Remote online proctoring: a university student’s first-hand account

Roie Toogood|September 11, 2020

As I sit at my laptop at my desk in the peace of my bedroom awaiting my exam on Janison Remote to begin, I reflect on how different my experience of my third-year university exams was just a year ago.

COVID-19 has thrown up many obstacles for students like myself this year. As a student in Melbourne, I’ve found it incredibly hard to not let the strict lockdown laws dominate and interfere with my studies.

It also dawns on me that this is the first time I’ve been able to look outdoors while undertaking an exam, as I compare my own bedroom to the giant isolating, windowless halls in which we’d usually complete our exams.

It’s not always just the exam that causes stress, it’s the logistics

Taking an exam is undoubtedly a stressful event for almost all of us but, funnily enough, the actual exam isn’t necessarily the worst part. Every year, during every exam period, there’s at least one horror story of a student either waking up late and missing the start time, or going to the wrong exam building, or missing their public transport, or ¬– my personal favourite – their car battery going flat.

Anxiety spreads through student crowds

For me, and for a lot of my fellow students, the worst part of arriving at exams is actually those moments leading up to the start time. You find yourself queuing among many other students and there’s always at least someone who decides to ask what questions we all think will be in the exam. This means that you often start second-guessing yourself despite previously feeling prepared.

Not only is this moment overwhelming due to the number of students you find yourself crowded amongst, but the anxious atmosphere of unsure students questioning ‘what will be asked in the exam’ creates a contagious sense of doubt and uneasiness. What’s more, it all happens just as you’re about to enter the exam hall – the moment when you’d want to feel the most centred and confident.

A remotely proctored exam lets you control the environment

However this year those factors don’t exist, and instead a far more relaxed exam season awaits me. By being able to complete my exams online at home, I’m able to create an environment which enables me to focus and feel comfortable, while allowing me to control factors around me.

What it’s like to use the technology

1. Installing and onboarding

Before starting my exam, I’m instructed to install the Janison Remote application and follow the onboarding process. Installing Janison Remote takes me less than a minute and the instructions make each step clear and understandable.

After installing the application I’m guided through the onboarding process. This process allows me to get familiar with how the program works, while checking that my hardware was setup correctly. All this helps reassure me that no errors will occur during my actual exam.

2. My webcam’s face scan, ID check and room scan

A step-by-step process then guides me through the facial, ID and room scan. Some of the overall hesitation and criticism around remotely-proctored exams stems from students’ feeling of uncertainty of facial and room scans via their laptop’s web camera. But I found that the whole process didn’t create any feelings of doubt or uneasiness for me.

The facial and room scans felt transparent and straightforward because of the clear information provided to me by the software about the third party ID verification system and its privacy policy. During the entirety of the onboarding process I found the instructions to be clear and easy to follow, and a number of visual graphics were used to assist me in the process.

3. Ready to start

After I completed the onboarding process and it was approved, I was able to move onto my exam. I couldn’t help but notice such a difference in my anxiety levels compared with last year when I was in a physical exam hall, in those critical moments just before I’m about to start my exam. I’m not finding myself feeling intimidated and overwhelmed by the experience, but instead I feel focused without worrying about external distractions.

I start the exam with another facial, ID and room scan. By Janison Remote using these checks and scanning procedures, opportunities for cheating and plagiarising are eliminated, which reassures students like myself that the exam will be fair for all. A black border then appears at the top my screen with a clear message informing me that monitoring has begun.

As I read through each instruction before starting my exam, it comes to my attention how comforting and precise the step-by-step guide is. The dos and don’ts are repeated so there’s absolute clarity for students.

4. Finishing off

Once I complete my exam, the screen shows a step-by-step guide instructing me how to turn off the monitoring devices and quit the program.

After I finish, I find myself reflecting on how much I enjoyed the online experience compared with the usual in-person exams.

Not only did I feel less stressed and more confident, but I felt as though the whole exam season didn’t completely consume me like in the past, because it wasn’t created to be an intense and intimidating event.

My overall verdict? It’s a winner

Remotely proctored online exams make sense for students like myself, in this day and age. For 12 weeks of our semester, we write all our tutorial and lecture notes on our computers and laptops, and access all our course resources on online platforms.

Not only do remote exams feel like they can solve a lot of the problems that students face during exam season, they’re also a practical and modern way to adapt to a more digital-based lifestyle, especially amid COVID-19 quarantining.

Want to find out more about how Janison Remote could help your students continue their education during COVID-19? Contact us for a demo.


About the Author

Roie Toogood

Marketing Intern, Janison

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