Friday, March 31, 2023

Online proctored exams: Are they here to stay?

NewsCampus NewsOnline proctored exams: Are they here to stay?

Staff Reporter

As COVID-era learning comes to a close, one facet seems to have stuck around: the online proctored exam.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and the coinciding suspension of in-person classes presented professors with a problem: students could no longer show up in person to take exams. To solve this, some professors continued to use the standard Canvas quiz format, which allows the student to take the exam without being monitored. 

For some professors, this isn’t enough, as this format has few ways of deterring students from cheating. Therefore, the online proctored exam presents a solution for professors looking to prevent cheating and plagiarism.. A proctored exam refers to an online exam during which the student’s activity is monitored, with the main purpose being to maintain academic integrity.

Proctored exams come in a few different forms. One frequently used form at universities during the pandemic was the Respondus LockDown Browser. This tool is an external program that records video and audio of the student and completely locks the test takers computer until the exam has been finished or the window has been closed. The university has ended all use of the Lockdown Browser as of this semester, according to a message that appeared on students’ Canvas dashboards at the beginning of the semester. 

Currently, the most common exam proctoring tool used by the university’s professors is ProctorU. ProctorU, similar to the LockDown Browser, is a program that records the student’s webcam and screen while they take the exam. Another frequently used tool is Proctorio, which comes in the form of a browser extension.

Professor Kedron Thomas, who currently teaches a large asynchronous anthropology course at the university, said that while she prefers to have students take exams at the university’s testing center, she does offer online proctored exams.

“I don’t like the idea of students having to take exams with a stranger actively monitoring them via their screens and via their webcams,” Thomas said. “I wish there were alternatives that made sense and that could guarantee the fairness of exams that are administered online. I’m not sure what that would look like.”

Proctoring tools are a contentious subject and opinions on them vary. As in-person learning returns in full swing, many students question whether proctored exams should stick around. 

“I think it’s an invasion of privacy,” sophomore Mia Marciante, an accounting and financial planning and wealth management major, said.

Marciante specifically voiced her frustrations with proctored math exams, many of which record any notes that the student may take during the exam. 

“I’m afraid if I do anything, like look away from the camera, they’ll think I’m cheating,” Marciante said. 

Marciante said that she prefers online exams over in-person exams. This is a common sentiment among students since taking an exam within a set time frame rather than an exact time is more convenient for some. 

“Online exams are frankly easier, especially when they’re open-book and open-note,” sophomore Carter Lazarus, a psychology major, said. 

There are varying opinions on the lengths to which professors should go to deter students from cheating on exams. 

“I think a lockdown browser should be enough, since everything is already online these days,” Marciante said. “That should stop them from cheating, even our notes and textbooks are usually online.”

While proctored exams may not be ideal for students, Lazarus said there are few other options for professors for online exam monitoring.

“In a lot of ways, proctored exams are one of the only ways you can monitor an online exam and prevent cheating,” Lazarus said. “Otherwise you kind of have to make it open-note and rely on students’ truthfulness.”

Thomas expressed that testing is already really stressful for students and being monitored through their webcams only makes it harder for them.

“We’re in a moment now where we have minimal options, and maybe none of them are ideal,” Thomas said.




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Check out our other content

Check out other tags:

Most Popular Articles