Doug Winneg, CEO of Software Secure, says there are three tiers of proctoring companies today. The first involves live proctoring, the second combines live proctoring and technology, and the third is pure technology, he said.
Software Secure, with its patented browser technology, falls into the second tier. “We have this mix between technology and human, which is different than anyone else,” Winneg said.
Software Secure does not do live online proctoring. Instead, video recordings of a student taking an exam are reviewed later by two different proctors.
It’s up to schools to decide what kind of online proctoring is best for them and their students, Morgan said.
The online proctoring industry is an evolving one, McCollough said. “The technology, almost daily, is being improved and upgraded,” he added.
That is why the University of Florida, which is currently experimenting with ProctorU, does not have a long-term contract with any company. “We don’t want to get locked in,” McCollough said.
And as time goes by, schools have more companies to choose from. “A lot of companies are jumping into the space right now,” Morgan said.
What started out as only a couple of online proctoring companies around 2008 has now grown into a group of nine or ten, Winneg said.
This is in part due to an increasing number of higher-ed institutions interested in seeking out online proctoring providers. Software Secure has doubled its customer base in the past 12 months, Winneg said.
But it takes time for both students and faculty members to get used to online proctoring, McCollough said.
Online proctoring systems are comparable to red light cameras. “They don’t deter you (from cheating) until you know they actually work,” Winneg said. But once you receive that ticket in the mail — or that notification that you have violated the exam policy— you have learned your lesson.
While the online proctoring industry is mostly catering to online classes, they are also open to provide their services to traditional face-to-face classes.
“We are actually seeing a lot of that in the last year. It was a bit of a surprise to me,” Morgan said.
McCollough says that while this is “certainly an option” for the University of Florida, faculty needs to keep the cost — about $15/exam — in mind.
Molly Schulson is an editorial intern with eCampus News.