The increased prevalence of digital exams has raised the subject of remote proctoring. At the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the ‘Remote invigilation’ project examines how this can be implemented as part of the regular study programme. We are testing the security of the ProctorExam proctor system, and examining the privacy issues connected with remote invigilation. In this blog post, we give five reasons for lecturers to opt for remote invigilation.
- Location independent
Remote proctoring can be implemented in a variety of situations: digital exam venues, lecture halls where students use their own laptops, computer practical labs, and at home on students’ own computers. Only in venues specifically designed for digital examination can exam security be 100% guaranteed. Other options require remote invigilation.
- Multiple options
The proctoring system offers the following options:
- 360° audio and video surveillance (using a webcam and a mobile phone camera);
- screenshot technology;
- live proctoring during exams (invigilators view the images live remotely, and give an alert in the event of any communication or cheating);
- video recordings of the exams.
Lecturers can decide to use all the options or only select one or two, depending on the specific digital assessment situation.
We have used remote proctoring for the pre-Master’s programme in Information Studies. The evaluation showed that the majority of students felt comfortable with the presence of a remote invigilator during the exams. 55% of students even expressed a preference for this method of exam invigilation. Their reasons included the convenience of being able to use their own laptop and the peace and quiet of their own home, without having to rush to the university to take their exam.
- More possibilities
Examples of the wider range of options offered include students who are unable to come to the university to take their exam, professional sportspeople, or students who are chronically ill, on a work placement abroad, or who require more time to complete the exam.
Giving these groups of students the option to complete the exam digitally in their own time means they will be more relaxed, and gives lecturers greater freedom. Remote proctoringalso provides the option of setting a digital open-book exam, for example, or of allowing students to communicate during a practice exam, but without access to Google.
- Just as secure as a pen-and-paper exam
We are currently testing the proctoring system for security and privacy, and a number of matters have emerged that need to be resolved. In general, the system is secure and guarantees students’ privacy. The system makes it very difficult for students to cheat – probably much more so than during a pen-and-paper exam.
Remote proctoring is often associated with distance education. And the two do indeed go well together, as we showed during the pre-Master’s programme in Information Studies. Because the Master’s is an online programme, a digital exam was a logical step. Remote proctoringalso presents possibilities for regular study programmes, however. Because we already have extensive experience with the proctoring system and have developed clear workflows, remote proctoring is no problem here either.
For more information on the project: http://starfish.innovatievooronderwijs.nl/project/590/
The ProctorExam website offers more information on the possibilities offered by remote invigilation.
Innovation scheme: Digital Assessment for customised education
This is one of the 9 projects from the SURFnet ‘Digital Assessment for customised education’ innovation scheme. As part of this scheme, between 1 July 2015 and 1 July 2016 higher education institutions will be experimenting with the use of digital assessment in designing customised education, improving education quality and the fit between learning/teaching methods and the requirements of students and lecturers.
About the author
In addition to her work as programme coordinator of three Master’s programmes at the UvA Informatics Institute, Guusje Smit is project manager of the SURFnet ‘Remote invigilation’ project. She works in close collaboration with her faculty’s ICT programme coordinator to organise and support the development of aspects such as digital assessment within the faculty.