Students must adjust test-taking behaviors

Remote exam proctoring takes getting used to and every distance-learning student goes through the adjustment. Gone is the instructor seated at the front of the room watching for wondering eyes. It has been replaced by students taking exams on their own computer, often in numerous global locations, under the watchful eye of their recording webcams. OUM began using remote exam proctoring in 2012 and transitioned to its current vendor, Proctortrack, in 2016.

The remote exam is a key component of OUM’s online medical school curriculum. Students must adjust to taking exams online just as they must adjust to balancing work and academics, if they choose to work during the pre-clinical phase. In both cases, the adjustment is the price students pay for the flexibility that is such an attractive part of OUM’s offering.

Upon enrollment, student orientation includes detailed information about taking exams, preparing the testing environment, and understanding prohibited behaviors. Proctortrack flags irregular behaviors and alerts faculty to review the respective recordings. Some of the prohibited behaviors that could jeopardize exam integrity include:

  • use of headset or earbuds
  • looking away from the camera for an extended period of time
  • use of ANY materials (such as writing pads, scratch paper/note paper, course textbook, handouts, calculator) or unapproved software/technology, other than your personal computer in the testing station
  • browsing the Internet during an exam

“While some of these actions may seem benign, they are, nevertheless, red flagged by the proctor and reported to the University for review by the Student Affairs committee,” says Dr. Sarmad Ghazi, Dean for North America and Exam/IT Faculty Lead. “Sadly, when the reminders fall on deaf ears, we need to issue warnings to students who fail to correct flagged behaviors. Unfortunately, we have had extremely rare instances when a student was dismissed for academic dishonesty,” he adds.

The remote proctoring industry has grown exponentially during the last decade, but the end game has remained the same for both institutions and their students: preserve credibility. The best way to do that? OUM regularly reminds students, especially incoming classes, to become familiar with the flagged behaviors – and steer clear.