearning aligns with #5, where we discussed the increasing use of visual content in online courses. Visual content such as infographics and videos, for example, are easier to digest and help with learner retention.

9. Making learning fun and interactive with gamification

Gamification, sometimes called game-based learning, means applying games or elements of game playing to a nongame environment such as an online course. If used correctly, gamification can seem completely natural – you’ve probably encountered it without even realizing it (e.g., an app on your phone that rewards you for logging in each day or redeeming Starbucks rewards).

Ultimately, gamification is used to encourage students to participate and to engage in any number of activities. 

Why gamification in online courses may increase in 2022

Game-based learning isn’t something that’s just for kids or generic subjects. It can apply to complex subjects to help reinforce learning and even make “dull” topics more fun.

Gamification is ideal for microlearning because it can reward learners to achieve small learning objectives and it’s inherently visual.

10. Keeping test questions and answers off the Internet

It’s no secret that students can easily share test questions and answers on homework help sites. We all know it happens but there are ways for instructors to help reduce the problem. 

Institutions can implement software to help reduce the amount of illicit test content available on the Internet. This software searches the internet to identify exam questions that have been shared online and alerts the instructor. 

Why efforts to reduce the number of test questions and answers shared on the internet may increase in 2022

Instructors won’t have to manually search the Internet for leaked test content and they’ll spend less time recreating test content.

The software provides instructors with the tools needed to help create a fair test environment. If instructors can reduce the amount of test content available, students will have a level playing field during the online exam because others won’t be able to get an unfair advantage.

11. Using CBE to help students show what they know and prepare for the real-world

Competency-based education (CBE) is gradually increasing in popularity because it helps increase engagement, ensures mastery, and prepares students for real-world situations.

What is competency-based education?

CBE focuses on students mastering course content and what they can do rather than emphasizing the number of hours spent in class. Students progress only after they have demonstrated applicable knowledge and mastery.

Why the use of CBE in online classes may increase in 2022

CBE can increase student engagement because students can personalize their learning paths and progress at their own pace.

Whether it’s a synchronous or asynchronous online course or blended learning, CBE applies to any modality.

Because students progress at their own pace, they have the flexibility of learning on their schedule.

CBE requires that students demonstrate mastery of course content, which means that students will need to show that they can apply what they’ve learned to real-world situations.

12. Emphasis on mobile course design

Mobile devices in online learning are here to stay.

A student survey found that:

Why mobile-friendly course design may increase in 2022
  • Provides learning flexibility

Most people have a cell phone and most students want to learn on their own time. Being able to learn on their cell phone on the go, whether it’s on their lunch break or scrolling before bed, is a huge benefit for students.

Survey show that ninety four percent of students want to use cell phones for academic purposes
  • Supports gamification and microlearning

People already play games on their cell phones, which are perfectly poised to allow gamification for course content as well. Likewise, cell phones are a great way to incorporate microlearning for students who may only have a few minutes while they’re at lunch.

  • Enhances communication

Almost every LMS that supports mobile functionality also allows notifications and alerts via student cell phones. If a class gets rescheduled or students need a reminder of a due date, it’s a perfect channel for communication.

13. Protecting student data privacy

Students have concerns with data privacy and they want to know that their information is protected and secure. Even though the majority of students trust their institution, expect more institutions to focus efforts on improving data privacy and providing more transparency about their processes.

Why focusing on protecting data privacy may increase in 2022
  • Higher ed institutions are aware of the importance and consequences

A 2019 study showed that more and more institutions are aware of the importance of data privacy and that privacy weaknesses carry serious consequences. Institutions face potential financial repercussions for data privacy breaches in the form of fines and may also suffer decreased enrollments due to a negative hit on their reputation.

  • Students trust their institution but want to know how data is used

According to a recent student survey, about 70% of students trust that their data is safe with their institution, but about the same percentage believe they have the right to know how it’s being used.

14. Focusing on STEM education

Science, technology, engineering, and math are growing in importance as our jobs and economy evolve. That said, it’s no surprise that more higher education institutions are emphasizing STEM in their curriculum.

Why STEM education may increase in 2022
  • To keep up with the projected STEM-related job growth

According to the S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM-related jobs are projected to grow 8% by 2029. Some fields, including healthcare, computer science, and data science are expected to grow at an even faster rate.

  • STEM courses are well-suited for CBE teaching and learning
US Bureau of Labor projects STEM job to grow 8% by 2029

CBE is ideal for preparing students for real-world situations and that’s ideal for STEM with the projected job growth in the coming years. CBE allows students to master STEM course content and prove that they can apply it to the real world.

  • STEM exams can be remote proctored

Although there are many instances where students will need to use calculators during an exam and provide written responses, effective remote proctoring services can still protect the academic integrity of STEM exams. Accommodations can be provided to allow students to use pen and paper to show their work on a math problem and certain applications on the computer, such as calculators, can be allowed.

15. Online collaboration tools to build a learner community and improve learning

Collaboration tools can come in many forms and they play an important role in connecting with students in the online classroom. Some are inherently offered by the LMS, such as forums, chats, and messages, and others are sometimes supported by an LMS that includes video conferencing tools.

Why online collaboration tools may be used more in 2022
  • Helps build a sense of community

By using online collaboration tools, students can share ideas, arrange study groups, and engage with other students. These tools are particularly important for an online learning environment where collaboration with other students may be lacking.

  • Usually works with cell phones

If the LMS supports mobile devices, the collaboration tools mentioned earlier will generally work seamlessly on a cell phone. Other collaboration platforms outside the LMS, such as Zoom video conferencing or shared Google Docs, can be accessed on a modern cell phone as well.

16. MOOCs

Depending on whom you ask, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) can be seen as a benefit or impediment for higher education institutions.

What is a MOOC?

A MOOC is an online course that’s open and available to anyone for free. Depending on the topic and where they’re offered, they mostly operate as a normal online course with structured, interactive content and opportunities to collaborate with others.

Pros and cons of MOOCs

Pros and cons of MOOCs
  • MOOCs open educational opportunities up to a larger audience
  • They can be seen as a “foot in the door” for students who may eventually enroll at the institution
The perceived negatives of MOOCs
  • Some believe they can negatively impact revenue and enrollment because they’re free and available to anyone

Regardless of your viewpoint, MOOCs are likely here to stay, and the pandemic further solidified their use. From March 2020 to April 2020 alone, enrollments at Coursera, an online education platform that offers MOOCs, increased 640%.

Why MOOCs may be used more in 2022
  • They’re free and accessible for everyone

Education can be expensive, and MOOCs are a free resource for learners. Along with being free to use, they’re accessible for anyone and there are no admission requirements.

  • MOOCs may lead to actual enrollments

Institutions that embrace MOOCs have learned that they can easily repurpose their standard course content and open educational opportunities up to a larger audience which can be a potential segue to create actual student enrollments.

17. Providing schedule flexibility and self-paced learning with asynchronous online classes

Whether they’re full-time students or adult learners, schedule flexibility and the ability to learn at their own pace is important to those seeking higher education.

Asynchronous vs synchronous classes

  • Asynchronous classes allow students to progress at their own pace by watching recordings and reviewing materials.
  • Synchronous classes typically include set times to attend live lectures and take exams.
Why asynchronous online classes may increase in 2022
  • Learner flexibility

Similar to CBE, asynchronous online courses provide students with the ability to progress through courses at their own pace.

  • Institutional scalability and students can start anytime

Institutions and instructors can provide the learning materials to as many students as they want at any time.

Because asynchronous online courses are already created and ready to go, students can enroll and begin the course at any time without waiting for the next semester to start.

18. Using automation to save time and provide quicker feedback

Instructors want to spend more time teaching and less time dealing with tasks such as proctoring online exams, grading, and searching the Internet to see if their test questions are being shared by students. AI software plays an important role in their success.

Why automation may be used more in 2022
  • Saves instructors time

From grading assignments and administering online proctored exams to reviewing student behavior and providing remedial course materials based on performance, software can be used to automate processes and save instructors valuable time.

  • Provides students with quicker feedback

When an exam is automatically graded, the student essentially receives instant feedback on their performance.

19. Improving integration for ease of use and diverse content

Using integrated online learning technologies is key to providing a better online learning experience and protecting privacy – both keys to advancing and improving online education moving forward.

Why a focus on improving integration may increase in 2022
  • Helps create a better online learning experience

Seamless integration can help faculty and students use different aspects of online courses with less hassle. For example, if the LMS directly integrates with the online proctoring software, it’s virtually the same testing experience for both faculty and students and there are no additional logins or passwords to remember.

  • Better integration can help protect student privacy

Generally speaking, direct integration between online learning software means that data is being securely exchanged and there are fewer instances of students having to enter passwords into other websites and applications.

  • Allows third-party platforms

Although there are endless third-party platforms used in online learning, a few common platforms are used for online testing, such as MyMathLab, ALEKS, Pearson, and McGraw Hill. A strong integration allows these platforms to be used effortlessly and intuitively within the LMS and with online proctoring software. This way, instructors can be sure that any exams offered outside the LMS can be protected.

20. Continuing to develop emotional intelligence

Students face many challenges, and the stress from the pandemic can impact them in different ways. While some believe is something you have or don’t have, emotional intelligence is a skill that can be learned over time and continually developed.

Why faculty may look to further develop and use emotional intelligence in online classes in 2022

Using emotional intelligence can help students reduce anxiety and stress because it can build trust, improve communication, and increase engagement.

21. Less face recognition technology

Face recognition and face detection are increasingly powerful and have a variety of uses. While many use the two terms interchangeably, they’re different.

Face detection detects that a face is present. Face recognition uses biometric technology to recognize that a face is present and then matches it to an owner in a database.

Why face recognition may be used less in 2022

Face recognition is increasingly powerful, which can raise privacy concerns. For face recognition to work, faces and other unique identifiers are stored in a database. Institutions using facial recognition may need to take a closer look at their security and privacy practices to ensure that the plethora of data is truly secure.

22. Fewer online exams only using browser lockdown software to prevent cheating

While browser lockdown software may have helped prevent cheating years ago, it isn’t enough to truly protect exams today.

What is browser lockdown software?

Browser lockdown software can restrict students from accessing other browsers and using certain keyboard functions.

Why you may see fewer online exams only using browser locks in 2022

Browser lockdown software can protect exams to a certain extent, but they’re easy for students to get around. If an exam only uses a browser lock, students can still use their cell phones or other devices to look up test answers or even have a friend in the room. Instructors need to implement advanced proctoring software and services to protect all aspects of online exams.

We’re looking forward to 2022 and all of the educational technology and online learning innovation that it will bring.

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Submit your email below to download our 5-part DEI eBook

The eBook covers everything you need to know about establishing and using diversity, equity, and inclusion in your online classes.

Part 1: Addressing the need for DEI in online education

Part 2: Strategies to develop diverse, equitable, and inclusive online courses

Part 3: How to create accessible online courses (with real examples)

Part 4: Tips to improve your connection with students in an online learning environment

Part 5: How to use educational technology to create a fair testing environment

DEI for Online Courses

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are fundamental elements of online courses and education because it impacts every aspect of the learning experience for each student. From the way you communicate with your students to the way you develop course content and test their knowledge, it impacts every piece of the educational experience.

This article will show you how to:

Before we show you how to apply diversity, equity, and inclusion to your online courses, consider these questions:

How are you establishing DEI in your course?

  • Have you created a diversity, equity, and inclusion statement? 
  • Do your students understand how DEI impacts and improves their educational experience?

What’s needed to take your online course?

  • How much does it cost to purchase the required software and hardware? What if students can’t afford it?

Are you using diverse course content?

  • Are you using references from a diverse range of people, groups, and perspectives?
  • Does the course content adapt to all learning styles?

Is the online course accessible?

  • Does your online course content meet web accessibility compliance standards?
  • Is it structured to allow assistive technology to understand the content?

These questions are just the beginning of designing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive online course.

Applying diversity, equity, and inclusion to online courses

Inclusive course design includes many strategies – some simple, some complex – to foster a learning environment that provides each student with a sense of belonging and an equal opportunity to achieve their educational goals.

Plan and create diverse and inclusive course content

Course design that acknowledges diversity and inclusion recognizes that all students learn differently and they need flexible ways to show what they know. It’s a well-thought-out approach to teaching that’s creative, adaptable, and engaging. 

This approach to planning and creating course content acknowledges how students learn but also their capacity to learn, disabilities, conditions, preferences, and available resources.

Consider this scenario:

You’re teaching an online course with 20 students and several have one or more of the following conditions:

  • Blind
  • Colorblind
  • Deaf
  • Unable to use a mouse or type on the keyboard

How can you accommodate these students so that they have a fair and inclusive learning experience?

Allow assistive technologies

Some students in your course may need to use assistive technology to engage and interact with your online class content. The assistive technologies should be compatible with all other technologies used in the online classroom such as the LMS, online proctoring, video conferencing, and any other multimedia.

Examples:

For a student with a visual impairment, a screen reader can be used. A screen reader conveys text and images displayed on the screen into speech or touch (Braille). 

For a student that cannot type or use a mouse, an assistive keyboard and adaptive mouse can be used. These assistive technologies are designed and modified to help students who may have motor function impairments.

Use multimedia to provide alternatives

For students who are deaf, blind, or colorblind, for example, multimedia course content such as audio, video, and images, can help them engage with course content. However, keep accessibility standards in mind. All multimedia used in your online class has to meet web accessibility standards and best practices which cover things like:
  • Captioning, subtitles, and transcriptions
  • Alternative-text and descriptions
  • Appropriate color contrast
  • Font sizes and types
  • Organization and structure

Use emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is important for everyone, but particularly for educators and students. 

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence means being aware of your emotions and being able to regulate them while handling and building relationships with empathy, self-awareness, and good judgment.

Can emotional intelligence be taught?

Many people believe that emotional intelligence is something that you have or don’t have, but like most skills, it takes practice.

“We often think that emotional intelligence is something you have or you don’t have, but the good news is that isn’t necessarily true. It’s a skill that we can develop.”

– Bethany J. Adams, MA, SHRM-SCP, Villanova University Instructor and Associate Director of the Graduate Programs in Human Resource Development

Provide different ways to participate

Make sure that students have different options to participate and engage with your class content and with other students. Whether it’s technology-related, communication methods, or group work, make sure students understand what options are available.

What if students can’t meet the technology requirements?

While most students have a laptop or computer, some don’t have the resources or the ability to purchase them. 

Consider this scenario: your student has a computer but the webcam is broken and they can’t afford to buy one. How can they engage and interact with your class?

 If their webcam is broken, you need to provide them with other options, such as speaking or using the chat during a live lecture.

“Whether it’s being on camera, speaking, using the chat, or just listening in, you want them to have every opportunity to interact in different ways when they’re ready,”

Patrick DeLapp, VA Special Olympics Board Member and Coach

Allow accommodations

Accommodations are a lifeline for many students whether they need to use assistive devices to read, need more time to complete a proctored exam, or have a condition that requires bathroom breaks every ten minutes.

Consider this example of two students taking an online proctored exam on their laptop:

Student 1: their laptop’s webcam broke and they can’t afford to buy a new one.

Student 2: has a condition that requires bathroom breaks every ten minutes.

How can you provide accommodations for these students?

For student 1, you can give the remote proctor instructions to bypass the student not using a webcam and face detection can be turned off. This way, the student can complete the proctored exam without the webcam but other test monitoring features, such as cell phone detection and voice detection, remain in place to protect the exam. For student 2, you can provide the remote proctor with specific accommodations for the student to allow bathroom breaks every ten minutes or as needed.

Provide practice tests

Practice tests and other low-stakes exams are beneficial for a variety of reasons such as reducing student test anxiety and getting feedback.

A student survey indicated that one of the main causes of test anxiety was concerns about technology working correctly. If you provide regular practice tests, your students can better understand how the online test platform works and they can prepare accordingly.

Low stakes testing also includes non-graded “tests” which ask for feedback in different forms. Whether it’s a poll question about how they prefer to learn or a written response to reflect on a course topic, it’s a great way for instructors to learn about their students.

Use anonymous grading

Use anonymous grading, sometimes referred to as blind grading, to remove any potential grading bias. With anonymous grading, a student submits their assignment with no name or identification number. You can accomplish this using most modern LMSs by turning on anonymous grading at the course level. This feature hides  student names during grading and then distributes their scores back to them automatically. Anonymous grading can help build trust with students because they know that it’s fair and equitable.

Provide students with a list of helpful resources

Gather a list of helpful resources that students can use such as tutoring services, writing centers, online libraries, study groups, technical support, and any accessibility offices and contacts. You can provide helpful guides and FAQs about any technology requirements used in your online courses, such as how to use the LMS, setting up the room before an online proctored exam, and minimum system requirements.

Make a connection with your students

Get to know your students and make a connection with them. In doing so, you can help build trust and improve communication.

How do you build this connection? Be human and don’t overthink it.

Tell them about yourself, your hobbies and interests, or just a funny story from your past that makes you who you are.

Be authentic, relatable, and most of all – human.

Creating a diversity, equity, and inclusion statement for online courses

Create a statement that describes your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion for your online courses and in life.

What is a diversity, equity, and inclusion statement?

It’s a concise statement that clearly tells your story and explains your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion along with the impact it makes in your online classes. 

How to create a diversity, equity, and inclusion statement

Be clear and concise

Don’t worry about word count – the most important thing is to tell a meaningful story about your mission and purpose.

Describe the impact and importance of DEI

Students have to understand the importance of DEI and the impact it makes on their education. Explain how it creates a fair learning environment and provides different perspectives and opportunities to expand their knowledge.

Discuss your experience and commitment

Speak to your experience with diversity, equity, and inclusion. Regardless of your race, ethnicity, gender, age, or condition, describe your understanding and ongoing commitment to creating an inclusive and diverse educational experience for all students.

Set clear expectations for student behavior

Students need to know what behavior is expected of them and how they play a role in maintaining an inclusive learning environment.

Academic diversity, equity, and inclusion and statement sample

​​I am committed to creating a classroom community that values and respects diversity, equity, and inclusion. I am committed to this effort because these differences inspire compassion, encourage creativity, support students, and create a community of academic rigor that drives success. 

We will all respect each other regardless of any differences such as race, color, age, socioeconomic status, condition, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, and any other way a person identifies. 

We are all part of this ongoing effort to create a diverse, fair, and inclusive learning environment that welcomes all individuals, encourages open, tolerant, and respectful communication, and supports students throughout their educational journey. 

Establishing diversity and inclusion from the beginning

Start from scratch

Forget your assumptions, acknowledge biases (whether intended or not), and realize that you probably have a lot to learn. 

This self-awareness helps create an inclusive and diverse educational experience for all of your students because it considers all variables – from background and experiences to creating a learning environment that’s inclusive and fair for all students in your online course. 

Embrace mistakes

You’ll make mistakes but try to look at them as an opportunity to learn and adapt.  

Stay up-to-date

Every course will have different variables that will frequently change. What you created last semester may need to be tweaked and it could even be out of compliance based on previous standards. Stay up-to-date and ahead of changes.

Understand different learning styles

Understanding different learning styles doesn’t mean just acknowledging that some students prefer listening to audio while others prefer reading studies on their laptops. It’s an approach to teaching and learning that considers all variables such as web accessibility, available technology and resources, and different types of content.

When you understand and acknowledge different learning styles, you can plan how to create diverse content and that provides students with different ways to demonstrate their knowledge.

Use diverse sources for course content

When you’re developing your online course, include information from different sources to give students different perspectives, backgrounds, and values. 

Use at least two sources from different backgrounds. This can be selecting sources that are from different genders, races, ethnicities, religions, and even countries. 

Diverse sources also include information from different publications, which helps give different perspectives and contexts. Look for case studies, magazines, books, research studies, news, and interviews to help provide a diverse look at the information.

Use inclusive language

Inclusive language helps create belonging in your online course. Be aware of the language and terms you use and be sensitive to different beliefs, backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences of your students.

Inclusive language is always changing, so make sure you stay up to date with the appropriate terms to use.

Educators can make a difference

Creating online courses that are truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive is an ongoing and complex effort, but the actionable steps outlined in this blog ensure that you’re on the right track. Educators play an invaluable role in creating a learning environment that welcomes all students, levels the playing field, drives communication and connection, and creates a better educational experience.

Submit your email below to download our 5-part DEI eBook

 The eBook covers everything you need to know about establishing and using diversity, equity, and inclusion in your online classes.

Part 1: Addressing the need for DEI in online education

Part 2: Strategies to develop diverse, equitable, and inclusive online courses

Part 3: How to create accessible online courses (with real examples)

Part 4: Tips to improve your connection with students in an online learning environment

Part 5: How to use educational technology to create a fair testing environment

10 Ways to Improve Emotional Intelligence in Online Classes

Becoming emotionally intelligent is essential for everyone, but particularly for educators and students. But how can you apply emotional intelligence in your online courses and what is its role in higher education?

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence, sometimes referred to at EI, is the capability to be aware of and regulate emotions while handling and building interpersonal relationships with self-awareness, good judgment, and empathy.

Can emotional intelligence be learned?

Contrary to what many believe, emotional intelligence can be learned and continually developed over time.

“We often think that emotional intelligence is something you have or you don’t have, but the good news is that isn’t necessarily true. It’s a skill that we can develop.“

– Bethany J. Adams, MA, SHRM-SCP, Villanova University Instructor and Associate Director of the Graduate Programs in Human Resource Development

10 strategies to improve emotional intelligence in online classes

1. Create psychological safety for your student

“One of the most crucial, fundamental things we can do to help our teams work better together is creating psychological safety,” said Adams. 

What does psychological safety mean for students in an online class?

It means that your students are confident that they can make mistakes, ask questions, or say the wrong thing without being punished or ridiculed. 

Why is psychological safety important for students and online learning?

Google’s Project Aristotle found that psychological safety is the most important factor in an effective team. Whether it’s a discussion with the entire class, group work, or just a one-on-one conversation, your students need to know that they’re able to take risks.

Students that feel psychologically safe often share ideas and information, collaborate and help others, and express trust and interest. 

How to create psychological safety in your online course

Make it clear that your online course is a safe space for risk-taking, asking questions, and collaborating with others.

  • Answer students with thoughtfulness and respect 
  • Ask students for their input and opinions
  • Encourage others to share information
  • Understand that your communications matter regardless of the context – whether it’s providing feedback to an essay, replying to an email, or talking through a webcam – every  response matters and helps create psychological safety

2. Be aware of your emotions and understand how you’re feeling

Before you can improve your emotional intelligence and help others, you need to be aware of your emotions and understand how they may be influencing your thoughts and behavior.

3. Communicate to connect

Connect with your students by using clear communication and having a true dialogue with your students.

4. Develop a better emotional vocabulary

The ability to identify your emotions and accurately speak about them gives better information to yourself and others.

Be specific about what you’re feeling

  • Don’t say, “I’m happy with this group project.”
  • Be specific and say, “I’m excited and comfortable with this group project.”

5. Embrace healthy conflict

Simply put: healthy conflict is a good thing that challenges teams and brings better results.

“We may think, ‘I don’t want conflict on my team or my organization’ but actually, we do. We just want healthy conflict,” said Adams explained.

This doesn’t mean that no conflict is a bad thing. However, a group or organization with no conflict can mean operating in a comfort zone that doesn’t encourage thinking outside the box or challenging ideas in order to improve.

Healthy conflict focuses on the task, not the person. This focus on task conflict challenges students to focus on the idea, share what they don’t like about it, and discuss what can change and be done differently.

“It makes us better together because we can talk about it,” Adams concluded.

6. Actively listen to your students’ words and behavior

This communication also means actively listening and paying attention to their body language.

7. Take a step back before responding

Before you respond, pause for a moment to collect your thoughts to help you better communicate your message to others instead of reacting to difficult conversations and conflict.

8. Practice makes perfect

Learn and practice techniques to manage your emotions. There’s no perfect path to managing your emotions because everyone’s different, but a few methods include listening to your body and physical symptoms, positive self-talk, exercise, and finding ways to relax (deep breathing, reading, etc.)

9. Put yourself in their shoes

Empathize with your students and understand how they’re feeling, their perspectives, and be able to relate. 

10. Accept that you’ll make mistakes

Applying emotional intelligence also means adapting to a variety of situations and people. So be patient with yourself and learn how you react in certain situations. Understand how you might have spoken or acted differently to achieve a more favorable result—not just for you, but for everyone involved, online and in person.

How to use emotional intelligence in online classes

Schools and faculty who offer online classes have a distinct challenge to apply emotional intelligence in an online learning environment to serve the needs of their students:

  • Are the online courses designed to engage students and inspire learning? 
  • Are instructors effectively communicating and connecting with students?
  • Can instructors genuinely understand how students are feeling and read body language through a webcam?
  • What communications work best? Video chat? Email? Chat?
  • Are instructors building trust and rapport with students?
  • How is academic integrity protected in an online learning environment? Is an honor policy encouraged? Are you using online exam proctoring?

The benefits of emotional intelligence in higher education

The benefits of teaching emotional intelligence to students

Emotional intelligence benefits virtually any subject – from business, management, and nursing to humanities subjects and social sciences such as psychology, law, and social work.

Teachers can promote emotional intelligence in their students by serving as role models and by framing their coursework in such a way that students have opportunities to develop EI skills and patterns of thought.

The importance of emotional intelligence for teachers

Teachers with high EI know that students want to be challenged so that they can learn and grow.

Teaching emotional intelligence can help instructors connect with students in ways that last a lifetime. They create a safe environment in which students feel free to openly communicate, collaborate, and build relationships.

EI can help improve student success

Developing emotional intelligence is crucial for success in school and better relationships in life. Self-regulating is key to keeping emotions from holding us back. Students higher in EI tend to be more engaged in school and more resilient during exam periods and other stressful moments.

Emotional intelligence can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression

Depression, anxiety, and stress are increasingly prevalent among students. A 2019 survey of undergraduate students by the American College of Health Association showed: 

  • Over 1 in 4 students reported depression that negatively impacted their academic performance 
  • 43% of students reported feeling overwhelmed by anxiety

However, studies show that emotional intelligence can play a key role in helping students manage anxiety and stress. Whether it’s juggling education and a career, preparing for exams, or adjusting to uncertain times, studies show that EI and its adaptive strategies can help students cope in various stressful situations. 

Student test anxiety survey

Along with applying emotional intelligence, educators and institutions can help support students in other ways, such as reducing test anxiety. A 2020 student survey reported that over 60% of students expressed that tests make them nervous. 

While testing can be inherently stressful, there are ways to help support students and reduce their test anxiety such as: 

  • Providing practice exams 
  • Explaining what to expect
  • Using online proctoring 

A common assumption is that online proctoring is only used to catch students cheating on exams, but the same 2020 study showed that online proctoring can help reduce student test anxiety. 

If done correctly, online proctoring is a resource for students – not just a way to catch them cheating.

Once students understood what to expect from a proctored exam and interacted with a live proctor, test anxiety decreased.

“The proctor popping in was different than I expected – in a positive way. I imagined them being more strict. I felt that the proctor was helpful and a lot less intimidating than I thought.” – Student quote in a post-exam interview

Training was key

A key factor in this survey was the remote proctor training. The full-time online proctoring staff was trained by a nationally certified counselor and educator to support students who are experiencing test anxiety.

The training taught the online proctors to:

  • Recognize symptoms and signs of test anxiety and stress
  • Encourage appropriate behavior and deescalate problematic behavior 
  • Increase positive interactions with students and help them learn to self-regulate behavior

Emotional intelligence myths and truths

Adams provided these myths and truths of emotional intelligence to clear up common misconceptions:

Myths

  • Emotional Intelligence is something you have or you don’t have.
  • Emotional Intelligence means suppressing or hiding your emotions.
  • Emotional Intelligence is a touchy-feely thing focused only on feelings.

Truths

  • Emotional intelligence is a set of skills that can be learned and improved over time. 
  • Emotional Intelligence is learning to perceive & manage one’s emotions, not suppress them. 
  • Emotional Intelligence is more about action than feelings.

5 Components of Emotional Intelligence

According to Daniel Goleman’s work, the five key components of emotional intelligence are:

1. Self-awareness

  • The benefits of emotional intelligence include the ability to look internally and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. 
    • People with high EI notice when their emotions are influencing their thinking, communication, and decision-making and have the ability to take the necessary steps to adjust.
  • By isolating and understanding where negative feelings come from, individuals with well-developed EI also make more rational and impartial decisions
  • People with EI are more aware of how they communicate nonverbally and the impact it has—the signals of body language and facial expressions. 

2. Self-regulation

  • Highly emotionally intelligent individuals can adapt to changing circumstances and are also able to contain their reactions and avoid impulsivity. 
    • This ability to adapt could be especially helpful in uncertain situations such as rapidly moving to an online learning environment due to COVID-19
  • They keep calm, think logically, and handle challenges with poise.
  • Being able to self-regulate helps students cope better in an academic environment. 
    • The success that it brings them can instill confidence to continue to achieve greater successes in and out of school.

3. Motivation

  • Those with higher EI take initiative, know that their actions speak louder than words, and are capable of making better-informed decisions.
  • High-EI individuals understand sharply that their emotions can influence their behaviors and those of others.
  • Optimism and perseverance are qualities of those with high EI. 
    • Seeing the way forward in even trying situations gives insight into what’s necessary to achieve greater aspirations and to understand the self-motivation required to attain them.

4. Empathy

  • Empathy means understanding the feelings, needs, and concerns of others.
    • Empathetic people notice and interpret even subtle emotional cues (verbal and non-verbal) that indicate how others are feeling.
  • Empathy and EI require people to step out of their own mindset, set aside extraneous thoughts, and be present in the moment. 
    • Empathy can be trained by listening to others and noting how you react in real-time.

5. Social skills

  • Individuals with high EI can better anticipate and respond to others’ feelings.
  • They express themselves clearly, feel comfortable in social situations, and understand the power dynamics in groups and organizations they encounter.
  • EI helps to gauge the motives of others.
    • People with EI are sensitive to others’ feelings, even during uncomfortable conversations.
    • Those with adept social skills are curious about others and tend to foster more meaningful relationships.

Submit your email below to download our 5-part DEI eBook

 The eBook covers everything you need to know about establishing and using diversity, equity, and inclusion in your online classes.

Part 1: Addressing the need for DEI in online education

Part 2: Strategies to develop diverse, equitable, and inclusive online courses

Part 3: How to create accessible online courses (with real examples)

Part 4: Tips to improve your connection with students in an online learning environment

Part 5: How to use educational technology to create a fair testing environment

Comparing Face Detection to Face Recognition

As face detection and facial recognition software become increasingly dynamic, people are understandably concerned about their privacy, and those taking online proctored exams have reported various negative experiences.

There are key differences between face detection and face recognition, and it’s important to be able to distinguish between the two, as both are used to varying degrees by online proctoring service providers.

For example, some online proctoring services use face detection while others use “continuous facial recognition” throughout the entire exam, which may be invasive and pose privacy and data issues.”

Comparing face detection and face recognition

What is face detection?

Face detection uses AI technology that can determine when human faces appear in images. It uses algorithms to analyze and to separate faces from all the other features that may be present in an image—the baseline goal is to distinguish your face from a stop sign, for example, or from the adorable mug with your dog’s face on it.

Broader than face recognition

Face detection as a concept includes face recognition in some instances. If a system can isolate a face from the rest of an image, then it qualifies as “face detection.” But facial recognition is more specific and is just one of a range of capabilities under the rubric of face detection. Facial recognition uses biometric technology not just to recognize when a human face is present, but also to determine the identity of the person.

How face detection works

Our eyes, standing out as they do, are the first objects that face detection algorithms usually search for. The algorithm will then seek other features of our faces, and when it finds them it compares what it thinks is a face to large databases that definitely contain faces—as well as non-face images to make sure the algorithm is working properly.

The AI is essentially “trained” to identify whether images and videos contain faces or not. This training uses a seemingly endless number of images and video – some containing faces while others don’t – to help ensure ongoing improvements and overall accuracy.

What is face recognition?

Face recognition is one of the most significant applications of face detection. It’s able to capture someone’s image and know exactly who that person is. The technology isn’t 100% perfected yet, but if your image is already in a database, there’s a good chance that the owner of the database will be able to identify you.

What are the differences between how they work?

The steps below highlight the differences between how face detection and face recognition work. You’ll notice that face recognition goes beyond simply identifying that a face is present.

Face detection

Steps of how face detection works

How is face detection used in online proctoring?

If you are concerned about the implications of facial recognition technology when it comes to proctoring online exams, we at Honorlock understand. 

Honorlock does not use face recognition

We use face detection, which only detects that there is a clear human face in the webcam.

We do NOT identify any individual face, store facial elements, or match the face to a database. If no face is detected, however, or if multiple faces are detected, AI will flag the incident and a human proctor may intervene.

Safe for everyone involved

We take data privacy seriously. All data is secured. Data in transit and data at rest is encrypted and stored on the cloud in an Amazon (AWS) data center.  Amazon’s data centers are SOC 3 certified, U.S. Privacy Shield, and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant.

Facial detection is just one of the many online proctoring features that Honorlock uses to make sure test takers have a positive and secure remote testing experience. When you compare online proctoring services, be sure to check whether face detection is being used, rather than the more problematic face recognition. 

Speak with our online proctoring experts to see how Honorlock works. 

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 The eBook covers everything you need to know about establishing and using diversity, equity, and inclusion in your online classes.

What is Academic Integrity?

Students hear a lot about academic integrity from their colleges and universities, especially at the beginning of each term and during the lead-up to final examinations. Fall orientations include information about honor codes and syllabi that refer students to handbooks for guidelines to avoid academic dishonesty. Academic integrity is a serious topic and worthy of periodic examination. 

What does academic integrity mean?

Academic integrity is a code of ethics for students to follow in their courses, exams, and overall behavior. Each student’s work should be their own. Students complete their own assignments, take their own exams, and earn their own grades.

Why academic integrity is Important

In our competitive world, academic integrity is important to ensure that students have a fair and equitable learning experience. Cheating not only hurts the student because it’s an unearned, hollow achievement, but it also robs honest students of the standing that they truly deserve and puts an institution’s reputation at risk.

Academic integrity protects the institution’s reputation

Institutions have a responsibility to safeguard the value of the degrees that they award. Reputation is everything, and no credible educational organization wants to be known as a diploma mill. Universities and colleges want to know that their students honorably earned their grades and possess the knowledge and skills required for their field.

When academic integrity is protected and the educational experience is fair and equitable, everyone wins.

How to create an honor code to deter academic dishonesty

One effective way that colleges and universities can deter academic dishonesty and create an environment of academic integrity is to institute an honor code, sometimes known as an “integrity policy” or “honor policy.” 

Honor codes have been shown for decades to reduce cheating by creating a community in which every student knows the standards and feels like a part of an institution that cares about them and their peers. 

Honor codes are built on a baseline of trust and students who learn in schools with them are known to encourage each other to be honest in their work. This way, potential academic dishonesty is deterred by their peers, which can help strengthen the bonds of community for students and faculty alike. 

Once an institution knows what its values are, it can write them down and make the honor code known to the entire community.

How to protect academic integrity

As online learning becomes more common, another way to protect academic integrity and prevent cheating is online exam proctoring.

Most students seem to understand that there has to be some way for schools to keep their online exams fair when the internet has made it easy for students to look up test answers. It’s important that students understand the type of online proctoring their school uses because it greatly impacts their online testing experience.

The advantages of online proctoring with Honorlock

Honorlock’s online proctoring software and services help create a fair and equitable testing environment that protects online exams and supports students throughout. 

Our approach to online proctoring blends the benefits of AI test monitoring software with live human proctors to create a less intrusive test environment that protects online exams and supports students.

We foster trust in students while protecting the academic integrity of degrees and programs. Our online proctoring software directly integrates with your existing LMS and allows instructors to customize college exams online, monitor performance, and generate robust analytics.

Students benefit from 24/7/365 scheduling of online proctored exams whenever and wherever they choose. 

How do Honorlock’s proctoring services work?

Honorlock upholds academic integrity with online proctoring that’s monitored by AI and reviewed by humans. Our software and live test proctors make the technical online exam proctoring experience simple, easy, and human.

Honorlock online proctoring provides:

A familiar testing environment
Honorlock’s direct LMS integration means that instructors will create exams just like they already do and students will take the exam in the environment they’re already comfortable with.

AI + live test proctors
If our AI test monitoring software notices possible academic dishonesty, it notifies our live test proctors who can intervene via chat to assess the situation and help the student get back on track. This approach to proctoring online exams can also help reduce student test anxiety. 

Detection of cell phone use
Our remote proctoring software can detect when a student attempts to access test bank content during the exam using their cell phone, tablet, and laptop. 

Video proctoring and voice detection
Our AI includes video proctoring using the webcam to monitor behavior coupled with our voice detection software which detects sound and listens for specific keywords or phrases, such as “Hey Siri” or “OK Google.”

24/7 proctored exams and support for students and faculty
Honorlock is on-demand, so students can take their proctored online exam when they’re ready and get support – any time, day or night.

60-second ID verification
Honorlock makes ID verification quick and simple by capturing a picture of the test-taker along with their photo ID and then they can begin their online proctored exam.

Test questions and content
Our remote proctoring software searches for leaked test questions and content and works with instructors to request the removal of the material. 

Access to reports and recordings
After the exam, we send a comprehensive report of potential incidents and a time-stamped recording to save time.

 We know that your reputation and academic integrity mean everything when it comes to attracting students and our online proctoring services play a critical role in your success. That’s why we’ve dedicated ourselves to continually innovating to bring integrity, humanity, confidence, and positive outcomes to the proctored testing experience.

Speak with one of our experts to see how Honorlock works. 

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Higher Education Student Test Anxiety Survey

Test anxiety is common for students, especially in an online testing environment where online proctoring is used. But what if online exam proctoring can actually help reduce test anxiety? 

To understand how our approach to online proctoring can impact student test anxiety, we conducted a survey with the University of North Alabama (UNA) to learn:

  • What causes test anxiety?
  • Can test anxiety be reduced with online proctoring?
  • Ways instructors can help reduce student assessment anxiety

Test anxiety summary

Test anxiety summary

Test anxiety is any reaction that causes stress and anxiety for students. These reactions can be psychological, physical, and emotional.

What are test anxiety symptoms?

Test anxiety can be different for each person. It can mean panic attacks and severe anxiety for some or it can be sweaty palms and nausea for others. Regardless of the symptoms, it can negatively impact testing performance.

About the student test anxiety survey

Who was surveyed?

During a three-month period in 2020, UNA students across a variety of disciplines were surveyed before and after assessments to understand their baseline anxiety regarding proctored assessments.

These students were participating in mid-term and final exams from the summer and fall semesters for two different classes.

Survey findings

Quick student test anxiety survey stats:

  • 64% agreed that “taking an online test makes me nervous”
  • 6% decrease in overall test anxiety between their first and second exams
  • 15% decrease in anxiety associated with the statement, “Thoughts about the proctor interfered with my concentration.”
  • 100% of students who interacted with an Honorlock remote proctor responded “Yes” to the interview question “Did the proctor make you less anxious?”

Online testing causes stress

64% of students, even when they’re well-prepared, agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “taking an online test makes me nervous.”

What causes test anxiety associated with online proctoring?

    • Technology concerns (worried their device won’t work or they’ll have internet issues)
    • Students don’t understand what can be flagged by the AI or live proctor.
      • Some students assumed that insignificant behavior could get flagged, such as: reading a test question out loud or looking up for a moment to think
      • Students don’t know how interactions with a remote proctor will play out

Online proctoring done correctly can help reduce test anxiety

Interacting with remote proctors can reduce test anxiety

The students were surveyed before and after assessments and we found that students who interacted with remote proctors during their exam had a marked decrease in anxiety for future exams. In fact, all of the students experienced a reduction in anxiety after they experienced a chat with a proctor.

Just being able to interact with a live test proctor helped students feel more confident. The conversations allowed them to identify different triggers for live support and experience a positive, supportive interaction. 

Students usually think that test proctors are only there to catch cheating. In reality, Honorlock proctors are a resource for students during the proctored exam.

“The proctor popping in was different than I expected – in a positive way. I imagined them being more strict. I felt that the proctor was helpful and a lot less intimidating than I thought.”

 – Student quote in a post-exam interview

More experience with proctored exams helps reduce anxiety

Students experienced:

  • 6% less overall test anxiety between their first and second exams
  • 15% less anxiety associated with the statement, “Thoughts about the proctor interfered with my concentration.”
  • 100% of students who interacted with a remote proctor responded “Yes” to the interview question “Did the proctor make you less anxious?”

Proctor training is important

During our study, we looked at whether or not better proctor training could result in an improved experience for students. 

We started by looking at existing research on physical signs of stress during tests including*:

  1. Lip licking 
  2. Excessive throat clearing 
  3. Propping the head up 
  4. Touching or rubbing the face 

Our test proctors were trained to spot these behaviors and proactively interact with students using a reassuring set of talking points.

Here’s a look at the talking points for test proctor interactions with students

Student test anxiety talk track with test proctor

Training proctors to better support students during times of anxiety

Our approach to online proctoring aims to improve the testing experience for students. Staying true to our word, our full-time remote proctoring team was trained by a nationally certified counselor and educator on support during moments of assessment frustration and anxiety to assist students and help them feel supported in their test-taking environment.

How instructors can help reduce student test anxiety

Use practice exams to help students get comfortable with proctored exams

By creating familiarity with online proctored exams, instructors can proactively help reduce student anxiety. 

Be sure to create multiple opportunities to complete practice exams, check technology requirements, and interact with a remote proctor at the beginning of the assessment.

“My professor set up a practice test the week before the first real test. The practice test listed out all of her expectations and requirements. On my first real exam, I was fully prepared for the online proctoring experience since I knew what to expect.” 

– Student quote in a post-exam interview

Provide important information about how proctored exams work

Give your students upfront information about how proctored exams work so that they know what to expect beforehand. 

Be sure to include information about:

  • What online proctoring is, how it works, and why it’s used
  • What can trigger a “flag” and what to expect during an interaction with a test proctor
  • Test rules to help avoid any confusion
  • Minimum system requirements (a device with functioning webcam and microphone, internet connection, etc.)
  • The role of a remote proctor
  • Available support options and how to access it
  • Accessibility options and accommodations

A Better Approach to Online Proctoring

Honorlock approaches online proctoring in such a way that what’s good for the institution is also good for the learner.

Our purpose isn’t just to prevent students from cheating – we aim to create a testing experience that supports academic integrity in a non-invasive and fair test environment.

Honorlock strives to build confidence and trust with students that will strengthen their relationships with your faculty and institution.

Webinar: Reducing Student Test Anxiety During Online Proctored Assessments

In the ever-evolving world of online education, students are finding themselves testing under new circumstances that can add to their already existent test anxiety. Honorlock and the University of North Alabama partnered to conduct a detailed study on test anxiety and online proctoring. Learn about test anxiety drivers, how we can mitigate the impact of anxiety during exams, and help promote student success.

As you walk away from our webinar, you will have a clearer picture of:

  1. How the average student experiences test anxiety (even when they feel well prepared) and how to reduce test anxiety
  2. What role online proctoring has on your student’s emotions
  3. The vital role of the proctor and how they engage/interact with students
  4. The basic steps and information you can provide to students for test anxiety prevention and reduction.

Speakers

Jordan Adair

VP of Product @Honorlock

Jordan began his career in education as an elementary and middle school teacher. After transitioning into educational technology he became focused on delivering products designed to empower instructors and improve the student experience.

Jill Simpson

Instructional Designer/Technologist,
University of North Alabama

Prior to her role as Instructional Designer/Technologist, Dr. Jill Simpson taught computer software courses for 15 years, with 10 of those years spent in the online environment. Now serving as the Instructional Designer/Technologist for the College of Business at the University of North Alabama (UNA), Dr. Simpson continues to teach online computer software classes for the BBA program, as well as an online foundational course for the MBA program. With an entirely online MBA program and many online BBA courses, the College of Business at UNA frequently strategizes how to optimize student learning and student satisfaction while maintaining the academic integrity of our online courses. Dr. Simpson’s role in this strategy is to research available technologies to determine which will meet our needs and then train faculty how to use it.

Jan Wilson

Organizational Development and
Learning Consultant

As an organizational development and learning consultant, Jan has provided strategic planning, process alignment, change management, curriculum development, and planning, as well as learning solutions to a variety of clients in pharma, healthcare, and state governments. Jan earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in information technology from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, as well as a Master of Education in Human Resource Development from Vanderbilt University, also in Nashville, Tennessee. Additionally, she has served as adjunct faculty at the Peabody School of Vanderbilt University.

What is Honorlock?

Honorlock provides easy to to use, secure online proctoring services to protect your exams and support students. 

We combine AI proctoring software and live test proctors to protect academic integrity with a human touch. 

Our online proctoring software monitors each student’s exam session for potential problems and alerts a live, US-based proctor to join the session in real-time to address possible dishonesty.

In addition to our blend of AI software and live test proctors, our proctoring software directly integrates with your LMS and provides additional features such as detecting cell phone use and voices, video proctoring, browser lockdown, no exam scheduling, ID verification, and 24/7 support.

How to Get Student Buy-In for Online Exam Proctoring

An article from eCampusNews shared valuable tips from Honorlock to help higher education institutions reduce student anxiety and increase buy-in about online proctoring by educating, informing, and empowering students with accessible resources and information from trusted sources.

The article covers the following:

  • Building a foundation of student advocates for remote proctoring
  • Creating accessible help resources for students
  • Training instructors to build confidence and comfort
  • Encouraging practice tests and flexible settings

Online exam proctoring for university assessments has become a necessary tool to provide a flexible remote learning environment. But like any new process, people can be skeptical of the unknown. When students initially hear about remote proctoring, it can cause anxiety and stress. There’s typically a lack of information or there’s misinformation that circulates among the student population. 

But there are steps that academic institutions can take to put students at ease. By providing students with all the necessary information early in the process, universities can garner student buy-in and create a student body that supports online proctoring to help limit the number of questions and detractors.

Build student advocates for online proctoring

Fair and equitable online exams validate the time-honored academic agreement between an institution, its instructors, and its students. Students generally understand that creating a level playing field is necessary to support the integrity and value of their degree, but we shouldn’t assume that it’s top of mind for them. 

One way to help remind students that online proctoring benefits them is to build a student advocacy team. These students can be involved early on in the process, even helping to test and choose the university’s proctoring solution. These students can advocate by talking to students or classes, sharing information on university social or news channels, or acting as liaisons for instructors.

By creating and empowering a base of student advocates who can inform their peers, other students can more readily understand the need for online proctoring for university assessments and that it isn’t simply to prevent cheating. This can reduce feelings of anxiety and misinformation and reinforce the university’s commitment to a fair and equitable experience.

Have answers about online proctoring readily available for students

Helping students feel comfortable with any new technology requires openness and access. Students need information, and they want the information from a source they already trust and have a relationship with, not the company that manages the product. 

One best practice is for schools to create a central location for online testing information. For example, a page on the school website with information that students need about proctored exams and university policies. 

Information can include:

  • What hardware and software do I need to have to take a proctored exam?
  • How is my personal data secured? 
  • How does the proctoring software verify identity? 
  • What if I have an accommodation request? 
  • What happens if the proctoring software flags concerning behavior during a test?
  • How does the proctoring service ensure that all students are treated fairly/equitably?
  • Who do I contact if I have a problem or concern? 
  • What support is available for test takers?
  • How do I schedule a proctored exam? 

Make sure that your instructors can comfortably use the proctoring software

Students can pick up cues from their instructors.

If instructors are uncomfortable with the proctoring software and cannot vouch for it, students will notice. 

Teaching online can be intimidating for instructors, whether they are experienced in online instruction or teaching online for the first time. To mitigate that, give instructors time to get to know the proctoring software. Similar to how a university can create an information hub for students, the same can be done for instructors. If resources don’t allow for that, universities can hold a town-hall-style meeting in partnership with student representatives and the proctoring partner to answer questions.

The last thing a university wants is for students to feel like they can’t trust their instructors. Make it clear that proctoring is not designed to weed out cheaters, but to create a safe space for all students that encourages honorable exam-taking. If instructors can confidently answer students’ questions and concerns about the intent of online proctoring, students may be more open to the process. 

Encourage practice tests and offer flexible exam times

Online exams may be new to students, and even if they’ve taken online exams, this may be their first time using remote proctoring. 

Practice tests are a great way to ensure that students understand how to use the online testing platform and are clear on instructor expectations for online exams. The more experience students have with remote proctoring, the more comfortable they will feel with it. It also allows for greater exam flexibility. By providing different times to take an exam, students can choose a place and time that suits their needs – whether in a dorm, at home, or on the road.

Online exams are a great alternative to traditional in-person university assessments because they’re flexible and efficient. The right online proctoring service will offer students key benefits — comfort, convenience, and academic rigor. With so many advantages, it is important that remote proctoring is introduced to students in an approachable and understandable way.

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

Don’t

  • 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.

Do

  • 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!

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 Smalley, A., Higher Education Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19), National Conference of State Legislatures, Mar 22, 2021, https://www.ncsl.org/research/education/higher-education-responses-to-coronavirus-covid-19.aspx
2 Johnson Hess, A. How coronavirus dramatically changed college for over 14 million students, CNBC, Mar 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/26/how-coronavirus-changed-college-for-over-14-million-students.html
3McMurtrie, B., Good Grades, Stressed Students, Chronicle of Higher Education, Mar. 17, 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/26/how-coronavirus-changed-college-for-over-14-million-students.html
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, https://www.studentclearinghouse.org/blog/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/
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, https://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/feature/does-remote-instruction-make-cheating-easier
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, https://doi.org/10.1080/2194587X.2020.1741395.
8 Supiano, B., Teaching: Assessment in a Continuing Pandemic, https://www.chronicle.com/newsletter/teaching/2020-08-20 3/6