As adoption of online learning strategies grows there is an increased demand for effective assessment that meets expectations for academic integrity. One option that is garnering interest is the possibility of online proctoring by third party service providers. In this model, live proctors observe students who are completing an online assignment through use of web cam and screen sharing technology. The assessment process remains the responsibility of the university. However, the process of verifying student identity, ensuring that students are not accessing unauthorized material and that making sure that students are working independently becomes the responsibility of the online proctor.
There are a number of companies providing this service, including ProctorU. Recently the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing undertook a series of online exam pilots using ProctorU’s service to explore the effectiveness of online proctoring, and to better understand the student perspective on the experience. Fareed Teja, Academic Information and Communication Technologist for the LSB Faculty of Nursing coordinated the project operations, and also oversaw the service evaluation process. He recently summarized their findings in a video and screencast presentation which was shared at the Ontario University Council on eLearning summer institute. For full details on the project please visit the following link:
While there were a few operational “kinks” to work out, for the most part the student response was positive. One area of concern was student comfort with the online proctoring process and technology. While very convenient since the online exam can be written in the comfort of one’s home or office, at the same time unfamiliar environment may cause anxiety for some. Student orientation and support throughout the proctoring process may be the key. Our thanks to the LSB Faculty of Nursing for pioneering in this area and sharing their findings.
While we are on the topic of academic integrity, it seems timely to mention a new digital resource, just launched this week. The Academic Integrity at the University of Toronto web site provides a comprehensive overview for students and instructors, including strategies to promote and maintain academic integrity.