BLOG: If you are now thinking about Remote Proctoring (Remote Invigilation)
by Patrick Coates, Independent Consultant, and member of the eAA Executive Board
As a consultant, I am getting a number of people asking about Remote Proctoring (RP) , or Remote Invigilation as it is known in the UK, as an alternative given the current crisis. The use of RP is a discussion (and industry) that has been going on for a surprisingly long time.
The last time we heard this was going to become mainstream was in the early days of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and all the talk was that remote invigilation was the way forward when students were apparently no longer going to be based on a campus. It didn’t happen, as like with any technology adoption, there often has to be a very compelling reason to drive change. Perhaps this is now.
The initial priority with the concept of remote invigilation, is that it needs to be approved by the ‘assessment owner’, so in most cases this is the Awarding Organisation, Professional Body, or Academic Institution that gives the award that the assessment forms part of. So, if there is the desire as an organisation to move to RP, then there isn’t a technical reason not to do so.
To be honest, technology that enables remote invigilation is complex and there are different versions available. There is the choice between real-time and recorded RP; different capture technologies (to capture both the assessment and the student identity) covering video, audio, ID readers etc. And then there is the consideration that RP must work on any device with a wide range of device types and settings, none of which you will have control over.
This is also the time to review the assessment process itself. Questions such as: Can everyone (does everyone have to) take the test at the same time? Do you have sufficient tests? Do you have an item bank that can rapidly create assessments on demand?
I am sure that for every organisation looking into RP, there is an organisation that has already implemented it successfully, with a similar set of challenges. It is just making sure that you go through the process of picking the right partner for your organisation based on a realistic expectation of what you need.
As with any technology enabled change project it needs to be a planned implementation.
Any assessment owner needs to consider the following (not necessarily in the same order):
Strategy: What is it you wish to invigilate remotely and how do you want to deliver this?
Stakeholder Research: Identify who needs to be involved in making this idea a reality and research existing technology in use at all levels.
Soft Market Testing: Have a look around and see what is available that can meet your identified needs.
Funding: How is this going to be funded? It won’t come for free, but perhaps it will open up new customers and revenue opportunities.
Formal tender: Create tender documents based on a realistic goal of what you will achieve and by when.
So, by the time the COVID-19 is a distant memory, you may still be organising a steering committee on whether you should move to RP, or maybe you are on the way. That is not a problem, as whatever happens it is best to do it properly. There are benefits to RP irrespective of the current crisis; new business models, increased accessibility, increased security (as the learner invigilator relationship is removed) and added to that, the option in the future of having some business continuity when the next crisis comes along.