According to the latest report from Babson Survey Research Group, nearly 6.5 million American undergraduates now take at least one course online—representing close to one-third of the postsecondary student body. The rise of online programs is enabling colleges and universities to support a growing population of nontraditional students, many of whom balance work or family commitments in addition to their studies.
Of course, online learning is not without its challenges, among them verifying a student’s identity when students and faculty are separated by miles (or days). And as online education continues to expand, some students are bringing old-fashioned cheating into the digital age. Colleges and universities are, in turn, on the hunt for solutions to help ensure the integrity and quality of online programs. They’re fueling a multiplicity of new approaches to online proctoring, from screen-sharing to biometric keystroke recognition. Like so many aspects of education technology, innovation can sometimes spark confusion at the intersection of higher-education policy and practice, so we’ve outlined three best practices for schools interested in putting online proctoring to the test.
1. Listen to students and faculty. Every college, university, or online-learning provider has a different approach to online learning. From complete programs and degree pathways online to programs that focus on specific courses and certifications, each institution has a specific audience, so each requires a customized approach to proctoring and identity verification designed around the target student population.
(Next page: More ways to catch online cheating)