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Virtual Proctoring

The Keep Teaching Taskforce (the “KTT”) has prepared the following guidance for faculty members and instructors regarding the invigilation of examinations and other forms of assessment during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This guidance has been prepared by the Committee in consultation with the Office of the General Counsel, the Privacy Office, the Academic Integrity Office, and Computing and Communications Services, the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, the Office of the Registrar, and Academic Accommodations Support.

When navigating issues surrounding the invigilation of evaluations for the Winter 2021 term and onward, faculty members and instructors should be mindful of the considerations outlined below.

Redesigning traditional assessments 

Ryerson strongly recommends that instructors redesign traditional high stakes assessments, like midterm and final exams, for remote teaching whenever possible (e.g. lower their weight in the grading scheme, convert them to open book or google doctake home exams,, external link use PDF filealternative assessments, etc).

Two tools that are appropriate for virtual proctoring

If after careful consideration the circumstances still require a proctored examination, Ryerson has made available two virtual proctoring tools:

  1. Respondus LockDown Browser + Respondus Monitor; and 
  2. Proctortrack, Level 3

These are the only tools that should be used for virtual proctoring. 

Can Zoom be used for virtual proctoring?

Zoom is not recommended for virtual proctoring.

While virtual proctoring tools can act as a deterrent to academic misconduct, the tools come with some drawbacks that should be considered before adopting them.

Virtual proctoring platforms use a combination of software and a student’s webcam to monitor a student as they complete an assessment. These platforms can also involve browser lockdown software that prevents a student from opening additional applications and windows while they are taking an exam. Virtual proctoring software can be either automated or live. With automated proctoring, software algorithms monitor the student for suspicious behaviours and flag those for the professor to review. Live virtual proctoring involves a proctor observing the student through their webcam as they complete their exam. Ultimately, the goal of virtual proctoring is to ensure that the student who is taking the test or exam is who they claim to be, and are not engaging in academic misconduct (Eckenrode, Ricci, & Klingen, 2016).

The Virtual Proctoring working group was formed in early June of 2020 out of an interest and need for faculties to have input into the identification of a virtual proctoring tool for their assessments as the University shifted to an online mode for the Spring/Summer and Fall semesters. The members of this group represented all of the faculties at Ryerson as well as Ryerson’s Test Centre, The Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, and CCS.

The group’s mandate was defined as follows:

  • To identify functional requirements for any virtual proctoring tool 
  • To outline assessment scenarios under which virtual proctoring tools are considered to be able to address academic integrity standards for exam and testing conditions
  • To make recommendations for assessment methods that ensure equitable access for students, accommodate student disability, and create conditions that promote academic integrity
  • Adhere to Ryerson standards for accessibility, and software privacy and securit

The group helped produce the virtual proctoring considerations (see section below) document instructors should review before choosing to incorporate virtual proctoring in their courses, as well as an overview of each available tool. This group’s input was also valuable feeding into the Keep Teaching Taskforce (KTT) in order to produce this google docAssessment and Virtual Proctoring statement, external link distributed by the Interim Provost and Vice-President, Academic.

The group made the recommendation for two virtual proctoring tools that are available at Ryerson, Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor and Proctortrack. However, the group also stated that it should be clearly noted that Virtual proctoring tools do not fully replace the integrity of invigilated in-person examinations.