Brown DLD Faculty Guides

Proctoring Software: Policies & Practices

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Brown University does not currently support digital proctoring software. This decision was made with input from The Sheridan Center, Digital Learning & Design, and Dean of the College, and is a result of the limitations and pitfalls of digital proctoring platforms:

  1. Digital Proctoring Software does not prevent cheating. While such platforms "lock" students' computers to an exam, students remain free to use phones, tablets, or other devices to circumvent security measures. 
  2. Students' machines vary in age, quality, and "up-to-dateness." Proctoring software is unreliable across this technical spectrum, and students with the older machines are at a disadvantage. 
  3. Students' internet connections may not be reliable. Proctoring software often mistakenly flags breaks in connection as instances of potential violations. 
  4. Some proctoring software utilizes facial recognition technology. This technology has proven discriminatory to persons of color and runs counter to Brown's goals of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 
  5. "Surveillance-style" proctoring software–software the utilizes students' screen capture, webcam, and microphone data–is overly intrusive and raises serious data privacy concerns. 
  6. Implementing a digital proctoring solution creates technical hurdles to participation, which lead to undo stress for students and instructors in already high-stakes situations. 
  7. After the exam period, instructors have the additional labor of discerning false from true flags of   suspicious behavior. Further, flags of suspicious behavior are often insufficient evidence to prove academic misconduct. 

Alternative Solutions

While digital proctoring remains unsupported, we offer alternative solutions: 

For instructors using Canvas Quizzes, we recommend several configuration options. 

  • Set a Quiz Availability Window
  • Utilize a Time limit
  • Randomize questions and/or answers
  • Only show One question at a time
  • Lock Questions after answering

Note: while these options increase testing integrity and diminish students ability to share answers, none stop students from leveraging outside resources or finding other unfair methods.

Beyond Canvas Quizzes, faculty are engaging in a redesign of their assessments, choosing to assign essays, oral exams, or project-based assessments. DLD's Instructional Designers can meet to discuss ways to incorporate low-stakes assessment or alternative, authentic assessment in your course. If interested, use this DLD Calendar to schedule an appointment.

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