The Buyer’s Guide to Online Proctoring Systems

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Written by Tess Mitchell, Honorlock

If you’re looking for a new online proctoring solution, you know just how overwhelming the process can be. There are countless features to compare, and you also need to consider the needs and perspectives of students, faculty, and administration.

You’re looking for a scalable and sustainable solution for online assessment so you can grow your programs without sacrificing your reputation, but where do you even begin? At Honorlock, we suggest you start by considering these ten factors.

  1. Student ID Verification

With the growth of online education, verification of a student’s identity has become an important factor for success. For some programs, ID verification is required, but all schools want to ensure that the student taking the exam is the same student enrolled in the course. Some proctoring systems do not mandate ID verification when a student launches an exam, or they charge you extra for it. Many solutions state that they verify the student’s ID, but how?  Be sure to ask. It’s imperative that the system you choose read the content on the student’s ID and compare and match it to the student’s name and information in your LMS before the student is permitted to launch an exam.

  1. Secondary Device Detection

These days, students have, at a minimum, a computer and a smartphone. Many have more than one computer, a tablet or two, and even a smartwatch. As student technology advances, your testing technology needs to advance along with it—you need the ability to detect secondary devices and prevent students from using them to cheat on exams. Most online proctoring services have yet to solve this problem, leaving your results vulnerable. You, your faculty, your accrediting bodies, and the businesses hiring your graduates want to know that the degree your students earn is an accurate reflection of what they’ve learned. You deserve a proctoring service that will protect your reputation and academic integrity.

  1. LMS Integration

Your faculty are busy. The last thing they need is to find the time to learn a whole new system. Unfortunately, many online proctoring services require just that. In order to set up exams and then view reports, faculty have to create and track an extra account and password, and they often have to duplicate information. It creates an inefficient and frustrating process that eats up valuable faculty time. Instead of focusing on teaching or research, they’re spending their days setting up exams. You and your institution can’t afford to lose this time—you need a proctoring service that will integrate seamlessly with your LMS and allow faculty to set up exams in your LMS with just a few clicks.

  1. Test Content Protection

Few things are more frustrating for faculty than discovering that their exam questions are available on test bank websites. Unfortunately, this is becoming more common, and instructors have limited tools to respond. Instead, they find themselves creating new exam content every semester to stay ahead of cheating and protect academic integrity. When you’re selecting an online test proctoring service, this is an important consideration—does it do anything to protect test content? Look for one that will search test bank sites for illicit exam questions and file takedown notices. You can save faculty time while protecting your program’s academic integrity.

  1. Real-Time Reporting

As online educational tools become more widely used, both students and faculty expect faster turnaround times for evaluations. Unfortunately, many online proctoring systems can take up to three days to provide exam recordings for faculty review, and faculty then need to log into a third-party system for access. Your faculty and students don’t want to wait that long for results. You need a system that will provide real-time access to exam recordings—right in the LMS.

  1. Live Proctor Pop-In

Most of the online proctoring solutions on the market today follow one of two models, both of which come with challenges. Those that offer live proctoring create discomfort for students, who feel like they’re being watched. They can also be somewhat less reliable because a single proctor watches multiple students at once, making it easier to miss instances of academic dishonesty. Others use a record and review format, making it impossible to intervene in real-time if an issue arises. You and your students deserve a solution that combines AI with a human touch for the perfect hybrid—the system monitors the student for potential problems, and, if it detects any, a proctor is prompted to pop in and work with the student to address it before it turns into anything too serious.

  1. Flat-Rate Cost Per Exam

Each instructor, not to mention each course, has variable requirements for assessment length. This can lead to unfair hikes in cost—when online proctoring services charge per hour, you may pay twice as much (or more!) for longer exams. As you grow your online programs, you need cost-effective testing. Systems that charge a flat rate per exam protect your bottom line and help you accurately estimate testing costs.

  1. No Scheduling Headaches

When exam proctoring services use live proctoring, students usually find that they have to schedule their exam time in advance. Often, if their plans change at the last minute, they have to pay a fee for their missed timeslot. This creates headaches and frustration. Limited proctor hours can prevent students from being able to take the exam when they are most ready and most alert. With on-demand proctoring, students can take assessments from anywhere at any time—even if it’s at 2 am over Thanksgiving break. Your students deserve the freedom and convenience of taking exams on their schedule without any headaches.

  1. Best-in-Class 24/7 Support

For faculty, there may not be anything worse than hearing from a student at 3 am because they’re having trouble with an exam. It’s frustrating for students too. When online proctoring systems offer sub-par support or have limited support hours, they place the burden on faculty and administration. You need an online proctoring service that will provide assistance whenever your faculty or students need it. On-demand exams only work with on-demand technical help.

  1. No Bulky Software Downloads

More and more students are concerned with cybersecurity—and with good reason. The last thing they want to do is download extra software to take an exam. These third-party browsers are often slow and take up an unreasonable amount of computer memory. Even if they’re deleted immediately following the exam, they can slow things down, and they can make students even more apprehensive about security. You need an online proctoring system that utilizes browser extensions to prevent unnecessary extra software and protect your students’ peace of mind.

The good news? While this is a lot to keep in mind when selecting a proctoring service, you can find all of it in one place. Honorlock offers all this and more. Our proprietary technology protects academic integrity, and our system is intuitive, easy to learn, and convenient for students and faculty alike.

Ready to learn more? Request a demo today to see Honorlock in action.