Behind the Webcam’s Watchful Eye, Online Proctoring Takes Hold
by Steve Kolowich (The Chronicle Of Higher Education/April 19, 2013)
Hailey Schnorr has spent years peering into the bedrooms, kitchens, and dorm rooms of students via Webcam. In her job proctoring has learned to focus mainly on students’ eyes. “What we look for is eye movement,” says Ms. Schnorr. “When the eyes start veering off to the side, that’s clearly a red flag.” Ms. Schnorr works for ProctorU, a company hired by universities to police the integrity of their online courses. ProctorU is part of a cottage industry of online proctoring providers that has grown in recent years as colleges and universities have set their sights on “nontraditional” students who want to earn degrees without leaving home. The old biases against online education have begun to erode, but companies that offer remote proctoring services still face an uphill battle in persuading skeptics, many of whom believe that the duty of preserving academic integrity should not be entrusted to online watchers who are often thousands of miles from the test-takers. So ProctorU and other players have installed a battery of protocols aimed at making their systems as airtight as possible.
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