clown with circle and slash in red

Is it possible to ban remote proctoring?

This post is co-authored by and jointly published with Autumm Caines.

The harms of remote proctoring have been so extensively documented that some educational institutions have now instituted formal recommendations or policies against using remote proctoring. 

But, is it possible to ban remote proctoring on campus? We have found that even when these decisions are made, the goal of protecting students from the harms of remote proctoring is not completely achievable. This is because directly purchasing a proctoring service from the provider is only one way to make use of proctoring software. Many other educational technology companies offer proctoring services, often for “free” or passing the cost on to the student. 

While our own campus has a formal recommendation from the Provost Office against remote proctoring, and no contract with a remote proctoring company, we noted that proctoring was available on our campus for free through McGraw Hill Connect’s partnership with Proctorio. Our experience was that Proctorio became available without the consent or even the knowledge of the instructional technology staff on our campus and we only discovered its availability after learning about the MH-Proctorio partnership through outside professional networks.  

Because of these vendor to vendor relationships, students and faculty can easily be exposed to these products without any oversight from educational technology, data privacy, or accessibility professionals. Because many of these proctoring options operate with a “freemium” model, students are potentially required to pay fees in order to complete their assessments. 

It is useful to know which educational technology companies have agreements with proctoring companies and integrate their services into their products. After many months of communication we were able to get McGraw Hill to remove the proctoring functions for our campus. However, even those with proctoring in place at their institutions should be aware of these kinds of offerings as the training materials are not always consistent between the provider and the reseller with respect to the product’s functionality. For instance, we found examples in which the company purchasing and reselling the proctoring options was presenting the technology as being able to “detect cheating” while most proctoring companies are very clear that the technology alone cannot determine cheating and that human verification is required to be certain.

The following are some examples of educational technology companies and products that currently offer some form of remote proctoring for free or by charging a fee to students. There are likely to be many more examples, but this list represents ed tech products with which we are familiar in our work. These relationships are also liable to change at any moment, for example a company initiating a new proctoring partnership or ending one. Are you aware of vendor to vendor relationships that bring proctoring into your campus or school?

Primary ProductProctoring ProviderNature of partnershipReferences
McGraw Hill ConnectProctorioFree settings available on all assignments, “Proctorio Plus” settings available for 15$ per course, paid by studenthttps://www.mheducation.com/highered/connect/proctorio.html
https://www.mheducation.com/highered/connect/proctorio/compare.html
TopHatProctorioAnnounced that Proctorio protected exams would be available for free on April 2, 2020 – current status of partnership unclearhttps://tophat.com/press-releases/top-hat-partners-with-proctorio/https://success.tophat.com/s/article/Teaching-Online-Remotely-Proctored-Tests
McGraw Hill ALEKSRespondus LockDown/Monitor“Secure testing with LockDown Browser, always free. Deter cheating with Respondus Monitor via institutional agreement or $10 per student for the entire term.:https://www.mheducation.com/highered/support/aleks/how-to-move-your-course-online.html
https://web.respondus.com/aleks/
Derivita ProctorioLockdown settings available at no extra cost, unclear how payment for additional features workshttps://www.derivita.com/proctoring
https://www.derivita.com/lockdown-settings?_ga=2.54833771.1798584622.1626192772-1122037571.1621811441
GradescopeRespondus LockDownWhile currently in Beta, LockDown browser will be available to courses subscribed to Gradescope Complete, their paid product. Instructor or institution can decide to pay for Gradescope Completehttps://help.gradescope.com/article/gm5cmcz19k-instructor-assignment-online#additional_security_with_lock_down_browser_beta
Pearson MyLabRespondus LockDownIf the university does not have an existing license with Respondus, the instructor can choose for students to be charged $10 per course https://web.respondus.com/pearson-mylab/
Wiley Online HomeworkRespondus LockDownAppears LockDown is free for students, but hard to find current informationhttps://wileyplus.gallery.video/instructors/detail/videos/legacy-wileyplus/video/5827956956001/how-to-use-lockdown-browser-with-wileyplus
Cengage WebsAssignRespondus LockDownLockDown browser available for freehttps://www.webassign.net/manual/instructor_guide/t_i_installing_webassign_lockdown_browser.htm

Cover image by succo from Pixabay