online proctoring

To catch a cheat: Best practices in online proctoring

As online education expands, students are bringing old-fashioned cheating into the digital age

Taking that customized approach, though, means attending to the needs of the students and faculty who will interact most directly with new technology. At Indiana University, where more than 30 percent of students take at least one online course, the online education team has launched Next.IU, an innovative pilot program to solicit feedback from the campus community before making any major edtech decision. By soliciting direct feedback from students and faculty, institutions can avoid technical difficulties and secure support before rolling out the technology campus-wide.

2. Go mobile. Nine in 10 undergraduates own a smartphone, and the majority of online students complete some coursework on a mobile device. Tapping into the near-ubiquity of mobile computing on campus can help streamline the proctoring and verification process. Rather than having to log onto a desktop, students can use features like fingerprint scan and facial recognition that are already integrated into most smartphones to verify their identity directly from their mobile device.

For a growing number of students, mobile technology is the most accessible way to engage in online coursework, so mobile verification provides not only a set of advanced security tools, but also a way for universities to meet students where they are.

3. Learn from the data. Analytical approaches to online test security are still in the early stages. Schools may be more susceptible to online “heists” if they are of a certain size or administer exams in a certain way, but institutions need data to benchmark against their peers and identify pain points in their approach to proctoring.

At Examity, we are working to help schools take a more data-driven approach to understanding test security by drawing upon insights from hundreds of thousands of test-taking students around the country. We aim to provide actionable insights on exam performance and cheating patterns. In an initial pilot with 325,000 students, for instance, we found that cheating rose and fell with the seasons—falling from 6.62 percent to 5.49 percent from fall to spring, but rising to a new high of 6.65 percent during the summer. Snapshots like these can shed light on macro trends in online testing security and help institutions refine their proctoring practices over time to reduce violations and create more secure assessments.

Online learning presents new challenges for institutions hoping to provide a secure assessment experience, and the allure of cheating inspires no shortage of creativity among students. Just ask us about the test-taker who was getting answers from his roommate hiding under the covers. But savvy schools are tapping new technology to help create a safer testing environment and making good on the promise of online learning to expand access to educational opportunity.

eSchool Media Contributors