Proctorio Revolutionizing UM Testing Services

Artificial intelligence platform allows 24/7 test administration with automated proctoring

Jinny Hurdle, UM testing services director, prepares Proctorio, an automated artificial intelligence system used for remote proctoring of examinations. Photo by Logan Kirkland/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck last spring, University of Mississippi students requiring remote proctored exams either had to come to the Jackson Avenue Center or use a student-paid system in which a live person monitored the internet while the exam was being taken.

Since the middle of the 2020 spring semester, the testing services department has offered an innovative remote testing platform designed to allow 24/7 test administration with automated proctoring.

Proctorio offers full audio and video recording, screen capture, ID verification, secure browser lockdown and full faculty management of settings, all while safeguarding student privacy. When downloaded, the artificial intelligence system works as a Google Chrome extension that activates the faculty-selected options for tests administered through Blackboard.

The new system has been “revolutionary” for Ole Miss students and faculty, and no student fees were assessed with the new platform, said Brian Hopkins, deputy chief information officer for academic technology.

“With in-person proctoring in the classroom or lab restricted by social distancing guidelines, and other online proctoring services were unable to scale iService to meet the global increase in demand, Proctorio was and is the best option available to us,” he said. “Students are less ‘watched’ when they take exams using Proctorio than they are when taking exams with in-person proctoring in the lab or classroom.”

Jinny Hurdle, UM director of testing services, explained how the new platform operates.

“Proctorio utilizes artificial intelligence to deliver automated proctoring that removes human error and bias, with the ability to deliver instant analytics to each instructor,” Hurdle said. “It includes 24/7 live chat for student and instructor support and it works with any laptop or desktop with the Chrome browser.”

Program coordinator Nic Davis logs into Proctorio at a UM testing services lab in the Jackson Avenue Center. Photo by Logan Kirkland/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Students begin the process by clicking on their Proctorio-enabled exams in Blackboard, Hurdle said. The platform launches and initiates system and ID checks, and the student completes the exam.

“Depending on the settings that the instructor establishes, the exam session could include video and audio recording, distribution prevention settings and web browser lockdown,” she said.

Instructors receive detailed analytics for each session.

Proctorio employs military-grade zero-knowledge encryption, so student privacy is always protected. The platform complies with all General Data Protection Regulation, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act regulations.

“Proctorio offered a cost-effective, scalable solution to the need for remote exam proctoring because it is online and automated,” Hurdle said. “Before the university offered Proctorio, the only free-to-students solution was testing in the (Distance Education Testing) Lab; obtaining the universitywide license for Proctorio offered remote proctored testing for students at no charge.”

All Ole Miss students have at least one online, remote or hybrid class this semester. Some classes require remote proctoring with Proctorio, while others do not.

“There are always challenges, but staff at the testing center are available to assist students anytime,” Hurdle said. “We also have testing labs set up with our laptops in the Jackson Avenue Center for students who may not have adequate hardware or internet access, or simply for those who might want a more structured testing environment.”

For more information about Proctorio, contact UM testing services at 662-915-1639.