Using ProctorExam to facilitate distance learning.
Innovative higher education institution uses ProctorExam to give students the possibility to take their exams remotely.
Back in 1997, VIVES already knew that the future of education was to be found online, and began offering online courses to their students with the launch of their Distance Learning programme. However, when the time came to take their exams, students had to travel to campus, on their own expenses and for students who live abroad or far away in the country this is not always practical.
VIVES’ mission is strongly focused on empowering students to take charge of their education, which is why the natural next step to take was to allow students not only to follow their courses, but also take their exams online.
By 2008, VIVES began experimenting with an in-house live proctoring solution, since they had around 60 students who were living abroad. Together with colleagues Koen Pauwels and Hendrik Coucke, Koen Verhulst, who was responsible for the technical setup and provided live support during exams, quickly realized that doing everything internally took a lot of effort and time away from teachers and staff. Most of the problems they encountered were related to the high bandwidth usage that came from using two webcams, and from the fact that it was very time-consuming to always have two people blocked during the entire duration of every exam.
“It was not an easy way to work and we wanted to find something else.” – Koen Verhulst
In 2013, Koen Verhulst and Ibe van Roy received the assignment from Jean Claude Callens, the coordinator of the VIVES Distance Learning to look into alternative ways to facilitate distance exams since, as the numbers grew, their initial solution was not feasible anymore. That’s when they came across ProctorExam, the only proctoring service that offered 360° video recording, something that they viewed as necessary since only having one point of view of the student taking the exam did not provide enough security for their standards. After carrying out some pilots to test the platform, Koen and Ibe made the decision to use ProctorExam’s Record & Review solution, which took a lot of pressure off the staff, since exam sessions were recorded and checked by ProctorExam, leaving the teachers with detailed report of every exam.
The students were initially worried about the technical aspect of taking an exam online for the first time, but after going through the procedure once most of them were eager to take the rest of their exams with ProctorExam. Students also felt safe during the exam since they could always contact Koen or the ProctorExam support team in case they encountered any problems.
“Students are easily convinced. No traveling, traffic jams, parking, no exam room distractions.” -Koen Verhulst
Through word of mouth, this led to students from other faculties hearing about ProctorExam, and putting asking their programme coordinators to give them the option to take their exams from home too. This, combined with Koen and Ibe’s efforts, led to a steady growth in the number of faculties that decided to offer distance exams.
VIVES now offers a total of 29 study programmes through distance learning, 14 of which provide the option to take exams online, and that number is only expected to grow (for more info visit the VIVES distance learning program website).
- The students were required to have 2 webcams, one positioned in front of the student and the other was used to inspect the student’s surroundings.
- Not all the teachers knew the technical details of the whole procedure, so for every exam both the teacher, as well as Koen, needed to be present during the entire duration of the exam. It was up to them and the student to find a time that suited all three of them.