Online Faculty

Best Practices For Online Proctoring

Starting spring semester 2016, USF will launch a new online proctoring solution, Proctorio. It offers a number of features designed to enhance academic integrity of online quizzes and exams. As with any new instructional technology solution, there are recommended best practices that will ensure an optimal experience for you and your students.

Manage students' expectations

Online proctoring is a relatively new solution and many of your students may not have taken an online proctored exam. For this reason, it is imperative to properly prepare students and manage their expectations by providing adequate information early in the semester. While a syllabus statement may inform them, students really need the opportunity to experience online proctoring prior to taking their test. Two of the best mechanisms for accomplishing this are 1) the student getting started checklist and 2) the online proctoring practice test. These resources equate to less time spent answering emails and more time spent teaching. The student checklist and practice test are Canvas based items that are provided within the online proctoring workshop or you can email us and request to have them added to your course.  

Beyond the checklist and practice test it is also recommended that you post an announcement during the first week of class indicating that online quizzes and/or exams will require online proctoring. In your message provide the online proctoring student FAQ page. This will answer many of their questions. As a final communication piece, you can use the "Message Students Who" function within the gradebook to reach out to those students who have not completed this practice test.

Remember, a suspicious behavior prompt does not signify cheating

When reviewing proctored exam attempts, it is important to remember that a prompt does not signify that a student has cheated. It is simply an indicator of something that the instructor may need to review. With this in mind, it is always important to remember to ask yourself if these was an evident violation of the exam policy or not.

If you have multiple TAs designate one to online proctoring

Designate one TA as the online proctoring expert. Responsibilities of the TA would be to communicate with students prior to the exam, answer basic support questions, review exam attempts, and report to the instructor. You can collaborate with your TA in the review and your TA can even provide custom annotations within the timeline. All of this is covered with the workshop. Ultimately, this approach will save you time, reduce potential for error, and give the students a single point-person for questions.

Customize based on your assessment needs

Proctorio is extremely flexible and gives faculty the opportunity to setup online proctoring specific to their own assessment needs. As opposed to selecting all options, take a moment to learn about each option and then prioritize. So for example, if you allow students to use external web based resources during the exam, certain lockdown features are not recommended. If you are in doubt about any exam setting you can select the blue question mark and a brief tutorial provide you with basic information about that setting. These are embedded throughout the Proctorio interface so just look for the blue question marks. Additionally, you can always contact us to verify that you have the appropriate settings for your assessment needs.

Address any student concerns and assure them that online proctoring is here for student success

Online proctoring is available to faculty as an additional measure to ensure academic integrity for online tests and quizzes. It is not necessarily a tool to catch cheaters but rather a mechanism to ensure accountability and deter cheating. Additionally, it helps to stage a level playing field for our students. Students may however express concerns about taking an online proctored exam. Listen to any concerns and make sure that the student is fully aware of the information within the online proctoring student FAQ. For those students who do not wish to take an online proctored exam you may consider alternatives such as taking the exam at the campus library.

 In closing, one of the best things you can do is to education yourself prior to using online proctoring. The Innovative Education Online Faculty Development team offers both classroom-based and fully online workshops specific to online proctoring. You can register here or contact us if you have any additional questions.

By Lindsey Mercer M.Ed. 
USF Online Faculty Development