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What students need to know about virtual proctoring

Student privacy and accessibility concerns

In selecting any systems to be used by the Ryerson community and integrated with other Ryerson IT systems, Ryerson conducts a privacy impact assessment (or privacy risk assessment), IT security assessment, and accessibility assessment. The virtual proctoring systems available at Ryerson have gone through these assessments. Some of the main goals of these assessments are to protect students' privacy rights, to ensure Ryerson students' data are protected and secured (e.g. the transmission and storing of the data is done using industry standard encryption in accordance to Ryerson’s IT security standards), and to provide inclusive systems for everyone and ensure that people with various disabilities, including those who use assistive technology, can access information and systems independently without barriers.

Frequently asked questions from students

Students are encouraged to try out Respondus Lockdown Browser + Monitor a week before their exam to make sure that they are able to log in effectively. The sample quiz can be found at ryerson.ca/registrar/students/exams. Look for “Take a Practice D2L Quiz”

  • If you have issues logging in to D2L, contact the CCS Helpdesk.
  • If you have any issues during the test or exam (for example, accessing or submitting the exam), contact your professor.
  • Chang School courses are supported by ce@ryerson.ca.

Ryerson has strongly recommended that instructors redesign traditional high stakes assessments, like midterm and final exams, for remote teaching whenever possible.

If after careful consideration the circumstances still require a proctored examination, Ryerson has given instructors the discretion to decide whether to utilize virtual proctoring tools. 

In selecting any systems to be used by the Ryerson community and integrated with other Ryerson IT systems, such as D2L Brightspace, Ryerson conducts a privacy impact assessment (or privacy risk assessment), IT security assessment, and accessibility assessment. The virtual proctoring systems available at Ryerson have gone through these assessments.

Some of the main goals of these assessments are to protect students' privacy rights, to ensure Ryerson students' data are protected and secured (e.g. the transmission and storing of the data is done using industry standard encryption in accordance to Ryerson’s IT security standards), and to provide inclusive systems for everyone and ensure that people with various disabilities, including those who use assistive technology, can access information and systems independently without barriers.

In October, ProctorTrack reported a security breach. No personally identifiable information was accessed, no data was altered, no credit card account numbers were stolen, and no log-in credentials were compromised. Proctortrack did take their software offline for a period of time while the breach was investigated and mitigation completed. 

More information about the breach, actions taken and security can be found on the ProctorTrack website., external link They also have an FAQ page which includes a section on Data Privacy and Security., external link

Please see the question above regarding Ryerson’s privacy and security review of Respondus Monitor and ProctorTrack.

Proctoring software will need access to your webcam, microphone, a list of your active applications and processes running on your computer at the time, connected device list, desktop screen, process logs, system level logs to do a system check of any technology that could facilitate test policy violations. In some software, it will also require access to the hard drive disk space to temporarily store the recording until it is uploaded to their servers.

If the system is integrated with D2L Brightspace, only the user’s name and Ryerson email address is shared with the proctoring system for access and system authorization. This technology prevents instructors and students from creating a new account in the proctoring system

During the identity verification process, photos of the student’s face and identification cards taken from the webcam will be captured and stored

During the proctoring session, the system captures and records student’s audiovisual activities from the webcam and microphone 

With Proctortrack, every few seconds the system also screen captures what's on the student's desktop, i.e. whatever is visible on the student's screen.

With an automated virtual proctoring system, the monitoring is done through artificial intelligence, not a person. Therefore there will be no human being monitoring a student while taking an exam.

After the exam, only the instructor (or TA) will be able to view the recordings. The recordings can be viewed in the virtual proctoring system instructor dashboard which can only be accessed via the D2L Brightspace course where the instructor is teaching.

Respondus employees do not review/analyze the recordings, except as may be required to: resolve technical problems, improve system performance, modify Respondus Monitor, investigate violation of the terms of use, or as may be directed by Ryerson. Random samples of video and/or audio recordings may be shared with third parties under contract with Respondus for research purposes, but no personally identifiable information (e.g. name, institution, student IDs) for students is provided to third party researchers. (See Respondus privacy information for more details., external link) With Proctortrack, Ryerson has Proctortrack Level 3 as provided by eCampusOntario, where Proctortrack staff reviews the recordings and removes any potential false positive flags. (See Proctortrack Privacy Policy for details of how Proctortrack treats the data., external link)

Ryerson has directed the vendors of these virtual proctoring tools to retain student data and recordings for two years, aligning with Ryerson D2L Brightspace course shell lifecycle. 

After this retention period, these recordings and data will be destroyed in accordance with Ryerson University’s Information Protection and Access Policy and Ryerson Record Management Policy.

Virtual proctoring acts as a deterrent to academic misconduct by preventing students from accessing unapproved web resources and applications and is a form of invigilation. Virtual proctoring takes the place of a live invigilator you would typically have for an in person exam. Invigilation is a common practice to help ensure academic integrity is part of the formal examination process.

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. 

Despite the measures that virtual proctoring platforms use to ensure the integrity of a test or exam, these tools cannot prevent all types of academic misconduct.

Pursuant to Section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”), the information collected on the virtual proctoring systems is collected under the authority of the Ryerson University Act and is needed to complete an assessment in the course and other related or consistent purposes.

If there are any questions about the collection, use and disclosure of student information by Ryerson University, please contact the Privacy Officer at fippa@ryerson.ca.

Students are encouraged to contact their instructor, or reach out to their department chair.

Step-by-step instructions

If you will be writing an exam in D2L Brightspace, your instructor may be using Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor or Proctortrack, to ensure a fair and secure environment for all students who are writing the exam. This is the online equivalent of a proctored exam room.

ProctorTrack and LockDown Browser can be removed from your computer the same way other programs are uninstalled.

Windows

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type Control Panel and select it from the results.
  2. Select Programs > Programs and Features.
  3. Right-click on the program you want to remove (ProctorTrack or LockDown Browser), and select Uninstall or Uninstall/Change. Then follow the directions on the screen.

Mac 

  1. Open Finder, then go to your Applications folder in the sidebar.
  2. Select the app and choose File > Move to Trash.
  3. If you're asked for a user name and password, enter the name and password of an administrator account on your Mac.
  4. To delete the app, choose Finder > Empty Trash.

Students using assistive technology

If you are a student registered with Academic Accommodation Support (AAS): please inform your instructor with your accommodation needs or any assistive technology that you use (including text-to-speech, dictation, or literacy software). 

Respondus and Proctortrack allows common assistive technology like JAWS or VoiceOver by default without any additional steps. However, certain text-to-speech or literacy software may require additional configurations or approval by the instructor. It’s important you inform your instructor in advance.