The COVID-19 epidemic has only exacerbated the growing popularity of online learning in recent years. Keeping academic integrity and combating exam cheating are two of the biggest issues that educational institutions are facing as a result of the move to remote learning. Online proctoring has evolved as a remedy for this issue, but it also offers advantages and disadvantages that need to be properly weighed. The advantages and disadvantages of online proctoring for professors and students will be discussed in this article.
What Is Online Proctoring?
Utilising software to keep an eye on students during tests and catch them cheating is known as online proctoring. The programme employs a webcam and microphone to record the student’s actions and environment. The software algorithms then look for any suspicious behaviour, such as the usage of forbidden items or exiting the test screen while it is still in progress. Online proctoring enables students to take examinations from any location with an internet connection and may be utilised for both synchronous and asynchronous exams.
Benefits for Students of Online Proctoring
- Comfort and Flexibility : Online proctoring offers students the flexibility and convenience that traditional in-person proctoring cannot, allowing them to take examinations at the time and location of their choosing. Students who have other commitments, such as employment or family obligations, may find it especially useful since they do not have to worry about scheduling conflicts or travel time to a test site.
- Lower Stress : When proctoring exams traditionally, students are frequently tense or worried, which might impair their performance. Students may take tests in a comfortable setting using online proctoring, lowering tension and anxiety. Students may focus more intently and score better if they may take the exam in a relaxed and familiar environment.
- Accurate and Objective Evaluation : The use of remote proctoring guarantees the objectivity and accuracy of student evaluations. This is so that all students are evaluated evenly. The programme watches all pupils equally and looks for any questionable behaviours. In order to preserve academic integrity and preserve the validity of the educational institution and the degrees that students get, online proctoring may also stop cheating.
Online proctoring has disadvantages for students.
- Tech Problems : Some students may find it difficult to use online proctoring software since it requires a strong internet connection and a suitable device. Technical problems, such programme breakdowns or network challenges, can be stressful and have an impact on how well you perform on exams. Technical difficulties might prevent students from submitting their exams or force them to repeat them, which is both annoying and time-consuming.
- Breach of privacy : Online proctoring entails keeping an eye on students’ movements and surroundings while they are taking examinations, which is considered an infringement of privacy. Students could feel uneasy about being watched in their homes or other private areas. Additionally obtrusive, the usage of cameras and microphones might make some students self-conscious about their voice or looks.
- Small-scale Interaction : There can be no face-to-face communication between the proctor and the student while proctoring is done online. Students who want clarification or assistance throughout the test may find it difficult to get it due to this lack of engagement. When using conventional proctoring, students can speak with the proctor if they have any issues or need assistance. Students may have to use email or online chat during an online proctoring session, which can be slower and less productive.
The advantages of online proctoring for teachers
- Cost and Time Savings : Exam teachers no longer need to be there in person, saving time and money on travel expenses. Exam sites and scheduling are taken care of for instructors, allowing them to concentrate on other parts of their teaching responsibilities. Additionally, the use of online proctoring eliminates the need for expensive extra people to oversee tests.
- Improved Security : By avoiding cheating and preserving academic integrity, online proctoring increases exam security. Any suspicious behaviour, such as the use of unauthorised materials or exiting the test screen while it is still going on, can be found by the software algorithms. Additionally adding a degree of protection, instructors may configure the programme to report any questionable conduct for manual examination.
- Simple and Effective Assessment : Exam evaluation is simple and effective when done online. Multiple-choice questions are automatically graded by the program, which saves time and effort. Additionally, instructors have direct access to the exam results, enabling them to rapidly provide students comments and marks.
Problems with Online Proctoring for Teachers
- Absence of Personal Contact : There can be no face-to-face communication between instructors and students during tests when proctoring is done online. Students who want assistance may not be able to get it from instructors during the test, which might be a disadvantage. It may be challenging for teachers to gauge how well their pupils grasp the subject matter because of this lack of engagement.
- Tech Problems : For some teachers, using online proctoring software might be difficult since it requires a stable internet connection and a suitable device. Exams might be delayed or disrupted due to technical concerns, such as programme breakdowns or network issues. Teachers might also need to spend time helping students with technological problems they are having during the exam.
- Privacy Issues : Online proctoring might cause teachers to have privacy concerns, especially if the programme needs access to sensitive information like cameras or microphones. Having access to students’ personal places may make instructors uncomfortable. They may also worry about data security and privacy violations.
For both students and teachers, online proctoring offers advantages and disadvantages. Although it offers greater flexibility and security, it also has the ability to compromise privacy and lead to technological problems. Finding a balance between online and conventional proctoring techniques is crucial for making online proctoring effective. This means taking into account the requirements and worries of both students and instructors. Online proctoring may be a helpful tool in guaranteeing academic integrity and fair evaluation for all students with proper planning and attention.
Mercer | Mettl is an online assessment platform that provides proctoring services for exams. It offers a range of proctoring solutions, including AI-based proctoring and live proctoring, to ensure the security and integrity of online exams.