Testing Securely and Conveniently – on Campus

I returned last week from the annual Innovations 2011 Conference in sunny San Diego, a well-organized event by the League for Innovation in the Community College. Over the course of three days, I spoke with many faculty, staff and administrators interested in exam integrity. I thought I’d share in this blog post one of two fascinating themes that I heard (second theme to follow).

Many schools are looking for ways to make computer testing labs available to students to take self-scheduled exams. I spoke with many administrators and staff that are planning to or recently made their testing labs open to students 24/7. Some schools were forced to offer self-schedule, any-time testing because they lacked the physical seats for every student to take exams during the regular class schedule. Other schools felt it necessary to staff their labs 24/7 because their distance learning students, currently required to come to campus for a proctored exam are pushing to have the flexibility to at least come to campus on their own schedule.

Our company’s flagship product, Securexam Remote Proctor is a hardware/software solution designed to enable distance learning students to take exams at their own home, with the same integrity as if the student were testing in a human-proctored exam environment. The Remote Proctor hardware device uses finger-scan biometrics to authenticate the identity of a distance learning test-taker, and then records audio and a 360 degree view of the exam-room, wherever that is. Rounding out our security offering, the Remote Proctor device connects to our patented Securexam software locks down the student’s computer providing access to the test, while prohibiting access to any unauthorized digital materials.

During the conference, I spoke with several Community Colleges that shared that they’re considering our Remote Proctor offering as a way to ease the burden of staffing a 24/7 computer-lab. The schools will be able to offer self-scheduled exams in computer-proctored labs. . . . Interesting! The students will walk in to the lab, sit in-front of a school computer, and log in to their exam using Securexam Remote Proctor.

On one hand, I wanted to jump up and down and yell, “But why not let the student use Securexam Remote Proctor at home — why bring them to campus?!” But at the same time, I was thrilled that more schools are thinking about ways to offer tests more conveniently for their students, while still protecting the integrity of the exam experience. It’s just one example of the various models schools can implement to make test-taking easier.

How schools do things today and what is required to make changes – given tight budgets, academic integrity and accreditation concerns, represent a tricky set of interrelated issues. I loved to see how many community colleges are establishing top-notch distance learning programs and their interest in how technology can improve the offering and widen the schools reach. I am equally pleased to see schools looking for ways to deploy technology on campus to better serve their most important customers — the student.

Look forward to sharing the 2nd theme from Innovations Conference 2011 next week.
Douglas M. Winneg, CEO

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