What is the Right Choice for Online Proctoring? 

Before jumping into a discussion on proctoring tools and services, let us back up for a moment and make sure you are ready! Much of what we will discuss in this post involves how to proctor assessments delivered via the MyCourses Quiz Tool. If you have not spent much time with the Quiz Tool, consider reading and watching short videos about it in MyCourses Central or request a 1-1 consultation.  

Best Practices in Setting Up MyCourses Quizzes

The MyCourses Quiz Tool offers features that may encourage students to shy away from behaviors like sharing questions or answers. Try using some of these features to help secure your MyCourses quiz/test/exam. 

  • Time Limits 
  • Question Order Randomization 
  • Question Pools 
  • Randomization of Answer Choices 
  • Proctor Passwords 

MyCourses Quizzes and Assessment Design

Much of what has been mentioned so far has assumed that you have determined that the best assessment method to measure student learning is a test or exam delivered via the MyCourses Quiz Tool, if you are not sure that this is the best assessment method you may want to look at the third step in Fink’s Steps in Integrated Course Design, Formulate Appropriate Feedback and Assessment Procedures

Proctoring- Is it Right for your Students?

Proctoring tools and services have received a LOT of attention in the last few years– not all of it good. Critiques of online proctoring include false positives reported by artificial intelligence-supported services, bias in facial detection algorithms, concerns about the invasive nature of proctoring, and the amount of personal data collected by services. 

To gain additional perspective on how using proctoring services impacts your students you may want to review an opinion piece in the MIT Technology Review and another piece from Hybrid Pedagogy

In more recent news, see the Cleveland State University ruling, College’s Use of Exam-Proctoring Software to ‘Scan’ Rooms Violated Privacy Rights, Judge Finds. Although this case is not binding in the state of Georgia, we can learn some lessons from it. 

Proctoring Considerations for Different Assessments

Different types of assessments (low stakes or high stakes) pair well with different types of proctoring tools and services. 

Low-stakes Assessments

If the assessment is considered low stakes, something like a weekly quiz to ensure students are ready for the upcoming activities, consider keeping the barriers to completing the quiz low by just requiring student to use a lockdown browser with or without any monitoring. This allows students to warm up to the concept of an online proctored test and get some practice prior to moving on to a high-stakes assessment. The barriers to getting started with the lockdown browsers are low for both the instructor and the student. This type of proctoring is done within MyCourses and is tightly integrated with the Quiz Tool. This form of proctoring is also very low-cost; just pennies per exam and paid by GGC through our annual license agreement.  

High-stakes Assessments

For more high-stakes exams, you may wish to consider using a service that offers a live proctor or if your class is small enough (less than 25 students) proctor the exam yourself using a combination of the lockdown browser and Zoom. Services that involve live proctors are currently covered by the college. Live proctor options are also great for helping to prepare students that will have to take licensing exams for professional certifications.  

Best Practices for Using Proctoring Tools and Services

While you are deciding on which proctoring tool or service to use, you might also want to review recommendations for implementing a proctoring tool or service into your course design and delivery strategy. 

  • Be sure to let students know ahead of time if you require online proctoring. This is an important thing to let students know at the time they register for your course and certainly should be included in the syllabus. More information on the importance of communicating expectations to student can be found in the Online Learning Consortiums’ SUNY Online Course Quality Review Rubric OSCQR
  • Share the technical requirements for the online proctoring tool or service on your syllabus. Reiterate this information in the form of a MyCourses announcement or MyCourses mail message prior to the first proctored testing experience. This supports Quality Matters standard 1.5: Minimum technology requirements for the course are clearly stated, and information on how to obtain the technologies is provided. 
  • Consider offering a sample proctored exam that will not impact a students’ grade in a negative manner. This will allow students to test their computer/technology, ensure they have located an appropriate testing environment, and reduce anxiety. 
  • Consider suggesting that your students take their exams on campus for more privacy when using online proctoring tools and services. This alleviates privacy concerns related to taking tests in the student’s home. 
    • The Kaufman Library allows students to reserve study rooms
    • Consider arranging rooms on campus for students to take tests that require online proctoring. 
  • When configuring your proctoring settings with your tool/service of choice, consider whether it is necessary to perform room/environment scans– if it is not then use the appropriate settings to bypass that part of the “exam” startup experience.  
  • When you receive reports for a student’s “exam” session, review them when possible. Do not rely on metrics or the assessment of a proctor or artificial intelligence to determine whether you will accept the “exam”. The algorithms used are not always going to flag behaviors correctly, and sometimes flagged behaviors must be reviewed by the instructor so that the circumstances can be considered. 

Proctoring Tools and Services Overview

GGC offers various tools and services to help you proctor your online tests and exams. They are from two vendors: Respondus and ProctorU. Each option is described below followed by a quick comparison. 

Respondus

Respondus LockDown Browser

Respondus offers its lockdown browser which you will hear referred to as Respondus LockDown Browser or RLDB. Respondus LockDown Browser is an application that students must download and install on their device- the best experience is to use a Windows or Mac computer. When a MyCourses quiz (test or exam) is created, instructors can require that students use RLDB to take the quiz. If this option is enabled, students must download and install the RLDB application and use it to complete the quiz/test/exam. All other applications running on a student’s computer must be closed when RLDB is in use. Respondus offers a good description of the features of their lockdown browser

Some good news about using the Respondus LockDown Browser is if you have students who require accommodations such as extended time (1.5 hours vs 1 hour) or if you have a student who needs access outside of the normal exam window, if you have set up the accommodations in MyCourses, Respondus LockDown Browser will honor those accommodations without any extra work on your part. 

Respondus Monitor

Monitor is a feature of the lockdown browser that adds a webcam recording of the test session with artificial intelligence (AI) flagging of suspicious behaviors. Instructors can enable the Monitor feature via the MyCourses Quiz Tool integration with Respondus Lockdown Browser. This feature requires that students have access to a webcam. 

With Monitor, students are taken through an instructor configurable automated start process that has students perform actions such as:  taking a photo, sharing their state-issued identification, performing a room/environment scan before they can enter their “exam” within MyCourses. The session is recorded and monitored by artificial intelligence which flags any suspicious behavior for review. The student’s face is recorded for the duration of the “exam”.  Instructors can review the recording focusing on any AI flagged behaviors. It is also possible to have students submit their scratch paper via the show your work option. Respondus offers a good description of how Monitor works

Respondus LockDown Browser and Zoom

If you are a DIY-type instructor, you can try to proctor your own MyCourses quizzes/tests/exams using the lockdown browser and Zoom. Instructors can enable the live proctoring feature via the MyCourses Quiz Tool integration with Respondus Lockdown Browser. This option works best with a class size less than 25 as this is the number of students that Zoom can easily display on one screen when in the Gallery View.  
 
To conduct a live proctoring session, an instructor begins their Zoom session, and when ready, instructs students to begin the MyCourses quiz/test/exam which requires RLDB. The instructor monitors students via Zoom. 

If you would like to learn more about using MyCourses and Respondus checkout our knowledge base articles and resources: 

Publisher Systems and Respondus LockDown Browser

There is also a version of Respondus LockDown Browser that works with Publisher systems such as ALEKS and MyLabs. Be sure that you work with your publisher rep and Information Technology to be sure you are using the right version of Respondus LockDown Browser with those systems! 

ProctorU

ProctorU is a service that is more loosely integrated with MyCourses. It requires instructors to create their quiz/test/exam in MyCourses, set a proctor password, and then set up their exam schedule in the ProctorU system. ProctorU offers GGC two service-level options that use their live proctors. There is currently no cost to students if an instructor chooses to use ProctorU services.  

ProctorU Review+

 A professional proctor connects with the student to double-check the automated identity verification, review exam rules and most importantly secure the exam environment. Any unpermitted resources will be removed prior to the exam start. Once students are in their exam, they are no longer with a proctor and are only monitored and flagged by the automated system.  

After the exam, ProctorU will review sessions for you. An audited session report is sent to you within 24 hours. This option not only saves you time in reviewing hours of footage but also ensures each student is reviewed by a professional proctor trained to notice suspicious behavior. 

ProctorU Live+

A live proctor greets the students, re-verifies their identity, reviews exam rules with them, secures their testing environment and enters them into their exam. Once in the exam, the proctor continues to monitor students throughout their exam. Artificial intelligence runs in the background to act as a second set of eyes and alerts the proctor of any suspicious behavior. The entire session is recorded and if anything, suspicious occurs, the proctor can intervene and stop a breach of integrity in real time. 

After the exam, ProctorU will send you a session report within 24 hours. 

If you would like to learn more about using MyCourses and ProctorU checkout our knowledge base articles and resources: 

Guardian Browser Coming Summer 2023

ProctorU will transition to the Guardian Browser rather than a browser plug-in for Summer 2023.

Quick Comparison Chart

Proctoring ToolIs access limited to only certain applications?Is the session recorded with AI?Who proctors?Is a session report available?Is there an “exam” startup sequence?Is there a live proctor?Do students need to schedule?What type of assessment should use the tool/service?What is the cost?
Respondus LockDown Browser (RLDB)YesN/AN/AN/AN/AN/ANot RequiredAny MyCourses quiz, test, or examSite License
Respondus MonitorYes, via RLDBYesInstructorReport only includes AI
flags
Yes, configurable by the instructorNoNot RequiredAny MyCourses quiz, test, or examSite License
RLDB and Zoom Live ProctoringYes, via RLDBRecord with zoomInstructorN/AYes, handled by the instructor as part of a Zoom sessionInstructorNot RequiredAny MyCourses quiz, test, or examSite License
ProctorU Review+Yes, via a browser extensionYesProctorProctor provides a report that is assisted by AIProctorBeginning and Review> 72 Hours AheadHigh stakes MyCourses “exams”$10/test/ student
currently paid by GGC
ProctorU Live+Yes, via a browser extensionYesProctorProctor provides a reportProctorThroughout> 72 Hours AheadVery high stakes MyCourses “exams”$15-$25/ test/ student
currently paid by GGC

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