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Regular version of the site
Article
Measuring Student’s Proficiency in MOOCs: Multiple Attempts Extensions for the Rasch Model

Abbakumov D., Desmet P., Van den Noortgate W.

Heliyon. 2018. Vol. 4. No. 12. P. 1-15.

Book chapter
Integrating MOOCs in University Curriculum: HSE University Experience

Kulik E., Kidimova K. A.

In bk.: Proceedings of Work in Progress Papers of the Experience and Research Tracks and Position Papers of the Policy Track at EMOOCs 2017. CEUR Workshop Proceedings, 2017. P. 118-127.

Proctoring

Is it possible to pass entrance exams without arriving at a university from another country or region, or pass interim or final exams in a remote format? Such an option would be a major plus for applicants and students, as well as the university itself.

Now, this is possible thanks to proctoring technology (from the English word ‘proctor’, which stands for an officer who oversees the exam process). Proctors, just like in-class exam coordinators, monitor the process so that participants take tests properly (they check whether they independently complete the assignments and if no outside materials are used). The exam process can be monitored in real time via web camera by a specialist (live proctoring), or by a programme, which can observe the workplace of the exam participant, determine the number of persons in the camera’s view, the sound setup or voice used, as well as where the participant might be directing their view (cyber-proctoring). Often a combined approach is used: a video which has been marked as ‘suspicious’ by a cyber proctor is additionally reviewed by a proctoring officer, who then determines whether any violations have been committed. 

HSE was one of the first Russian universities to use proctoring techniques in its examinations. In fact, HSE’s eLearning Office includes its own Proctoring Centre. The Centre’s specialists oversee the technical issues related to the examination process, as well as organize procedures to identify HSE students and applicants. If exams are held by HSE’s departments (e.g., entrance exams) with internal staff acting as proctors, the Centre can organize special training prior to the start of the exam process. 

At HSE, proctoring is used for both interim and final exams, as well as for entrance exams for Master’s and doctoral programmes. For instance, around 1,300 proctoring sessions were carried out for international applicants and doctoral students during the summer admissions campaign for 2017.

Exams for learners of HSE courses on the National Open Education Platform (NOEP) can be held by a live proctor or by using the automated programme. After the close of the exam process, HSE experts check any recordings selected by the system as ‘suspicious’. This type of remote monitoring is possible thanks to HSE’s partnership with the Electronic Platforms company, which is a leader in proctoring services in Russia.

In the 2016-2017 academic year, proctoring services were used for over 1,700 learners to receive a certificate through the NOEP system. In the first semester of the 2017-2018 academic year, this figure came to around 330 persons (as of December 2017). 

Exams with proctoring services at HSE are conducted as follows:

  • exam participants must provide information to establish the connection beforehand; a suitable date and time for the exam may also be chosen beforehand; 
  • several days before the exam, the participant will receive necessary information on the testing process from an HSE representative; 
  • the special ‘Examus’ application will be set up on the participant’s computer; the equipment will be tested along with the stability of the connection; 
  • before the start of the exam, the participant must go through an identification procedure; 

The identification process is obligatory for passing an exam relying on proctoring services. With the participant’s consent, their personal date shall be uploaded to secure storage, which can only be accessed from HSE’s local network by a limited number of staff members.

  • during the entire exam, the proctor shall monitor the participant, analyze their behaviour, and determine if any suspicious activities or violations have taken place; if any suspicious actions happen, a warning shall be duly issued to the exam participant (in case of serious violations a participant may be disqualified); 
  • the exam process shall be video-recorded; this recording may be reviewed if necessary (e.g., if the participant does not agree with the result of the exam).

Practice has shown that exam participants tend to commit fewer violations if the proctoring system is applied even in comparison with in-class tests. Should a dispute arise, HSE shall have strong material evidence if an exam appeal is made, so the students tend to be more prone to follow exam rules as carefully as possible.

The total number of HSE online courses and exams with the use of proctoring services has been increasing. The HSE eLearning Office is eager to develop and expand its operations with respect to remote monitoring of exams. For instance, in 2018, the Proctoring Centre organized training sessions for HSE proctors, not only from Moscow, but also from the St Petersburg and Perm campuses.