How to Secure Online Testing

Secure Online Testing

Secure Online TestingSecure online testing will improve with the advancement of technology. Online proctoring is key in today’s college and business world.

Proctored Exams

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, to proctor means “to supervise (an examination)” (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/proctor).  The proctor’s role is to verify the identity of the student taking the exam and supervise to ensure that the instructions specified by the instructor are carried out, the examinee does not cheat, and does not falsify his true identification. Proctored exams are generally face-to-face, but they can also take place fully online.

Exam Integrity

Exam integrity is one of the top challenges the distance learning community has always faced. How do instructors know that their students are proficient in a subject matter? Can you simply ask them to complete an exam on their own?

Before the boom in online learning, exam integrity was fairly simple. Students would go to a testing center or to an authorized proctor such as notary or librarian and take their exams there. There weren’t many options available. Today though, students take their exams online – on their tablets, phones and laptops. Combine this with fierce competition in the online education sector and we find schools struggling to create an approach innovative enough to solve this old problem in a practical way.

Taking Proctored Exams

Online Proctored Exams

Online proctored (OP) exams allow students to take exams, tests, or participate in interviews for research or jobs anywhere and at anytime in the privacy and comfort of their homes, work places, or favourite spots. Online proctored exams require Internet connection. They can be done on mobile devices using microphone and webcam technologies.

Students who are taking online courses or MOOCs expect their schools to provide easy to use online proctoring technologies. Proctoring allows students to not only take written exams, but to also connect with their teachers for one-on-one interactions. Ongoing communication facilities learning.

Many schools and business organizations worldwide began searching for ways to conduct online proctoring. The National Paralegal College faced this challenge when they began to explore options for proctoring their online exams and led them to develop the most innovative solution available today.

Voice Proctor for Online Exams

Webcam Proctoring

Avi Katz, president of National Paralegal College explained, “It would have been easy to tag on additional fees for proctoring and require students to go to a testing center, but that went against our model, which tries to minimize costs to the students. There had to be another way.”

When asked about using webcams, Katz explained, “Webcams were not very popular when we started. Not all our students had high-speed internet. Even now, when those issues are not as relevant, privacy and security are big issues. I have yet to meet someone who is comfortable with having a stranger watch them via webcam; not to mention the incredibly high cost.”

Remote Proctoring Services

Virtually all current remote proctoring services use some form of webcam proctoring. There are services that provide proctors that watch the students in real time and there are services that simply record the student and their screen for review later. National Paralegal College was looking for a method that is less cumbersome and less intrusive.

“Just search Twitter,” said Eli Adler, Director of Marketing at Voice Proctor, “you’ll find a lot of students complaining about webcam proctoring. The combination of cost, hassle, and intrusiveness make webcam proctoring very unattractive to students.”

Why Voice Proctor?

With this in mind National Paralegal College went back to the drawing board and created Voice Proctor – a camera-free proctoring service for online exams. The Voice Proctor approach effectively accomplishes the two main reasons instructors and schools require proctoring:

  1. Authenticating that the registered student is the one taking the exam and
  2. Ensuring that students aren’t cheating by getting information in a non-authorized way

Phone Calls

While students are taking their exam they receive a randomized automated phone call (or onscreen call) and are asked to explain or justify a previously submitted answer. Students who are doing their own work should have no trouble verbally answering the question that is posed to them.  Students, who are not, might be able to type what someone is telling them or copy and paste an answer that they found on a website, but they will not be able to immediately articulate a proper verbal response unless they are actually familiar with the material.

This effectively turns the traditional proctoring model upside down. Traditional proctoring creates a tug- of- war between the students and teachers. The teacher may assume that the student will try to cheat and the “proctoring” is an attempt to dissuade a potential cheater. Voice Proctor, alternatively, has the student showing the instructor that they are familiar with the material and competent in the subject matter.

Exams in Online Learning Environments

“This approach was developed specifically for the online learning environment. Watching a student via webcam might mimic live proctoring, but that in reality is squeezing a square peg in a round hole. The traditional proctoring method only works well in a traditional environment,” said Adler

This model can change the entire dynamic of a student’s test taking experience. The traditional proctored experience can cause anxiety and nervousness over test taking. This is only exasperated when being watched by a stranger on a webcam who is taking note of every irregular movement, eye twitch and hand gesture. Voice Proctor essentially tells the student, “we believe you are doing your own work, please answer a question so we can be sure to give you credit for it.”

Voice Proctor is unique and offers features that cannot be found with any other remote proctoring service. Aside from not utilizing webcams, there are no locked browsers to alter the computer’s registry and there are no significant band width requirements. There are no hardware or software requirements aside from using a current web browser. Voice Proctor gives the modern online student the online exam experience that they expect from contemporary program. It is fast, easy to use and respectful of the student’s privacy.

Secure Online Proctoring Systems

When online learning increased in popularity, many schools quickly learned that you can’t simply take a traditional live course and somehow squeeze it into a screen and make an online class. All aspects of courses need to be developed from the ground up for the online environment, taking into account all the benefits and drawbacks that the online environment has to offer. National Paralegal College did just that by creating Voice Proctor. They created a method specifically designed for the online environment. Adler explained, “The question is not, ‘Did you watch the student?’ Rather, the question is, ‘Can employers can rely on the degrees we award our students?’” According to Adler, the answer is a resounding, “yes.”  He believes that the new tools offered by technology today can help address the proctoring conundrum and that’s exactly what he is doing.

WizIQ Virtual Class

WizIQ virtual class can be used for proctored online exams. The technology is available. All you need is a webcam and microphone and you’re all set to be tested online.

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Teaching as a Way to Learn by Nellie Deutsch, Ed.D

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