With millions of students enrolled in MOOCs or massive open online courses, the question that needs to be answered is how the professors can give their students their online examinations without the fear of students cheating on exam day. That question is now answered with the discovery of a proctoring method using cutting edge technology to monitor students while taking online exams.
With the discovery of this new method, it will be difficult for these students to cheat or even make an attempt to do so. The method uses human proctors who monitor the student while taking the exam through screen sharing, webcams, and high-speed internet connection. Online students, especially those who are getting credits for the course, are required to avail of this proctoring service for a fee. At present, the fee for the proctoring is pegged at $15 per exam while the identity confirmation costs around $30 to $90.
This online proctoring method includes confirming the identity of the student by comparing webcam photos as well as photo IDs. When the student avails of the service, he will be asked to type a few words and a software program will analyze the student’s typing style and other characteristics such as the length of time he presses a key on his keyboard. During the examination, the algorithm will be comparing the student’s typing style with the original data to detect irregularities that could be taken to mean that the student cheated on the exam.
Presently, there are two online proctoring service companies that are well-known and used by online schools such as Coursera. One is ProctorU that has offices in Alabama and California and the other is Software Secure that is based in Mountain View, California. The examination supervisors from both online proctoring service companies are well-trained in detecting the behavior of students who are attempting to cheat during the examination.
Unlike students in traditional schools, online students attend classes anytime and wherever they want, may it be at home or any place they are comfortable in. Final examinations are also given online making it impossible for the professors to see if the students are being dishonest in taking the exam or not. There were several attempts in the past to get these online students to take the final examination in an offline environment like a classroom. However, the attempts were not pushed through for several reasons. One of which is the impossibility for the students in online courses to go to the testing centers due to the cost of travel expenses. With this new method that will ensure the integrity of the exam taken by online students it is expected that more and more open online courses will be offered for those who want to enroll in college courses but cannot afford to go to traditional universities.
Source: New York Times