No More Cheating with Online Exams

Ever catch a student cheating on your online exam? Studies consistently reveal that over half of college students have cheated at least once. Years ago, a student informed me that his peers were using smartphones to photograph the screen during my online exams and then texting friends who hadn’t taken it yet. I was disappointed but also unsure what to do about it. Chico State now has a solution to address online exam cheating in all its various forms. A remote proctoring service called Proctorio provides the convenience of online exams along with the security of proctored exams. This service, which is free for all Chico State faculty, allows you to:

  • Block internet searching and other applications during the exam.
  • Observe the student and their test environment via camera to ensure they are following your testing rules.
  • Customize the strictness of the rules used to best fit your expectations.

After the online exam, Proctorio provides you feedback on each student including data on browser clicks, eye-movements, and an audio/video recording. You then decide how, if at all, to proceed with the data.

If you’re interested in using Proctorio in Spring ‘19, you must first attend a training. If you’re interested in learning more, please attend a virtual initial information session (via Zoom) on Monday, October 15th at 11am to see an overview of this new technology to see how it can fit your needs. Click here to RSVP if you’re interested.

If you have any questions about the information session or about bringing remote proctoring to your course, contact TLP at 898-6167.

2 thoughts on “No More Cheating with Online Exams

  1. I wrote to Josh this morning about this tip to register some concerns I have about this platform, and he encouraged me to post my thoughts in this blog space. Here is the text of what I sent to him; I hope this can be a spur to some conversation about the pedagogical and ethical implications of this particular platform.

    I love Fac Dev’s Tuesday Tips – they always get me thinking about what I’m doing in the classroom. I found this tip from Tuesday really problematic, however, and I wanted to share with you a couple thoughts I have about why we as an institution might not want to promote a platform like Proctorio.

    I encountered Proctorio while working on the Course Redesign with Tech grant I received (from the CSU Chancellor’s Office) in AY 16-17. I and some other faculty even ended up out at dinner with a couple of the company’s reps during the CRT summer institute. So, although I have not used the system, I know a bit about its functions and about how the company selling it thinks about it.

    First, this platform encourages the installation of ever increasing levels of surveillance into students’ lives and into our pedagogy. Even as the university reflects its surrounding culture, it also serves a critical mission, and I think we do our students a disservice by reinforcing that invasive surveillance techniques disseminated through digital technologies is absolutely fine and normal.

    Second, it’s very existence as a platform assumes student identity to be wrapped up with cheating. I am uncomfortable with the idea that we should go into a pedagogical situation assuming the worst about our students. Proctorio reinforces this antagonistic relationship, signaling to students our lack of trust. Plenty of studies have shown the effects of negative feedback on developing kids and adolescents. My hope is we can find better more positive ways to work with students on these issues that doesn’t require they be treated as potential cheaters.

    I’d be happy to chat more about these issues. I’m interested in and dedicated to making online spaces fantastic places for student learning. It’s why I’ve repeatedly worked to make my digital pedagogy better through CSU-related groups like CRT and the QLT FLC as well as digital pedagogy initiatives elsewhere. That’s why I think Fac Dev has such an important job, and I appreciate the work you do – because I continually benefit from it.


  2. I echo many of the things Corey brought up and I applaud Josh for encouraging me to publish my concerns about this in a more public forum than the email I initially sent him. Excerpts of the email are below.

    I bring this up with everyone who advocates for one of these services so. I have spoken with administrators, vendors, faculty and students about these same issues.

    These programs carry huge privacy and security risks that seemingly no one gives credence to because the people (professors) making the decisions aren’t the people (students) whose privacy and security are at risk. We spend billions of dollars keeping software off our computers that take control of browsers and record our activity so the thought of inviting one onto your computer is a bad practice. Requiring that students do this in order to pass a class is an even worse practice.

    Security concerns. This is a private company that now has software on thousands of computers that can record activity, turn webcams on and off, and store data on browser activity. Even if they are 100% on the level, no system is secure. Every day we read about a new data breach somewhere and sometimes hackers have been active for years before someone finds out. If Proctorio security is breached then students have given over control of their computers (finances, personal issues, voting records, and webcams) to a hacker because a faculty member required they download something that would be considered malware under any other circumstance.

    Privacy concerns. Students have to agree to terms to use the system. This is a problem, but doable. What about the roommate behind them who just got out of the shower and may not be clothed? What about the person opposite them in the computer lab who is downloading illegal software? They didn’t sign anything, they probably don’t even know the webcam is picking up their image. What if the student is using someone else’s laptop? Now they have signed the security of a machine over while that person may not even know. It is not just the privacy of the student who is at risk, it is everyone in proximity to the student.

    If I were a student there is 0% chance I would install this on any machine, I would openly advocate for my peers to not install and I would raise holy hell with anyone who would listen if it were a class requirement. I’ll pose this hypothetical to a faculty member thinking about this program. We have to complete training for our jobs including Title IX, safety etc. Would you be comfortable installing Proctorio on your computer so your chair, or dean, or local compliance officer could view you and monitor your activity while you were completing the training? Would you be comfortable inviting this program into your computer and trust that your activity was only going to be monitored when necessary?

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