Online Exam Proctoring Software

Introduction

Even at the best of times, conducting exams online, has not been easy, convenient, or fool proof. So, higher ed institutions preferred to hold exams on-prem, under the watchful eyes of its faculty or staff. Certification and admission tests such as IELTS have used proctored exams – but most tests still required students to come to a designated test centre to take the exam.

The pandemic changed all that overnight – while classes have moved online, educators are seriously evaluating online proctoring tools to conduct exams – at home. Traditionally, a “proctor” is a person who supervises the students when they are taking exams. Can a software tool do this effectively? Well – the answer is yes and no.

There are a wide range of proctoring tools and software – but most of them broadly have these 5 features:

  1. Authentication of student identity – to prevent impersonation
  2. Setting up a controlled environment with no access to other applications and internet resources
  3. Real-time monitoring of student activity – through webcam and activity monitors
  4. Delivering the assessment/exam questions
  5. Accepting user input – either as choices on an online test form or scanned images of handwritten answer sheets

How does online proctoring work?

An online proctoring software first authenticates the identity of online test takers. Some have multi-factor biometric authentication for candidates before an exam- this includes a face scan, ID scan and a room scan. When the authentication is complete, the student enters a controlled environment that prevents candidates from accessing web browsers or other applications during the test.

There are different types of online proctoring:

Auto-proctoring is based on AI algorithms that regularly monitor live webcam feeds. The algorithm uses advanced technologies to monitor student activity on the screen and raises multiple types of suspicion flags that can help institutions/organizations control malpractices.

Live Proctoring: In this type of proctoring, the proctor audits the live webcam feed and screen recordings in real-time. With the assistance of the AI algorithm, live proctoring can prevent cheating scenarios effectively. The proctor can monitor multiple candidates simultaneously. This type of proctoring can therefore be used for important tests.

Record & Review Proctoring: In this type of proctoring, exam sessions are conducted in a similar manner to auto proctoring. The AI algorithm will be monitoring the entire exam session. Once the session is over, expert proctors then audit the reports to validate the AI flags.

What are the features of an online proctoring software?

Proctoring software range from simple authentication and monitoring to AI-based systems. Some common features are:

  • Information Security and Data Privacy
  • Exam Set-up
  • Create different question types
    • Generate consolidated results/reports
    • Integration with LMS to provide easy access
    • Set up time-based exams with start and end time
  • Student registration process
    • Bulk upload candidates in an easy manner
    • Allotting students to timeslots and proctors
    • Sending invites using online conferencing tools
  • 24*7 support from Exam Experts
  • Support for a wide range of question types that include:
    • Fill in the Blanks
    • Multiple Choice questions
    • Short & Long Answer questions
    • Diagrammatic Reasoning questions
    • Essays
    • Case Studies
    • Coding exercises

System Requirements:

  • Desktop PC/Laptop/Tablet/Mobile
  • A functional webcam and a mic
  • Stable Internet connection
  • Updated operating systems
  • Modern Web Browsers

What are the benefits and challenges of online proctoring?

Benefits:

  • Eliminates the need for physical exam centers
  • Eliminates the need for physical proctors
  • Helps candidates appear for exams in their preferred locations
  • Set tests in a few clicks
  • Computerized evaluation
  • Biometric attendance
  • Insightful performance reports

Challenges:

  1. Proctoring tools can be expensive. However, automated proctoring, can save time and effort and can therefore, be more economical in the long At scale, this can reduce need for live proctors and reduce travel too.
  2. Since this is a new experience for most users, both students and online proctors (if any) need to be trained
  3. The effectiveness of human proctors monitoring online sessions can differ depending on the individuals.

How to choose the ideal online proctoring software

When you choose an online proctoring software, make sure it meets these criteria:

  1. Quick and easy integration with existing LMS/ Assessment Engines
  2. Ease of deployment – it should be easy and quick to deploy
  3. High quality user experience – it should be easy to login and set up, and easy to navigate between questions and input the answers
  4. Robustness of the platform- this is important since online proctoring would involve video streaming, desktop sharing, other similar functions; technical bugs can seriously affect candidate
  5. High levels of automation- student registration, scoring, and reporting should be automated, where possible.
  6. Excellent reporting capabilities- with ability to compare student performances and consolidate results

What does the future hold for online proctoring?

  1. The demand for online exam proctoring is increasing due to the growth of e-learning.
  2. Institutions will be able to save learners’ time and money with the use of online exam proctoring
  3. Since the existing infrastructure is not enough to administer exams, the move to online exam proctoring is inevitable.

Both the public and private sectors in the country are now slowly beginning to reap the benefits of online remote proctoring. It is also getting a lot of attention from the global education industry. Top Indian institutions like IIT Bombay have been providing grants for buying hardware and network data packs in a bid to boost the use of online exam proctoring.

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