Remote proctored online exams: The way forward?

  Jul 30, 2021

The global Coronavirus outbreak and the ensuing lockdown not only had a deep impact on our everyday lives but also changed the way we perceive education. The pandemic has intensified the role of technology across sectors and has been a vital cog in ensuring learning continuity. As the country battles the virus, educational institutes are looking to eliminate the long haul of uncertainty by leveraging technology.

Digital disruption prompted tech-enabled learning and assessments and that is continuing to empower students and institutions collectively. The ease of accessibility, security, and flexibility of online learning have got users engrossed thereby increasing its popularity and use. According to the World Economic Forum, research suggests that online learning has been shown to increase retention of information, and takes less time, meaning the changes coronavirus have caused might be here to stay. Even before COVID-19, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology, with global edtech investments reaching USD 18.66 billion in 2019 and the overall market for online education projected to reach USD 350 billion by 2025. Apart from learning, it is other aspects like online exams, proctoring, and result generation that need to enter the mainstream. AI-based proctoring has become the need of the hour and a lot of universities have already started implementing it. In India, the University Grants Commission (UGC) authorised a certain set of colleges to offer full-time online degree programmes and this means that online exams can no longer be overlooked.

While we’re seeing increasing interest in online exam management solutions, there is still a lack of awareness and some authorities remain on the fence regarding its sanctity, authenticity, and efficiency. Quite a few progressive institutes have gone ahead and digitized examinations which has not only helped them keep their academic commitments and calendars on track but they’ve realised how secure and reliable online exams are. Online assessment is not only cost-effective but also improves the timeliness of results, accuracy of results, and analyses give institutes actionable insights.

Everyone’s health and wellbeing should be the top priority during the pandemic. Keeping that in mind, remotely proctored online exams are the most viable way of assessing students and aspirants. Remote online proctoring enables invigilators to assess students authentically even from a distance. A safe exam browser disables any other programs from opening and ensures students can only access the exam on their respective devices. AI-enabled tools help effectively monitor students via a webcam as they would in-person by using biometrics, analysing keyboard handwriting, ambient sounds, mouse movement, eye and head movement, and a lot more. After the completion of the exam, a comprehensive report is also generated for the proctor that enables them to make fair judgment on a candidate’s exam integrity. The results of these tests are incredibly quick, accurate, and insightful.

Remote proctoring allows greater flexibility and enables data integrity by ensuring that only authorised personnel have access to it. It also helps in auto-evaluating candidates’ responses and removes bias as well. These tests are foolproof in the sense that they prevent any malpractice, are easy to use, and improve the overall productivity of the system compared to traditional methods.

Despite technology being available at the tip of our fingers for a long time, the drastic shift from the traditional mode of learning to the online mode was triggered only during the last year. The pros of proctored exams – veracious, versatile, cost-efficient, secure, modular, and customizable – bridge the gap while reducing the reliance on physical infrastructure in the coming days. With technology changing the way we function in life, online examinations have emerged as a life-saver and will continue to be a strong contender in the coming years. All we need is to have a little more trust and a little less resistance to change.

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