Online Test Taking for Today’s Students
Online test-taking can solve many issues. As a fourth-year student at the University of Florida, I have experienced taking exams throughout the semester in allocated classrooms across the university due to large volumes of students taking the same exam at the same time. For example, in a typical Physics class at UF, there are at least 300 students and it would be impractical to attempt to test that many students in one room without chaos or the threat of major cheating. Thus, several smaller classrooms must be reserved to spread out all 300 students to take the exam.
However, this can also be a long and tedious process, and classrooms are not always available because they are already in use. To avoid this situation, many teachers opt to use a testing service called ProctorU. ProctorU is a live online proctoring service for students to take exams on their computer. Proctors hired by ProctorU use a specific process to replicate the face-to-face proctoring experience through the internet. Through this process, proctors can see the student, see what they are doing on their computer screen, and monitor their testing environment. Adhering to high accreditation standards within the industry, ProctorU is used among colleges throughout the country.
To take a test:
- Register for ProctorU and select an available time to take the exam on the day of your assigned exam
- You will need a valid photo ID
- All programs on your computer will need to be closed except for the allowed websites
- You will need to have Adobe Flash Player Installed
- The proctor will need to see the screen of the computer before the exam begins so have a phone or mirror ready2
- The work area/testing space must be clear before taking the exams-this includes notes on a wall or papers underneath the desk
- The testing environment must be in a private and preferably quiet and well-lit area
- Cell phones, smartwatches, and tablets will be asked to be removed before starting the exam
- The proctor must be able to see your face through the camera of your computer for the entire duration of the exam.
- The proctor will then start the exam and the timer if the exam is timed.
- For additional technical specifications, click here.
Students who use ProctorU have commented, saying it is a fairly easy program to use and have never had any issues; some, however, have noted that it can be a bit awkward at first and problems can arise. For example, one student’s microphone on their laptop did not work, so they used the chat box available to the student and proctor. Another student noted: “I haven’t had any difficulties with ProctorU, and I always make sure to have it open and sit down about 20-30 minutes before the exam, so I can make sure everything is working and my area is clear of any study material.”
If a problem were to occur before or during the exam, the proctor should have the knowledge and tools to help find a solution. Most issues using ProctorU are attributed to technical glitches. That is often why students should set up their registration with ProctorU early in the semester. Oftentimes, students can look at their syllabus to see when the exams are scheduled. They should sign up for their exams 72 hours prior so they can get a time slot that works best for them. Students should also test out the system before their appointment time to verify their system is ready to go. If there are technical difficulties during the exam, ProctorU will document them and communicate with the students’ instructors to make alternative arrangements. Utilizing ProctorU is one way that the University of Florida can test their students without compromising the integrity of the student body as well as maintaining a high level of academic rigor.
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Stella J. Fedele, HaveUHeard Intern