An increasingly common challenge facing universities and colleges is how best to prove student identity in cyberspace. Particularly as an increasing number of courses offer online exams, the need to properly vet students has become paramount. Texas State is the latest institution to recognize this need, and beginning in the fall, the university will implement an online proctoring solution for exams taken by students enrolled in online courses.
According to the University Star, the university plans to eventually offer online exam proctoring for all online courses through a third-party service provider after first executing a pilot phase on summer courses. Texas State has reportedly mulled the idea of online exam proctoring since the turn of the new year and has already reviewed proposals from a number of providers. After reviewing the available solutions, university officials narrowed the list to two providers, ProctorU and Examity.
To aid in the final decision, the university has organized a pilot program for online courses held during the first in the first summer session. ProctorU and Examity have agreed to provide services for a total of 600 exams as part of the pilot program.
Students enrolled in the nine summer courses chosen for the pilot will test one of the two proctoring services, with students and faculty both offering feedback on their experience. With the feedback, university officials hope to identify any difficulties in the process, whether technical support was needed, and in general, ensure a positive user experience.
Depending on the solution, at the time of logging in to the online exam, students will turn on their webcam to be supervised by the service provider and verify their identity, in part, by presenting a student ID. As is the case with may proctoring solutions, students will be required to have a webcam with microphone, Internet connectivity and a browser.
University officials are also working to ensure that identification measures for online exams are in line with any privacy concerns. “Part of the conversation right now with the providers is looking at what identification will be deemed appropriate in the process,” said Carlos Solis, associate vice president of Instructional Technologies Support at Texas State, in an interview with The Star. “The possibility will be that students will hold up their student ID.”