Accelerating the adoption of online proctoring in 3 months: lessons learned and insights

Onboarding 100+ new customers in only a few weeks brings its share of challenges but also a lot of insights. The continuous interactions we’ve had with customers through this Covid19 crisis have fueled our backlog and roadmap for product and technology development at an unprecedented pace.

Dirk Groten, our CTO, shares 3 major lessons learned from this period based on discussions with users.

#1 - The need for online proctoring was there, the covid crisis was (just) a (massive) accelerator

Behind education continuity, fostering the idea of education for all

Where corporate institutions have been leading the way in terms of online proctoring adoption for the past few years, the COVID-19 crisis has strongly accelerated the pace of adoption from public institutions. Whether private or public, all of our customers really share the objective of making education accessible to anyone, anywhere through online and digital solutions. This resonates particularly well with the core mission of Higher Education Institutions.

Meeting a need from candidates despite marginal concerns

In the private sector, it was already clear that there was a growing need for online examinations. Requests we get from Corporate institutions are about scaling up this process to have more people being able to take online certification, especially with COVID-19 restraining onsite tests.

In the public sector, students' requests were less obvious before the crisis, and the demand has been mostly driven by institutions themselves. But despite legitimate concerns on privacy, feedback from students is overall very positive. Most of them have been happy to avoid delays in their cursus and are reporting satisfaction with their online proctoring experience, feeling sufficiently informed and confident taking exams from home.

Privacy concerns top everyone’s mind, always

We have customers from the public & private sector around the world. For all of them ensuring data privacy and meeting compliance requirements was a priority concern. Being a european company, providing a SaaS offering is a great advantage: it enables us to work with our customers based on a clear compliance framework and build their own proctoring processes. We then collaborate closely with each customer to take into account their specific regulatory compliance rules, requirements and cultural differences.

#2 - There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Online proctoring follows a learning curve which requires a true user centric approach

Requirements differ for public and private institutions and evolve over time

While the initial request is overall the same, there are differences in features & priorities that public and private institutions ask for. Integration and automation options for instance are common questions that we get from Corporate certification institutions. There is also an online proctoring learning curve: customers tend to ask for all platform features at the beginning, and then sharpen their requirements over time, learning what functionalities are truly useful for them.

How ProctorExam has deployed a user centric approach

Helping our customers understand this learning curve requires a true user-centric approach. At ProctorExam, we not only provide our customers with depth and breadth in our platform, we also develop a close relationship with our end-users to help them identify which features truly match their needs, and we develop features that deliver tangible value for them.

We do this through a systematic process for collecting feedback and prioritizing features, with: 
  • A support desk for customers to raise issues & features requests.
  • Direct interactions between the product team and customers around these.
  • Constant coordination with sales and services teams who also share customer feedback.
  • Our agile approach: we host weekly meetings to prioritize the backlog and decide on the roadmap, based on the number of requests and value delivered.
Erik op den Kelder, teaching coordinator at NHL Stenden, shares his impression on working with ProctorExam:
“What we like most about ProctorExam is their eagerness to learn and improve the system. They really listen carefully to our suggestions and questions, which are picked up fast and improvements are made quickly and smoothly.”
– Erik op den Kelder, teaching coordinator at NHL Stenden

#3 - New product features to reflect our customers priorities around efficiency and flexibility

The need for flexibility calls for multiple integration options

We witness a great variety of needs in terms of privacy & integration. For instance, some organisations are willing to integrate information from ID checks to their repository, whereas others want to delete them straight away. To accommodate all scenarios, we are making continuous improvements around APIs. This is making it easier for institutions to ensure consistency over the online education experience they offer. For instance, they can have their LMS platform and online proctoring system all branded with their university language.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) unveils new opportunities and efficiency gains

Our teams are working on new AI capabilities to enrich our platform and complement physical proctors currently involved in the online proctoring experience. This functionality will help identify incidents, suspicions of fraud and irregularities. For customers wishing to benefit from this new option, it will provide them with additional decision-making capabilities enabling greater proctoring reliability and efficiency.

Our companion app as driver of innovation

ProctorExam has always believed in integrating mobile technology to provide a more relevant proctoring experience and we’re constantly developing new functionalities in this area. There are a lot of promising features around our application companion. A mobile experience for instance to enable a smoother ID check, that identification from a laptop camera will never match. 

No doubt the past quarter has been challenging for our clients and partners. The sudden need to find digital alternatives to onsite processes has put a significant pressure on learning and teaching organisations but it represents an incredible opportunity to advance practices and contribute to the future of education. We thank all of our customers for fueling us with such valuable inputs. 
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