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Our Bodies Encoded: Algorithmic Test Proctoring in Higher Education
While in-person test proctoring has been used to combat test-based cheating, this can be difficult to translate to online courses. Ed-tech companies have sought to address this concern by offering to watch students take online tests, in real time, through their webcams.
Some of the more prominent companies offering these services include Proctorio, Respondus, ProctorU, HonorLock, Kryterion Global Testing Solutions, and Examity.
Algorithmic test proctoring’s settings have discriminatory consequences across multiple identities and serious privacy implications.
While racist technology calibrated for white skin isn’t new (everything from photography to soap dispensers do this), we see it deployed through face detection and facial recognition used by algorithmic proctoring systems.
While some test proctoring companies develop their own facial recognition software, most purchase software developed by other companies, but these technologies generally function similarly and have shown a consistent inability to identify people with darker skin or even tell the difference between Chinese people. Facial recognition literally encodes the invisibility of Black people and the racist stereotype that all Asian people look the same.
As Os Keyes has demonstrated, facial recognition has a terrible history with gender. This means that a software asking students to verify their identity is compromising for students who identify as trans, non-binary, or express their gender in ways counter to cis/heteronormativity.
These features and settings create a system of asymmetric surveillance and lack of accountability, things which have always created a risk for abuse and sexual harassment. Technologies like these have a long history of being abused, largely by heterosexual men at the expense of women’s bodies, privacy, and dignity.
Their promotional messaging functions similarly to dog whistle politics which is commonly used in anti-immigration rhetoric. It’s also not a coincidence that these technologies are being used to exclude people not wanted by an institution; biometrics and facial recognition have been connected to anti-immigration policies, supported by both Republican and Democratic administrations, going back to the 1990’s.
Borrowing from Henry A. Giroux, Kevin Seeber describes the pedagogy of punishment and some of its consequences in regards to higher education’s approach to plagiarism in his book chapter “The Failed Pedagogy of Punishment: Moving Discussions of Plagiarism beyond Detection and Discipline.”
my note: I am repeating this for years
Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel’s ongoing critique of Turnitin, a plagiarism detection software, outlines exactly how this logic operates in ed-tech and higher education: 1) don’t trust students, 2) surveil them, 3) ignore the complexity of writing and citation, and 4) monetize the data.
Cheating is not a technological problem, but a social and pedagogical problem.
Our habit of believing that technology will solve pedagogical problems is endemic to narratives produced by the ed-tech community and, as Audrey Watters writes, is tied to the Silicon Valley culture that often funds it. Scholars have been dismantling the narrative of technological solutionism and neutrality for some time now. In her book “Algorithms of Oppression,” Safiya Umoja Noble demonstrates how the algorithms that are responsible for Google Search amplify and “reinforce oppressive social relationships and enact new modes of racial profiling.”
Anna Lauren Hoffmann, who coined the term “data violence” to describe the impact harmful technological systems have on people and how these systems retain the appearance of objectivity despite the disproportionate harm they inflict on marginalized communities.
This system of measuring bodies and behaviors, associating certain bodies and behaviors with desirability and others with inferiority, engages in what Lennard J. Davis calls the Eugenic Gaze.
Higher education is deeply complicit in the eugenics movement. Nazism borrowed many of its ideas about racial purity from the American school of eugenics, and universities were instrumental in supporting eugenics research by publishing copious literature on it, establishing endowed professorships, institutes, and scholarly societies that spearheaded eugenic research and propaganda.
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when the option between taking a course online or in-person is provided, studies show students are more likely to stay in college.
Since the early days of online instruction, the response of many new instructors has been to figure out how to transfer elements of their face-to-face class into the online format. In response, education technology companies have been quick to create products that attempt to replicate in-person teaching. Some examples include learning management systems, lecture capture tools, and early online meeting systems.
online proctoring systems, such as ProctorU or Proctorio, replicate a practice that isn’t effective in-person. Exams are only good for a few things: managing faculty workload and assessing low level skill and content knowledge. What they aren’t good at is demonstrating student learning or mastery of a topic. As authors Rena Palloff and Keith Pratt discuss in their book “Assessing the Online Learner: Resources and Strategies for Faculty,” online exams typically measure skills that require memorization of facts, whereas learning objectives are often written around one’s ability to create, evaluate and analyze course material.
Authentic assessments, rather than multiple choice or other online exams, is one alternative that could be explored. For example, in a chemistry course, students could make a video themselves doing a set problems and explain the process. This would allow instructors to better understand students’ thinking and identify areas that they are struggling in. Another example could be in a psychology course, where students could curate and evaluate a set of resources on a given topic to demonstrate their ability to find, and critically analyze online information. (see Bryan Alexander‘s take on video assignments here: https://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=bryan+alexander+video+assignments
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According to the latest report from Babson Survey Research Group, nearly 6.5 million American undergraduates now take at least one course online
1. Listen to students and faculty. Every college, university, or online-learning provider has a different approach to online learning. At Indiana University, where more than 30 percent of students take at least one online course, the online education team has launched Next.IU, an innovative pilot program to solicit feedback from the campus community before making any major edtech decision. By soliciting direct feedback from students and faculty, institutions can avoid technical difficulties and secure support before rolling out the technology campus-wide.
2. Go mobile. Nine in 10 undergraduates own a smartphone, and the majority of online students complete some coursework on a mobile device. Tapping into the near-ubiquity of mobile computing on campus can help streamline the proctoring and verification process. Rather than having to log onto a desktop, students can use features like fingerprint scan and facial recognition that are already integrated into most smartphones to verify their identity directly from their mobile device.
For a growing number of students, mobile technology is the most accessible way to engage in online coursework, so mobile verification provides not only a set of advanced security tools, but also a way for universities to meet students where they are.
3. Learn from the data. Analytical approaches to online test security are still in the early stages. Schools may be more susceptible to online “heists” if they are of a certain size or administer exams in a certain way, but institutions need data to benchmark against their peers and identify pain points in their approach to proctoring.
In an initial pilot with 325,000 students, for instance, we found that cheating rose and fell with the seasons—falling from 6.62 percent to 5.49 percent from fall to spring, but rising to a new high of 6.65 percent during the summer.
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I great exchange on ideas regarding digital proctoring in the Blended and Online Learning listserv:
Coordinator of Digital Instruction – Physics & Astronomy
Office = PHYS 176
525 Northwestern Avenue
West Lafayette, IN 47907
Scott Robison, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Digital Learning and Design
Portland State University
Portland, OR 97201
At University of Wisconsin – Superior – we have stopped offering proctoring for students. Faculty, however, have come up with a way for online testing. They ask student to use Kaltura tto record their face and part of the test and then post the video in the dropbox.
Rebecca Graetz, EdD
Instructional Program Manager II
UW – Superior
ProctorU, an online proctoring service, with online courses that offered online exams and BioSig ID for courses that did not require exams.
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Nobody’s Watching: Proctoring in Online Learning
There is no single best way to handle proctoring for digital courses, as this community college system pilot discovered.
By Dian Schaffhauser 07/26/17
The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 lays out the rule: An institution offering “distance education” needs to have processes in place for verifying student identity to ensure that the student who registers for a class is the “same student who participates in and completes the program and receives the academic credit.”
OLC (Online Learning Consortium) Innovate conference and shared the solution: a combination of the use of an automated proctoring application and the creation of a network of colleges across the state that would provide no-cost proctoring on their campuses for students attending any of the member schools.
put together an online proctoring working group with “lots of faculty representation,” said Hadsell, which “paid off in the long run.” Other participants included people from testing centers and learning centers. Proctorio, the proctoring solution eventually recommended by the working group, is a web service that can be deployed through Canvas and installed by students with one click
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Clemson University’s Centralized Proctoring Story
e-Campus news offers a proctoring model: http://www.ecampusnews.com/whitepapers/5-step-guide-to-how-clemson-university-online-is-centralizing-online-proctoring/ conveniently presented in a 5-step outline, webinar and “case study” paper.
According to them, you just “Follow their story and learn how the team at Clemson Online implemented RPNow, and how they’re planning to centralize remote proctoring to increase student convenience, faculty efficiency and reduce the costs of exam administration.”
It is, of course, sponsored by the company, who will be paid for the proctoring
Here are my issues with the proposal:
- step 5 of the five-step outline: “Take control of the payment model. Institutional payment (as opposed to student pay) creates a better experience for the student and cost savings for all.”
so, if the institution pays, then student don’t pay? I find this and illusion, since the institution pays by using students’ tuition. which constantly grows. so, the statement is rather deceptive.
- As with the huge controversy around Turnitin (e.g., this 2009 article, and this 2012 article), “mechanizing” the very humane process evaluation is outright wrong. The attempt to compensate the lack of sufficient number of faculty by “outsourcing” to machines is en vogue with the nationwide strive of higher ed administration to create an “assembly line” type of education, which makes profit, but it is dubious if it teaches [well].
- Pedagogically (as per numerous discussions in the Chronicle of Higher Education and similar sources), if the teaching materials and exams are structured in an engaging way, students cheat much less. The “case study” paper claims reduction of cheating, but it is reduction based on fear to be caught, not based on genuine interest in learning.
How to Secure Your Online Testing
November 4th, 2015 | 02:00 PM EDT | 11:00 AM PDT
Please click the link below to attend.
webinar proctoring certificate of attendance
it is a sale pitch for http://www.softwaresecure.com/product/remote-proctor-now/
used with BB, Sakai, Moodle as LMS
feedback on proctoring
Is software installed on the student side to monitor all of their activities on the computer during the exam?
RPNow record’s the student’s desktop throughout the exam and reviewed by our proctors. There is also a lock-down capability to prevent access to 100s of applications that could be used to cheat.
difference between surveillance and monitoring
Posted by Andy Freed |April 2019 /
Announcing Proctor-ring, a new biometric tool in the war on cheating.
Starting today, Online Learning has partnered with the Academic Integrity Task Force and that import shop in the strip mall on Hwy 99 to provide a new, low cost option for improving the integrity of your exams. The Proctor-ring uses mood ring technology to identify common changes in human emotion that have been calibrated to identify academic dishonesty. While many vendors will sell you very expensive tools to combat cheating, the Proctor-ring is cost effective and scales well across all disciplines.
What: Overview of new D2L Brightspace features
When: Monday, April 9 at 10:00 AM
Please join us to learn about the new features that will be available in D2L Brightspace as of June 2, 2018. The session will be recorded.
D2L cloud is the big news. stcloudstate.learn.minnstate.edu will be the link to log into the cloud.
Here are the latest updates on Minnesota State’s move to D2L Brightspace cloud services.
Review a recording (44:07) or slides from the session. A comprehensive list of features is also available for faculty. This document will be updated again after April 10 and May 7 releases are available at our QA cloud sites.
To explore these new features on your own, go to your “quality assurance” (QA) test site in D2L’s cloud available athttps://YourCampusQA.brightspace.com. https://stcloudstate.brightspace.com
Quizzes, HTML editor and intelligent agents have videos featuring new stuff.
- HTML Editor – Edit images in the editor. See video (2:30)
- Intelligent Agents – See video (4:36)
- Quiz/Question Library – The ability to search the text of quiz questions. See video (7:00)
- Quizzes – Add a quiz due date, in addition to a start and end date.
- Quiz Taking – Students start and submit a quiz with fewer clicks.
- Manage Dates Tool – ‘Due Dates’ are now included.
- Additional features will be rolled out to the QA cloud on April 10 (version 10.8.0) and May 7 (version 10.8.1)
- ePortfolio -“A digital showcase for the learning journey. It helps you document the experience, reflect on it, and share ideas and achievements as they happen.” D2L has provided an overview video and a video to help you navigate this new tool for Minnesota State campuses. Look for an invitation to an overview session on April 18.
IP restriction, which is supposed to alleviate proctoring issues. But this will work only for oncampus quizzes. not for online classes.
The Quiz library being moved to the cloud. Does this mean that the Quiz Library can be shared across institutions? E.g. if faculty from one university is teaching biology and has developed a quiz library content, it can be shared with the content of a faculty from another university? All bells and whistles so far are only secondary to the fact that content generation remains most important for faculty and if faculty can share their test banks, I see this as the most advantageous of moving to a cloud.
eportfolio – new D2L tool. April 18 overview scheduled. so, isn’t in collision with TK20? I, personally, think that LInkedIn is the way to go. I will not mention eFolio MN, since it is a losing bet.
So, how we reconcile the existence of several platforms for eportofolio?
SSO. single sign on. Adobe Connect, Mediaspace and service desk are already on SSO. signing in one application allows to move to D2L without having to sign on again.
on that site, there are resources for faculty: https://mnscu.sharepoint.com/sites/IMS/SitePages/Faculty%20Resources.aspx
Advancing Online Education in Minnesota State
Advancing Online Education – Full Report-1s94jfi
Defining Online Education
The term “online education” has been used as a blanket phrase for a number of fundamentally different educational models. Phrases like distance education, e-Learning, massively open online courses (MOOCs), hybrid/blended learning, immersive learning, personalized and/or adaptive learning, master courses, computer based instruction/tutorials, digital literacy and even competency based learning have all colored the definitions the public uses to define “online education.”
online education” as having the following characteristics:
- Students who enroll in online courses or programs may reside near or far from the campus(es) providing the course(s) or program.
- A student’s course load may include offering where attendance is required in person or where an instructor/students are not required to be in the same geographic location.
- Students may enroll in one or more individual online course offerings provided by one or more institutions to that may or may not satisfy degree/program requirements.
- Student may pursue a certificate, program, or degree where a substantial number of courses, perhaps all, are taken without being in the same geographic location as others.
Organizational Effectiveness Research Group (OERG),
As the workgroup considered strategies that could advance online education, they were asked to use the primary and secondary sources listed above to support the fifteen (15) strategies that were developed
define a goal as a broad aspirational outcome that we strive to attain. Four goal areas guide this document. These goal areas include access, quality, affordability and collaboration. Below is a description of each goal area and the assumptions made for Minnesota State.
Over twenty percent of existing Minnesota State students enroll in online courses as a way to satisfy course requirements. For some students, online education is a convenient option; for others, online is the only option available
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation guidelines review the standards and processes institutions have in place to ensure quality in all of educational offerings, including online.
There are a number of ways in which institutions have demonstrated quality in individual courses and programs including the evaluation of course design, evaluation of instruction and assessment of student
a differential tuition rate to courses that are offered online. If we intend to have online education continue to be an affordable solution for students, Minnesota State and its institutions must be good stewards of these funds and ensure these funds support online education.
Online education requires different or additional services that need to be funded
transparency is important in tuition setting
Distance Minnesota is comprised of four institutions Alexandria Technical & Community College, Bemidji State University, Northland Community & Technical College, and Northwest Technical College) which collaborate to offer student support services, outreach, e-advising, faculty support, and administrative assistance for online education offerings.
strategies are defined as the overall plan used to identify how we can achieve each goal area.
Strategy 1: Ensure all student have online access to high quality support services
students enrolled in online education experiences should have access to “three areas of support including academic (such as tutoring, advising, and library); administrative (such as financial aid, and disability support); and technical (such as hardware reliability and uptime, and help desk).”
As a system, students have access to a handful of statewide services, include tutoring services through Smarthinking and test proctoring sites.
Strategy 2: Establish and maintain measures to assess and support student readiness for online education
A persistent issue for campuses has been to ensure that students who enroll in online course are aware of the expectations required to participate actively in an online course.
In addition to adhering to course expectations, students must have the technical competencies needed to perform the tasks required for online courses
Strategy 3: Ensure students have access to online and blended learning experiences in course and program offerings.
Strategy 4: These experiences should support and recognize diverse learning needs by applying a universal design for learning framework.
The OERG report included several references to efforts made by campuses related to the providing support and resources for universal design for learning, the workgroup did not offer any action steps.
Strategy 5: Expand access to professional development resources and services for faculty members
As online course are developed and while faculty members teach online courses, it is critical that faculty members have on-demand access to resources like technical support and course assistance.
5A. Statewide Faculty Support Services – Minnesota State provide its institutions and their faculty members with access to a centralized support center during extended hours with staff that can assist faculty members synchronously via phone, chat, text/SMS, or web conference
5C. Instructional Design and Technology Services – Establish a unit that will provide course design and instructional technology services to selected programs and courses from Minnesota State institutions.
Strategy 1: Establish and maintain a statewide approach for professional development for online education.
1B. Faculty Mentoring – Provide and sustain faculty mentoring programs that promote effective online pedagogy.
1C. Professional development for support staff – including instructional designers, D2L Brightspace site administrators and campus trainers, etc.)
more on online education in this IMS blog