Assessments can be a challenge for any course. What are the best, most efficient and most effective ways to assess how your students have developed through your course, while also ensuring academic integrity?
For many instructors, online quizzes and exams are often the preferred method to assess the knowledge and skills of students. However, while online learning offers many opportunities for students to learn, it also opens the door to new forms of academic dishonesty. Online proctoring can discourage cheating while taking online assessments and identify students who do cheat.
Proctoring may be deemed to be the best solution to ensure academic integrity in your test, so Metropolitan State University of Denver has partnered with ProctorU to provide online proctoring services.
Students were previously directly responsible for paying for this service. But to lower barriers and support students, MSU Denver will now cover all fees associated with ProctorU. ProctorU can be integrated with any of the Classic Quizzes in Canvas; please note that New Quizzes are not supported at this time. Using ProctorU in a course takes a fair amount of work and time to set up and will need to be communicated to students in advance, so assessments will likely need to be set up before the start of the semester.
ProctorU offers three levels of service, each with unique features:
- Record+ is the most basic level of service. It records the webcam and microphone feeds of students and makes that footage available for you to review. You will need to personally watch the footage to determine if there is any suspicious activity.
- Review+ is an intermediate level. It will assign a proctor to review the footage and flag any suspicious events for you to take a closer look. You will still have access to all the footage if you want to look at anything personally. In Review+ and Live+, a proctor will greet the student and ensure that the test-taking environment is free of prohibited material.
- Live+ is the highest level. A proctor will monitor the test-takers in real time and intervene if a student attempts something that isn’t allowed.
Review+ and Live+ incur increasing costs to the University for each student taking the assessment, so consider carefully which level is most appropriate for your situation.
To communicate with your students that you will use a proctoring service in your course, a syllabus statement such as the following is suggested:
- Proctoring is required to ensure the integrity of assessments within this class. Students will have the following options (faculty members should list all that apply):
- Virtual proctoring through ProctorU
- Proctoring at the MSU Denver Testing Center
- A proctor local to the student and approved by the instructor
ProctorU Record+ syllabus-statement addition:
This course uses proctored exams through the ProctorU system. For more information about what to expect, please visit ProctorU’s Record+ website.
ProctorU Review+ and Live+ syllabus statement addition:
This course uses proctored exams through the ProctorU system. For more information about what to expect, please visit ProctorU’s Review+ and/or Live+ websites for detailed information about these services.
When not to use:
- ProctorU shouldn’t be used for low-stakes assessments such as quizzes or minor exams. ProctorU places a significant burden on the test-taker to meet its requirements, which is something you should weigh against the importance of the exam.
- ProctorU shouldn’t be used without at least two to three weeks of preparation before the due date. Without this time, you may not be able to get the exam reviewed and approved or leave students enough time to register for appointments.
- One thing to consider is whether you can assess your students in ways that discourage academic dishonesty naturally. Consider options such as written responses that can be analyzed for plagiarism. If you can ensure a reasonable degree of academic integrity without proctoring, that will be less stressful for your students and less work for you.
When to use:
- Proctoring should be used only when most necessary, such as for final exams and assessments mandated by accreditation bodies. Assessments delivered through ProctorU provide a high level of security; however, to ensure this, they also require a high level of effort in setting them up and put a considerable burden on students.
- Use ProctorU when academic integrity is your highest concern and you aren’t able to ensure it with any other strategy than proctoring. Also, consider what level of proctoring you need. If it’s not necessary to have live proctoring or you are able to review the footage yourself, stick with the lowest tier, Record+.
When to set up:
- Consider proctoring requirements when designing a course before the semester begins. You should know which, if any, of your exams will require proctoring and set up ProctorU well in advance of the due date. ProctorU recommends that all exams are registered two to three weeks before the due date, as it can take one to three days for ProctorU to review the exam.
- Inevitably, students miss exams (even proctored exams). Be clear on your policy for makeup exams, as they require additional effort, setup and cost.
- Finally, remember that no method of assessment is foolproof. Academic dishonesty and cheating have been around since the beginning and have found ways to adapt to every method of teaching. In the end, you know your subject and students best and are in the perfect position to design assessments (assignments, projects, tests, quizzes, etc.) that meet your specific needs.
ProctorU is just one more tool you can employ if you think it will help your students learn. We also encourage you to visit our drop-in support to discuss your assessment needs, answer any questions you may have or explore alternatives that might be a better fit for your specific teaching situation.
Let’s walk through it together
There are so many aspects to this important new service that not everything can be covered in this article. For more detailed instructions and considerations, please explore this topic in the following Ready website articles:
Want help on this or other teaching and learning topics? Please visit the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design for drop-in support (10 a.m.-3 p.m., M-F) or try one of the self-help tutorials.