Online Proctoring using ProctorU – Student Guide

All online undergraduate courses offered by the School of Business Administration features online proctoring through ProctorU.  Some graduate classes may also use ProctorU.  This means that for tests and exams, a live proctor will use your computer’s webcam to observe you taking the test to ensure the integrity of the test.  Here are some frequently asked questions about ProctorU and online proctoring.

Q:  What is online proctoring?
A:  Think about a test you take in a regular classroom on campus.  The test is proctored (supervised by a faculty member or teaching assistant) because of three reasons – to ensure that only the student shows up to take the test, to ensure that you work alone, and to ensure that you are not using unauthorized resources such as the textbook, the internet, or your cell phone.  With online proctoring, a company called ProctorU will use a live proctor to use your webcam to meet the same three objectives.  First, they will verify your identity.  Second, they will make sure that you work alone (they can see through your webcam if there is anyone else in the room with you).  Third, they will make sure that the test taker is not using any unauthorized resources.  In addition to watching you through your webcam, they can see what’s on your computer, so they know if you’ve opened up any web pages you shouldn’t.  For more on how proctoring works, see here.

Q:  Does it cost me anything?
A:  ProctorU does not cost the student anything unless you schedule your test at the last minute.  If you wait to schedule your test within 3 days of the test, then you will have to pay a convenience fee to ProctorU directly using a credit card.  To avoid the fee, be sure to schedule your tests at least 3 days before you want to take the test.

Q:  Is ProctorU a well-known company?
A:  ProctorU is the largest online proctoring company in the United States.  It has hundreds of clients including University of Minnesota, Texas A&M, University of Florida, and Ohio University.

Q:  How does online proctoring help me?
A:  ProctorU ensures a level playing field for all students in an online course, and protects the integrity and value of your degree in the workplace.

Q: Isn’t this an invasion of privacy?
A:  It’s important to remember that with online proctoring, there is no more invasion of privacy than happens with a regular face-to-face class.  To verify your identity, ProctorU will ask to see your ID and may ask you some questions about your identity from publicly available databases (such as your home address).  To make sure you work alone, the proctor will ask you to scan your webcam around the room you are in.  To ensure you don’t open any unauthorized webpages the proctor will be able to see your computer screen, just like a proctor in a classroom can look over your shoulder and see your computer screen.  Just remember that proctors can see you, your room, and your computer.  If you want to protect sensitive information from the proctor, keep these factors in mind.  For example, you can create a separate account on your computer just for taking tests if you don’t want the proctor to have access to anything on your computer other than your web browser. 

Q: How does ProctorU know so much information about me?
A: The first part of using ProctorU is for ProctorU to determine that you are who you say you are. In order to do that, ProctorU asks you to answer questions that only you would know. These questions come from public records databases run by companies like Acxiom. If you would like to see what data Acxiom has about you from public databases, click here.

Q: What does ProctorU do with the information it has about me?
A: ProctorU is FERPA-compliant. It does not store any personal information about you.

Q: I don’t like the idea of someone looking at me because I’m an honest student and would never think about cheating.
A: We realize that 99% of our students don’t cheat on exams.  Sadly, however, there are those who do cheat.  When a student cheats, it is grossly unfair to you – the student who does not cheat.  That student can “throw the curve” if there’s a curve in the class, and they distort average grades in the class.  That’s why 100% proctoring benefits everyone by ensuring a level playing field for exams and tests.

Q:  How does proctoring help UD?
A:  Many institutions, profit and non-profit, now offer online courses.  Most are reputable, but some are not.  As an AACSB-accredited business school (fewer than 5% of business schools are accredited), we have a strong reputation and brand to defend.  We don’t want the SBA to become known as an easy way to get an A in online courses.  As a student taking an online course you don’t want an employer to think that SBA online courses are a “joke” or too easy.  That’s why 100% online proctoring ultimately protects you, the student, in the investment you are making in online education, while maintaining the SBA’s reputation. 

Q:  What equipment do I need to use ProctorU?
A:  You will need a laptop or desktop computer with webcam, microphone, and a stable high-speed internet connection.  See here for more details. 

Q:  What do I have to do to prepare to take a test with ProctorU?
A:  Follow the steps below before you take a test with ProctorU. 

  1. Create a ProctorU account (video on how to do this is at https://vimeo.com/107066503)
  2. Test your equipment meets ProctorU's requirements at www.proctoru.com/testitout/
  3. Schedule your exam at https://go.proctoru.com/session/new at least 72 hours before you want to take your test (or pay the close-in scheduling fee).
  4. If you are especially sensitive to proctors seeing your computers you should create a separate operating system account on your laptop just for taking tests, or use a "clean" machine without any personal information on it.
  5. Review the rules of the exam (use of notes, websites, etc) provided by your instructor.  If you don’t know, ASK!  It’s really important that you understand the rules of the test in order to avoid an incident report or honor code violation during the test.
  6. The proctor will see you and the room you are in, the entire time you are taking the test.  No one should be in the room you are in, and no one is allowed to enter the room you are in.  You are also not permitted to leave the exam room during the test.  More tips about the exam room can be found here.
  7. You have to provide government-issued ID at the beginning of the exam and answer questions from a public database to establish your identity.  Some international students do not have sufficient history for the public database authentication, so they might need to provide two forms of government-issued ID.
  8. You will need to provide a reflective surface such as a mirror or CD so that the proctor can see the edges of your laptop.
  9. If you run into any problems you should contact the ProctorU Help Desk (see below).   Faculty and UDIT cannot help students with ProctorU technical questions.

Q:  I scheduled my proctoring session to start at 9 AM.  Does that mean my test will start at 9 AM?
A:  No it does not.  Before you can start your test the proctor has to 1) authenticate your identity by asking you questions only you would know (these questions come from publicly available databases and are not stored by ProctorU, see www.aboutthedata.com for more information) and 2) secure the testing environment.  This process will take about 10 minutes.  Please plan accordingly.

Q:  Am I allowed to call my professor during an exam proctored by ProctorU?
A:  ProctorU does not allow phone calls to anyone because they can't verify the identity of the caller on the other end of the line.

Q:  Will I have the same proctor during the whole exam?
A:  Not necessarily.  Proctors sometimes end their shifts or go on break during an exam.  When this happens, you'll be notified in the chat box.  You can continue your test even when there's a proctor change.

Q:  Can I take a practice exam with ProctorU?
A:  No, students cannot take a practice exam.  However, you are strongly encouraged to connect with a live proctor for free (link) and speak with live representatives who can make sure you are ready to take the exam at the designated time.  Do this well in advance of the actual exam!

Q:  What if I’m entitled to extra time on exams due to a disability?
A:  Students who need extra time for testing should self-identify (as they normally do in a face-to-face classroom) with the proper documentation from OLR to the faculty member teaching the course. 

Q:  Who can I turn to for help?
A:  Contact the ProctorU help desk at 1-855-772-8678 or by email through their contact form.