How Technology is Taking Education & Proctoring to New Heights

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Technology has driven countless shifts in higher education – proctoring being just one of them. And what a shift it has made! With the use of technology, it is possible for nearly anyone with an internet connection to pursue an education. Today, nearly 20 million students are enrolled in a college or university in the U.S., many in online programs. And as online education grows, so does the need for online proctoring.

Here are three ways that technology has elevated proctoring (and education) to new heights:

Using Artificial Intelligence to Augment Human Proctoring

A fully-automated proctoring solution, where an exam session is recorded but not monitored by a live proctor, has its place in academic testing (think low stakes quizzes and learning modules), but a high stakes final or cumulative exam requires more oversight. A live proctoring solution is the only way to truly prevent or intervene in dishonest behavior that can jeopardize academic integrity. But even humans can’t catch everything, so ProctorU started researching artificial intelligence (AI) almost six years ago. Today, both our automated and live proctoring methods are backed by AI.

Why did we go down this path? When we analyzed cheating behavior at a macro level, we found that nearly every behavior has a pattern. From the beginning, we had been training our human proctors to recognize those specific actions. Since we can train a human to recognize these patterns of behavior, we knew we could train a machine to do the same. However, in our live proctoring solution, technology is used to enhance human abilities, not replace them.

Let’s be honest…our proctors are highly trained to catch cheating behaviors, but they’re not perfect. No human is. The brain’s processing capacity is extremely powerful, but it has natural limitations not found in machines. By layering artificial intelligence behind human proctors, we get a built-in extra set of eyes. The AI is constantly looking for patterns that may otherwise go unnoticed, such as really low sound levels (whispers), slight shadows, subtle eye movements, or faint reflections.

Since mid-2018 when we rolled out Live+ (our live proctoring solution backed by AI), we’ve collected some interesting data points:

  • Integrity violation preventions increased 54 percent.
  • The system flagged no one being in camera view 12,075,008 times.
  • The system flagged 31,634 instances of individuals other than test-takers being in the testing environment.
  • Test-takers attempted to take a screenshot of exam content 4,458 times.

After human inspection or intervention, many of these incidents turned out to be harmless – i.e., someone passing through a kitchen because they simply didn’t know their roommate was taking an exam. However, many of them were found to be deceitful, such as someone in the room whispering answers to a test-taker.

The key thing to remember about machine learning and AI is that humans are its teachers. Our proctors train the AI to know what is harmless and what is nefarious. AI is constantly learning from us, building upon its knowledge base. The more exams we proctor, the quicker and better it becomes at detecting aberrant behavior patterns. This is critical because cheating behaviors consistently evolve right along with the fast-paced evolution of technology.

Integrations to Improve User Experience

In a world full of countless apps and sources of information, centralization is always welcome. We work to establish integrations between learning management systems (LMS), content delivery platforms and proctoring solutions in order to create a more streamlined user experience for test-takers, instructors and administrators.

ProctorU has collaborated with leading LMS providers like Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle, etc., and also invested in key integrations with partners such as Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Google, eThink and others that will improve learning and proctoring experiences.

As a recent example, Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, recently built ProctorU Auto into their MyLab product portfolio. This integration drastically simplifies the test-taker process and allows instructors to add proctoring to any MyLab assignment with the click of a few buttons. We’re excited to demo this solution at OLC Innovate 2019 and let attendees hear directly from innovators at Pearson and ProctorU who were closely involved in the integration process from ideation to launch.

Utilizing Data & Analytics to Inform Higher Ed Decisions

As technology has evolved, the type and amount of data collected by online proctoring platforms has progressed to the point that they offer far more value than simply preventing academic dishonesty. Data collected during proctoring offers valuable insight into student behaviors related to assessment and academic integrity. If analyzed correctly, such data can help answer a key question institutions are asking: “Which type of proctoring solution do we need?”

There are many proctoring options available, and it can be difficult to discern what will work best for your program. But by using data analytics, ProctorU can help break down what service line is the perfect fit for your program needs. Data helps inform decisions, like which departments or courses have a higher incidence of attempted cheating and would, therefore, require a higher level of security? We’re also working on an exam facilitator dashboard to present key insights about your student testing behaviors that will help drive decisions about exam creation and delivery practices. It’s important to remember that, like most things, choosing an online proctoring solution is not a one-and-done decision. As your program evolves, so should your proctoring solution.

Learn More about Online Proctoring in the Mile High City

If anything in this article interests you, come see us at booth #101 during OLC Innovate 2019 and consider attending our sessions where we’ll discuss these topics and more. We’d love to also invite to you to our Après Ski event on Thursday, April 5, from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. to chill out with some microbrews, our signature Procki’s Snowball cocktail, and a photo op with Procki. We look forward to seeing you in Denver!

Session 1: Best Practices in Selecting the Right Online Proctoring Solution to Fit Your Program
Wednesday, April 3 at 2:00 p.m. in Spruce 3
Add it to your schedule

Session 2: ProctorU: Bringing a new Level of Academic Integrity to Pearson MyLab
Thursday, April 4 at 9:45 a.m. in Spruce 3
Add it to your schedule

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