Know the Do’s and Don’ts

So far this year, four pre-clinical students have been dismissed from the University due to exam integrity violations flagged by Proctortrack. During that same time period, multiple students received warning letters from the Student Affairs Committee (SAC).

“We hate to see any violation, but it is particularly painful to watch students throw away all their hard work due to one moment of weakness,” says Joe Korac, SAC Chair. “The SAC makes its decision based solely on what we see and hear in Proctortrack. There is no special consideration based on difficult circumstances. There are no apologies or promises not to do it again taken into account.”

Although Proctortrack is explained extensively during New Student Orientation, many students still get flagged every year. Proctortrack is extremely sensitive and picks up even minor movements. For instance, students are flagged even for temporarily staring into space to recall an answer. With Proctortrack, every aspect of the exam is recorded and evaluated by an overly sensitive Artificial Intelligence that flags everything that could possibly be a violation. Proctortrack provides audio and video recording of the student, as well as screen shots every time anything on the computer moves or changes. Faculty and staff review all these materials to determine whether a violation has occurred. Every flagged exam attempt is reviewed by OUM staff and faculty to see if there has been an integrity violation. Given Proctortrack’s sensitivity, some flags do not amount to a violation, but every flagged activity is reviewed. The video link in the e-newsletter reveals some of the level of detail that faculty have available to review. Prohibited behaviors include:

  • Looking away from your computer screen
  • Looking at outside resource materials
  • Navigating away from the exam page
  • Leaving the camera field of view
  • Covering your camera
  • Muting your microphone
  • Communicating with others
  • Having others communicate with you
  • Wearing a headset or other audio device*

* Use of ear plugs is acceptable if and only if you show all angles of your ear plugs to the camera prior to using them so we can be assured they are not an audio device.

“We also review videos when we’re in doubt,” says Korac. “The video time codes help us connect the dots. We can track when students skip questions, look away from the screen, presumably to check a study aid, then return to the screen to submit the correct answer.”

If, after a live appearance before the SAC, the student is found guilty of a violation, the case is forwarded to the Council of Deans and Chancellery. The Council’s decision is final.

“Without fail, the annual student survey cites OUM’s flexibility as one of the favorite things about the University. Well, with flexibility comes responsibility,” says Christopher Dudley, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Administration and Student Affairs. “We depend on remote proctoring to be able to administer our curriculum online. Maintaining the integrity of our online exams is non-negotiable. Fortunately, the vast majority of our students comply with the regulations.”

Korac’s message to students is to resist the temptation to get help during an exam. “If you are underprepared and your exam isn’t going well, never be tempted to use any reference material. Don’t think you can use another device, online aids, or be able to refer to books or notes on your desk. It’s simply not worth it for one or two marks,” says Korac.