The demand for distance education is gradually increasing, and online exams and certifications have long been the norm. However, most universities, schools, and other institutions have realized that it is barely possible to monitor remotely how deep the students are involved in the learning process. Moreover, while taking online tests, the students have many opportunities for cheating and making exams easier.
The coronavirus crisis and the urgent transition to online study required educational institutions to solve distance monitoring problems as soon as possible. The solution was found in AI online proctoring technologies.
What is online proctoring?
An online proctoring solution is a monitoring system that automatically detects any prohibited actions before and during exams. Monitoring is carried out using three sources: audio, video, and desktop screen recording. Suppose the examinee tries to cheat and opens tabs other than the exam one in the browser. In that case, the system automatically marks the violation and sends the information to the examiner. Usually, a proctoring solution for online exams is supervised by a proctor, a specially trained person who monitors whether the system have detected all the violations correctly. The system works equally well with an individual user and thousands of people. All you need for monitoring is a stable internet connection and a computer or laptop with webcam and microphone support.
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- Synchronous proctoring with proctors
It is usually used in written exams (testing). A third-party proctor monitors the exam in real-time to control the transparency of the examination. The proctor checks the student’s identity, monitors compliance with all procedures, and can comment on the student’s actions in a chat. Video is recorded from two streams: the student’s webcam and his/her computer desktop. The proctor can interrupt the exam, marking it as unreliable in case of violations listed in the instructions. For example, the student cheats and does not respond to the proctor’s comments in the chat. For example, Examus AI proctoring app allows A single proctor to monitor the exam for up to 30 students at the same time. It is the most accurate but also the most expensive type of proctoring.
- Asynchronous proctoring with post-review validation
Personal identification, as well as the entire exam process, is provided by proctoring software. The system automatically monitors some prohibited actions:
- Absence of a student in the frame
- A second person in the frame
- Talking during the exam
- Using a second monitor
If violations are detected, the system marks the exam’s video as unreliable but doesn’t interrupt the process. During the exam, the video is recorded from the student’s webcam and his computer desktop. The video’s post validation is carried out by a university employee who either confirms the violation of the procedure or recognizes the exam as passed.
- Automatic monitoring
Monitoring is carried out without human engagement. The main advantage is its low cost. However, for important examinations, human involvement is essential, as even the most advanced AI can mark as violations a completely innocent situation.
How proctoring works
The online proctoring process is quite simple and stress-free for a student. For instance, with Examus, the process is organized as follows:
BEFORE EXAM STARTS:
- Step 1. The proctoring system requests access to the camera and microphone.
- Step 2. The remote proctoring solution checks the stability of the Internet connection.
- Step 3. The proctoring system checks a second screen’s presence and attempts to simulate or imitate the screen.
- Step 4. For the student identification (if all the requirements above are met), examinees will need to take a photo of themselves and submit it to the system together with identity documents (a driver’s license, a student ID card, or a credit card).
- Step 5. Start the exam and demonstrate your knowledge!
During the process, the online exam system analyzes the examinee behavior. If students are allowed to use calculators or paper and a pen in particular situations, the system rules can be adjusted accordingly. Generally, online proctoring systems track the following parameters:
- anomalies in gaze direction (looking elsewhere);
- face visibility coverage
- presence of other faces in the frame
- human voice detection
- monitor switch detection
- secondary gadgets detection
- books and notes detection
- calculator detection (if not allowed)
- broadcasting software detection
- browser tabs switching detection
- third-party algorithms detection
- non-verbal communication detection
Examus AI proctoring solution automatically marks and reports all suspicious actions. Each recording includes information about the type of violation and a corresponding timestamp.
The proctoring system gathers and combines information from all the sources into a single record. After that, the system calculates the overall chances of violations during the exam: green zone means low cheating probability, yellow means medium, and red means high.
Always, proctoring system has a video archive module where user can find:
- Camera, microphone, and desktop recordings.
- All potential violations in chronological order.
- Detailed information for each violation (type and timestamp).
AI solution for online proctoring
An essential part of any proctoring system is AI. Neural network algorithms of a remote proctoring solution (AI proctor) analyze and group data from three sources (video, audio, and user desktop). AI proctor detects most unauthorized activities. It analyzes physical behavior (e.g., looking away from the screen, talking or interacting with unauthorized people) and digital behavior (e.g., screen share activity, secondary gadgets).
Who else needs proctoring
Online proctoring technologies will be useful for schools and universities and not only for written exams. There are already solutions on the market that allow you to effectively monitor student behavior during verbal exams and other types of testing. The convenience of proctoring is that modern AI algorithms can track students’ behavior and measure their engagement level not only during testing but also throughout the entire learning process and then make the necessary adjustments to communication.
Moreover, an online proctoring solution will be effective for companies that organize regular employee training and professional development testing or hiring.
AI solutions for online proctoring have a great future in other areas besides training. Currently, dashboard cameras are being upgraded with computer vision features to determine how closely the driver looks at the road. Such solutions can significantly reduce the risk of accidents. And in business, it can be used during the presentations of new products to monitor the level of involvement and interest of the audience.