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The Ultimate Guide to Safe and Secure Remote Online Exams

Published: July 30, 2020 In: Education

The onset of COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the educational institutions worldwide into a state of turmoil in the past four months. It has given out a clear message: There is no point in halting and waiting for the storm to pass — one must learn to adapt to the current situation and move on. As a matter of fact, there was a massive shift in the way learning happened — everyone moved online.

Even before the pandemic, the global eLearning market was already seeing an enormous annual global growth. It is expected to reach $336.98 billion by 2026. This goes on to show that this change is not a makeshift solution, but rather a sustainable disruptive innovation that is here to stay.

However, the process of testing the knowledge gained has been uncertain. It is a given that traditional in-person exams are impossible for a while; Institutions have had to look for innovative ways to ensure learning continuity. The seemingly immediate solution is to conduct exams online. Nevertheless, while many of them were already using computer-based exams in one way or another, moving exams remote in all respects has had mixed reactions. 

The biggest concern for institutions has been the possibility of students resorting to malpractices in an online exam environment. Students have evolved with time, and have managed to find different ways to cheat during exams. Some of them are:

Ways to Cheat

Nevertheless, with changing times, technology has also advanced tremendously. This blog tells you how you can securely conduct remote online exams, leveraging the expertise of leading EdTech providers like Talview, who, with their AI-enabled technology solutions, have significantly revolutionized the test-taking experience.

Before we look at the top techniques to conduct a safe and secure remote exam, let us touch upon why remote online exams are the need of the hour.

Online exam

Tomes have been written about why shifting to remote online exams is a smart way to ensure learning continuity in the current scenario. Here are the top five benefits of this move:

Benefits of going remote

You can read more about the benefits of moving to a remote online exam setting here.

Top features to look for in an EdTech tool

Features to look for in EdTech tools

When it comes to educational institutions, exams can be broadly classified into three types:

  1. Low stakes (pop quizzes, review questions, and practice tests)

  2. Mid stakes (midterms and unit tests)

  3. High stakes (entrance/admission tests, final term exams and certifications)

Let us look at the different features to look for while choosing an EdTech tool to conduct a secure online exam that can be taken remotely.

Maintaining a controlled & proctored environment is the key to a safe & secure remote online exam. Remote proctoring is an AI-enabled technology that helps prevent malpractices by candidates during remote online assessments ensuring test integrity. This feature is easily integrable with any learning management system or website that needs to be proctored and imitates the function of an on-site proctor.

It can be broken down into three types:

types of remote proctoring

Live proctoring is when a qualified proctor monitors the candidates’ test on the online platform in real-time, sitting at a remote location. Therefore, it is similar to offline (in-person) proctoring, except for the flexibility of the proctoring location. A proctor can monitor up to 50 candidates at a time, depending on the provider. 

Recorded proctoring, on the other hand, is when the video of the test is recorded for the entire duration and later reviewed by a human proctor post the test completion. Usually, the recordings are played in a fast-forward manner for the proctor to detect any suspicious activities. However, this can be a cumbersome process, and not entirely secure in a remote scenario due to security concerns.

Automated proctoring is an advanced form of proctoring, which almost removes the need for any human intervention at all. The system records the audio-video and screen share feeds and simultaneously monitors them for any suspicious activities using advanced video and audio analytics. 

Talview's automated online remote proctoring includes AI facial recognition, copy/paste blocking, test access restrictions, 360° test environment check, browser freezing with Talview Secure Browser, question paper watermarking, and much more, helping prevent cheating, and ensuring 100% integrity. 

Features such as automated identity validation and two-factor verification can additionally help ensure no malpractice takes place. It allows the test-takers to upload valid identity proofs that can be verified using automation, hence reducing the hassle of manual identity verification. Talview's automated ID validation helps detect impersonation and avoid fraudulence.

Going back to Talview Secure Browser, it is a 100% secure lockdown browser that creates a safe test environment by controlling access to resources like system functions, other websites, and applications. It prevents unauthorized resources being used during an exam.

One of the major apprehensions around implementing a remote proctoring solution has been the concerns raised by test-takers around privacy and intrusion. However, this can easily be handled by the sensitive design of the proctoring implementation. You can learn more about it in this article.

Another issue has been security - mainly, of data leakage. With Talview, your data is in safe hands as it is compliant with GDPR, PDPA, CCPA, AICPA & EEOC. It has an end-to-end encryption policy that ensures all data is 100% safe and secure.

Pssst! If you are wondering if students can cheat in a remotely proctored exam, this blog post will shake you!

Online assessment tools are a great way to test students’ learning. These tools ensure that the process is systematic and scientific, ensuring only the students with the required skills and competencies move forward. 

While this is a no-brainer, it is always advisable to go for an all-encompassing tool. Right from scheduling the exams to generating detailed post-assessment reports of the assessment, it should do it all. Let’s also not forget the benefits of using a tool that has integrated with other tools and LMS to provide an enhanced test-taking experience. That takes it to a whole new level.

Talview recently came up with Talview Exam Plus, an enterprise-grade enhanced exam platform that allows you to choose from over eighteen different question formats! Gone are the days when multiple choice questions and long descriptive questions were the only known formats in a computer-based exam. Its integration with HackerEarth makes conducting customized technical online tests a piece of cake! Read more about how Talview Exam Plus can transform your remote test-taking experience here.

If you are looking to move your admissions process online, you would know how cumbersome it is to schedule interviews manually! That is not the case anymore! With Talview’s recent collaboration with Calendly, interview scheduling will be your new favorite part of the admissions process! 

The compatibility of the EdTech tool with a device is as crucial as the compatibility between you and the vendor. 'One size fits all' does not stand true when integrating a software with a device. Compatibility is essential for the software to run seamlessly. Most EdTech vendors today do not support softwares that run on multiple devices. You need to choose a vendor who can provide a 100% compatible software. 

Talview is the only vendor that provides a 100% support across all devices in the market - iOS, Android, Chromebook - you name it! You can read more about it here.

In all, a remote online exam with Talview will look something like this:

Talview Exam Process

Use Cases

Use Case

Secrets to choosing the right EdTech provider

Vendor Management

While you may have an idea of what service or product you need, choosing from the sea of vendors available in the market can be daunting. Here is a list of things to remember while selecting the right EdTech provider:

Requirements - The first and most important thing to remember is to chalk down the technical assistance you require from the vendor. With so many new technologies mushrooming across the industry, it is crucial to ascertain what exactly is your requirement, so you do not get lost in the technology fishmarket. However, it is also essential to keep an open mind and look for any additional features that the vendor suggests to enhance the test-taking experience. 

One very crucial element to consider here is the scalability of the tools. If you are looking for a long-term commitment, you must go with a vendor whose services are scalable. With thousands of students sitting for exams, scalability is of utmost importance.

Range of services - The next important factor is to check if the vendor can provide a variety of services. Having multiple vendors for different services can prove to be chaotic when it comes to conducting remote online exams. It is always better to have a single vendor who provides multiple services, right from setting up the question banks to delivering a comprehensive report of the students’ performance. 

Talview Exam Plus is an easy-to-use, enterprise-grade enhanced examination platform that helps institutions deliver safe and secure exams faster with multi-question formats, remote proctoring, and comprehensive reports for all your assessment needs. Read more about it here.

Quality and experience - Always remember the reason you are bringing in a third-party vendor. Typically it is more than just needing another set of hands; it is about the fresh set of eyes and the expertise that they will bring to your company. Having an experienced vendor in the field gives you a perk as you do not have to worry about the minute details related to the services. 

While you are at it, make sure the vendor you are looking for is reliable in terms of service delivery. They should be able to provide you with load test reports to ascertain how many users their platform can handle, and precisely what to change to fix bottlenecks and speed up performance.

You can learn more about what clients have to say about Talview here.

Round-the-clock support - To anyone going remote for the first time, even the tiniest inconvenience can be intimidating. Even to someone who has used EdTech tools before, every time might seem like the first time. That is why it is always advisable to opt for a vendor who provides 24*7 support, as it helps in understanding the processes and how certain things are to be handled. 

If you are looking for the safest way to conduct remote online exams, we can help! Talk to our experts today!

 

Tags: Education, Online Exams & Proctoring

Written by: Ankitha A

Ankitha is a Post-Graduate in Journalism & Mass Communication currently working as a Content Marketer at Talview Inc. She also specializes in social media management and event strategizing. When she is not writing, she loves spending her time cooking, traveling, or learning new things. You can follow her by clicking the buttons below.

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