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IU offers a new exam-taking option for distance learners

In spring 2018, a new IU service will allow students to take their exams online at any time.

Examity is an online proctoring service that allows students to take exams under the same conditions as a classroom but without constraints on when and where it is taken. 

Matthew Gunkel, director of teaching and learning technologies, said the service will give more flexibility to students and instructors in testing while still upholding academic integrity.

“Examity is really just working to provide a secure online-testing environment,” Gunkel said. 

The service will provide five different levels of proctoring that range from students' verifying their identity to proctors' live-monitoring the student’s desktop and surroundings through a webcam. The levels, which the professor chooses based on what they prefer for a test, are as follows: 

  • Auto-Authentication: students take a photo of their ID and face, answer security questions and provide a signature
  • Live-Authentication: students answer security questions and verify their ID, while the proctor uses facial comparisons via their webcam and surveils students' typing rhythm
  • Auto-Proctoring: the program captures changes in the sound and motion of the test-takers 
  • Record and Review Proctoring: the test is recorded from start to finish and watched later by a proctor
  • Live Proctoring: the proctor watches the test-takers’ surroundings and desk while they are taking the test

At all levels, a proctor from Examity headquarters, which is open 24/7, follows the students' progress to ensure academic integrity, Gunkel said. There are Examity support services standing by to help with any issues, and he said retakes will be possibile if the system were to crash.

The services will be free for IU’s Distance Education Courses, which are courses taken completely online without visiting a specific campus. 

For students enrolled in a live classroom, the test will cost up to $11.50 for the first hour and an additional fee for every hour after for the Auto-Proctoring, Record and Review Proctoring and Live Proctoring levels. The exam must be taken on a desktop or laptop computer.

Gunkel said Examity will be connected to Canvas, and instructors will be able to choose to connect their tests to the proctoring service in Canvas. 

The service will be mostly used for online learning, but it will be an option for live classrooms, Gunkel said. He said the program would be useful in live classrooms for special cases such as student athletes or students who experience a death in their family.  

“Instructors would be able to make more accommodations for students,” Gunkel said. He said it is unknown right now which faculty will choose to use it.

He said a couple of years ago administrators behind online learning faced the question: What is the best way to prepare online-classroom students for the certificates or professional tests they are working toward, while also replicating the IU experience from the live classroom?

“We wanted a solution that didn’t add any additional burden,” Gunkel said. 

Gunkel said the main purpose is to give the option of remote testing while keeping live-classroom conditions, which will give the same education to all students, regardless of classroom type. 

“It’s really just designed as a message for academic integrity,” Gunkel said.

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