How to Stop a Heist...in Online Learning

The silver screen is full of crafty characters who will stop at nothing when it comes to getting what they want-without being detected, of course.

Tom Cruise rappelled down an air vent to break into C.I.A. headquarters and steal secret information in Mission Impossible. In Ocean’s 12, a world-class thief known as the “Night Fox” mastered the Brazilian martial art known as “capoeira” in order to literally dance around a high-tech laser surveillance system.

Believe it or not, stories like these aren’t that farfetched in the world of online proctoring. While they may lack a blockbuster budget, students across the globe often give Hollywood writers a run for their money when it comes to craftiness in cheating. Production designers could learn from one student who pasted his actual exam questions onto his wall as if they were part of the wallpaper, while stage actors may take a page from the many students who have taken to writing exam answers on their arms, legs and other clandestine areas of their body.

With more than six million college students now taking at least one online course, it is more important than ever to ensure quality and integrity in online classes. That means institutions need a full suite of security features just to verify and ensure a student’s identity.

Here are three items every institution should have on their checklist…before their online learning program resembles a real-life heist movie.

Custom-built Platforms

Every college, university, or other online learning provider has a different approach to online learning. From universities that offer complete programs and degree pathways online, to colleges which focuses on specific courses and certifications, each institution has a specific audience - so each requires a customized approach to proctoring and verification designed around the target student population.

Examity® is the only proctoring and authentication solution that offers, live, recorded and fully automated proctoring, all from a single platform. Examity® enables colleges to meet the specific needs of students by providing a full suite of proctoring options. Examity® doesn’t merely offer real-time, 24-hour proctoring and verification services. Examity® also makes it possible for schools to support a fast-growing population of nontraditional learners, many of whom balance work or other commitments with their studies. In other words, we make time for students who need to be able to take assessments on their own time.

Mobile Solutions

Nine out of ten undergraduates own a smartphone and the majority of online students complete some coursework on a mobile device. The near-ubiquity of mobile computing among college students can help streamline the proctoring and verification process. Rather than logging onto a desktop, students can use features like fingerprint scan and facial recognition to verify their identity directly from their personal smartphones.

For a growing number of students, mobile technology is the most accessible way to engage in online coursework. Rather than simply providing a host of advanced security tools, mobile proctoring also gives universities a new way to meet their students… wherever those students may be.

Data-driven Insights

Analytical approaches to online test security are still in the early stages. Everything from the very size of the school to the way a program administers exams can determine just how at risk universities are to online “heists.” Institutions need data in order to measure themselves against peers and identify common pain points in their respective approaches to proctoring.

To address this challenge, Examity® is proud to announce the launch of a new analytics platform called examiDATA®.

examiDATA® draws upon data from hundreds of thousands of test-taking students around the country to provide actionable insights on exam performance and cheating patterns. For instance, during an initial pilot with 325,000 students Examity® discovered that violations rose and fell with the seasons.

Violations decreased from 6.62% in the fall to 5.49% in the spring, only to increase to 6.65% the following summer. These kinds of Snapshots offer a glimpse of the macro trends in online testing security. The information also provides institutions with invaluable information to help refine proctoring practices over time to reduce violations and create more secure assessments.

Online learning also presents new challenges to institutions hoping to provide a secure assessment experience. Thanks to Examity®’s partnership with Canvas, students will have more streamlined access to authentication services. This makes it easier than ever for the majority of students who don’t cheat to prove that they are who they say they are.

And as for the cheaters, Examity® makes it easier to spot them than ever before. How’s that for a Hollywood ending?

Keep Learning,

Michael London
CEO, Examity®