Online proctoring can be used to detect fraud when taking exams remotely. Recordings made by the webcam are then stored by a proctoring company on a server and these images are then screened afterward by means of algorithms and the use of human reviewers.
With proctoring, recordings of the screen of your laptop are also made and saved. The use of this type of software by universities and colleges gained momentum when students were unable to take their exams on location due to the corona crisis. There are, however, concerns about privacy.
Online proctoring in education
- Taking exams remotely
- What is online proctoring?
- Privacy concerns universities and colleges
- University of Utrecht
Taking exams remotely
If you think about taking an exam at a university or college, you will quickly see a lecture hall filled with tables and chairs where students often still take a test with pen and paper. In 2020, some educational institutions also make it possible to take exams on a laptop.
What is online proctoring?
When you take an exam remotely, you can open your webcam and microphone so that an invigilator or examiner can watch. For example, it can be detected whether someone does not predict the answers or whether you take your book while this is not allowed.
Online proctoring software is used to store the images from your webcam. These video images can then be carefully examined afterward to detect possible fraud. Algorithms are used to search for suspicious hand and eye movements. In addition, there are recordings made of the screen ( screen capture ). In order to identify themselves, students are asked to show their ID or passport in front of the camera at the start of the recording.
When analyzing the image recordings and screen recordings by a proctoring company, logarithms or human reviewers or a combination of both can be used. When the software detects possible fraud, a human reviewer can take a closer look at the images. In addition, instructions from the training program about, for example, the use of scrap paper or calculators can be taken into account.
Privacy concerns universities and colleges
The fact that webcam footage is recorded and stored for online proctoring naturally raises privacy concerns. This is especially due to the fact that identity documents must be shown and images of which are stored on a server. You have to assume that the proctor companies that offer these programs will handle your data with care. However, the use of proctoring has accelerated due to the outbreak of the corona pandemic and the resulting closure of universities and colleges.
University of Utrecht
On 30 April 2020, Utrecht University announced that it will use online proctoring on a random basis for a number of study programs for the assessment in block 4. The supplier of the online proctoring software in this case is ProctorExam.