Don’t be tempted – Proctortrack is watching!
During the first nine months of using Proctortrack exclusively, the hyper-sensitive software has resulted in SAC actions ranging from warning letters for minor violations to dismissal from the University. Minor violations include something as innocent as looking away from the screen during the exam.
Unlike RPNow, the previous exam proctoring program, Proctortrack does not disable the computer from accessing the internet. If a student tries to Google an answer or opens class notes during the test, the screenshots will capture it.
“Unfortunately, the students who have been dismissed in recent months had succumbed to the temptation of opening other documents during the exam,” says Dr. Sarmad Ghazi, Dean for North America and Exam/IT Faculty Lead. “It is very sad to watch a student undo years of sacrifice and expense in a moment of weakness, but the University takes academic dishonesty very seriously.”
Proctortrack monitoring allows the faculty to monitor a student’s behavior on each question. For example, if a student answers questions one through eight without any study aids but then opens up his/her class notes to answer question nine, the screenshot will indicate that.
“We have had some student behavior “flagged” only to find out that the student was actually having technical difficulty,” says Dr. Ghazi. “In those instances, we are happy to work with the student and certainly give them the benefit of the doubt. Some violations are blatant, however, and leave us no choice.”
Collaborating with the vendor
“Though it performs at a much higher level than its predecessor, the Proctortrack system is not perfect and the University is working with the vendor to address some of the technical difficulties students have encountered,” says Greg Beber, Director of Information Technology. “As far as having the ability to open other tabs and windows during an exam, we would prefer to remove the ability rather than expel a student for that behavior.”
OUM’s stance on academic dishonesty is clearly outlined in the Student Handbook.
“Cheating hurts the student. He or she may gain a temporary advantage, but ultimately, it catches up with them during the licensure or registration exam,” says Chancellor Dr. Viali Lameko, who helped to draft the Academic Board’s zero tolerance resolution. The resolution defines a dual forum process to ensure fairness:
- A report is made to the faculty members responsible for administering exams or directly to the Student Affairs Committee (SAC).
- The SAC advises the student that it has received a report of a violation.
- SAC gathers and reviews all related data, including but not limited to recordings of the student’s exam session from the remote proctor and reports from witnesses.
- Under the presumption of innocence, SAC holds a “cameras on” recorded meeting via Collaborate with the student to inquire about the circumstances and to hear the student’s response.
- SAC receives and reviews any additional information that may have come up in the interview with the student, including interviews with others who may have knowledge of the incident.
- If the burden of proof is not met and SAC’s decision of innocence is unanimous, the case is dismissed. When the student is informed of the decision, he/she will be reminded of the consequences of cheating and other lapses in academic integrity.
- If the SAC vote is less than unanimous to acquit the student (at least one member finding the student guilty), the matter and all evidence are referred to the Council of Deans.
- The Council of Deans will review all evidence and may call upon members of the SAC to provide their insights into the case. The Deans may call a meeting with the student to hear his/her side of the story. As does the SAC, the Deans should act under the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof shall be the preponderance of evidence.
- The decision by the Council of Deans is a simple majority—either to acquit or to find the student guilty of the charge. If the student is found guilty, he/she will fail the module in question and will be dismissed from the University.
- The decision must be made by a quorum (majority of membership) of the Council of Deans. If a quorum does not vote on the matter, it will be deferred until such time that a quorum may be convened. A tie vote will not decide the matter.
- The decision by the Council of Deans is final and may not be appealed.
It is recommended that students familiarize themselves with the behaviors that will alert the exam proctoring software of possible violations. Listening to music, leaving the room, even putting your head down on the table, and other seemingly benign behaviors will alert the exam proctoring software to trigger a review. More information may be found by clicking Proctortrack’s Best Practices page http://www.proctortrack.com/best-practices .
“Of course, most of our students want to do the right thing and they don’t need reminders about how online proctoring works,” says Chris Dudley, OUM Director of Administration. “But at the end of the day, academic integrity should concern every student because cheating also hurts the University and devalues the OUM diploma. When an institution does not take academic dishonesty seriously, it adversely affects its accreditation, access to educational and professional resources, and its reputation—meaning its graduates may be denied internships, residencies, or jobs.”