Page 32 - Campus Technology, August/September 2017
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CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | August/September 2017
a human being on the other end, what it meant if you were asked to do certain things that made you feel like you were a criminal even before you’d taken a test,” said Hadsell.
The faculty reps also didn’t want to delegate the job of figuring out whether a student was cheating or not. They really wanted that decision to rest with them. “Given the potential severity of a cheating allegation and the whole discipline process that has to kick in, they really wanted to be involved from the get-go, from the point of identifying something that looks suspicious to them, to being the one to interact with that student rather than having a proctor stop an exam or relying on someone saying what they saw,” Hadsell recalled. “Having concrete proof was important to them.”
Since the consensus seemed to be that faculty would want to review any allegation of cheating anyway, the working group decided to bring that capability in from the beginning. Besides, a software-based approach came across as more scalable, Hadsell added. “We have 1.3 million students. Trying to scale something with a ‘human-powered’ solution wasn’t necessarily the right fit.” However, he emphasized, “We would have worked with that if that’s the way the faculty had gone.”
Try Proctoring Without the Proctor
Proctorio, the proctoring solution eventually recommended by the working group, is a web service that can be deployed
“We have 1.3 million students. Trying to
scale something with a ‘human-powered’
solution wasn’t necessarily the
right fit.”
through Canvas and installed by students with one click. That installation sets up a practice exam so students can try out the setup before tackling the real McCoy. Then, when they enter the actual exam, they acknowledge the rules and are presented with a screen asking them to hold up their ID to their webcam, which is recorded along with an image of their face. The webcam continues recording the exam and notes “abnormalities” — computer-based and technical (a browser resize, copy and paste activity or the number of websites visited during the exam) or environmental (odd movements, somebody looking away from the screen or voices in the room).
As the testing is done, the results are posted to a Proctorio “gradebook,” an instructor dashboard with color
coding and a score between 1 and 100 indicating the level of suspicion for each student as well as an icon that highlights possible exam participant collusion. The user can set the behavior analysis at three levels of intensity — “recommended,” “lenient” or “moderate” — and the score will automatically change. If an exam experience warrants additional exploration, the instructor can go to a console that also uses color coding to guide the viewer to the places within the exam recording where irregularities were captured for review.
Stipulate a Webcam — or Not
Of broad appeal to the faculty members was the amount of “variability” in Proctorio’s software settings, particularly related to browser lock-down options, the ability to allow students to use class materials and even not requiring a webcam.
Affordability is always a consideration with CCC, which as an open-access institution has to follow strict rules about the material fees that can be charged to students. If a webcam is required for online exams, the schools have begun adding that stipulation to the course description so that students are forewarned. On top of that, Hadsell pointed out, webcams can be purchased for under $10 on Amazon — not much more than a couple of black eyes at Starbucks.4

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