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Proctoring Privacy F.A.Q.s

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions or concerns regarding privacy and the use of proctoring software for online quizzes.

What is proctoring?


Proctoring means to have an observer monitor the testing environment while an assessment is being given to the students. This is done to ensure the academic integrity of tests that are taken in a remote setting. The University of Wisconsin-Parkside utilizes Honorlock as its online proctoring service for Canvas quizzes.


In the case of Honorlock, the observer (a.k.a. the proctor) is replaced by a mostly-automated digital system that monitors student activity while they take their quiz. This can include things such as screen capture, web browser lockdown, and webcam capture. The specific requirements and methods of proctoring will vary from quiz-to-quiz, based on the settings that were chosen by the instructor.

The following Knowledgebase page provides some additional information about Honorlock: Proctoring Tools in Canvas

How do our online proctoring tools work?

1) Students take the quiz When a student goes to take a proctored quiz, it will require them to enable the Honorlock extension in their Google Chrome web browser in order to begin the assessment. If they do not have Honorlock on standby, they will not be able to start their quiz. Once Honorlock is enabled, they will open the quiz to begin the startup process. This can include things such as closing other browser tabs, verifying their identity, and/or starting their webcam recording, depending on the proctoring settings for that quiz. After this setup is complete, they will complete their quiz like normal. Honorlock will return to standby after the quiz is submitted, at which point the student is free to disable or delete the Honorlock extension from their browser. They can also leave the extension untouched since Honorlock doesn't do or monitor anything whatsoever unless they're in the middle of taking a proctored quiz.

Honorlock also has the capability for one of their live proctor reps check in on students during their proctored quiz/exam if there is an ongoing violation. If the automated system notices suspicious activity and an Honorlock proctor is available, the proctor can pause their quiz attempt and bring up a live chat window with the student to address the situation. The proctor can then clear the flag or make note of the infraction in the Honorlock results screen.

2) Analyzing the footage  Honorlock will save the timestamps where it suspects that any suspicious behavior may have occurred. It will assign an overall suspicion probability rating (a low-medium-high scale) based on the most severe-rated infraction it noticed during a student's quiz attempt.
The overall rating does not guarantee whether or not cheating actually occurred, nor do the individual flagged timestamps. This process is only meant to point out times where cheating may have occurred by watching for things such as the student leaving the room mid-quiz or looking up answers in another browser window.

3) Instructor checks & verifies the results – Finally, the instructor opens the list of quiz results and determines whose quiz attempt, if any, received high enough of a rating that they need to check for potential violations. If an instructor checks these flags and verifies that cheating did occur, any changes to grades or further disciplinary actions will be up to their discretion. Regardless of what they found in their analysis, the proctoring tools will not affect any grades or take any actions of their own.

Is every online quiz proctored?

No. You'll see the Honorlock requirement listed on the quiz introduction page if it's required for that quiz assignment. Additionally, the webcam and screen recording functions are not necessarily required on every quiz that uses Honorlock. It's up to the instructor to determine which settings are necessary per quiz, and in some cases they may only use one for the browser lockdown aspects.



Do I have to pay to use Honorlock?

No. The University of Wisconsin-Parkside pays the licensing fee for Honorlock's proctoring services. The Google Chrome Honorlock extension, which is required for any Honorlock-enabled Canvas quizzes, is free to everyone.



Who sees the footage (if any is being recorded)?

Generally speaking, only the instructor(s) will ever have a reason to access a screen and/or webcam recording of a quiz. UW-Parkside Canvas administrators also have access Honorlock results by virtue of being an admin, but they will never look at any quiz or proctoring results without the instructor first asking them to check.

Student privacy laws protect student identities and therefore prevent any information or footage from being shared or sold to third parties.

Honorlock uses an automated process to flag timestamps in footage where it believes violations may have occurred. It's entirely up to instructor discretion on whose footage they view, if any at all. If the student's quiz attempt isn't given a medium or high probability rating for potential cheating, then chances are that no one ever opens that student's footage in the first place.


Honorlock has a staff of live proctors that can check-in with a student mid-quiz attempt if the automated system is noticing an ongoing violation. For example, if Honorlock's automated system notices a student using their phone, one of their human proctors may pause their quiz attempt to ask them to place their phone out of arm's reach or to clear the flag if it was a false positive. In these cases, the Honorlock proctor will briefly be able to view the student's footage in real time. However, the instructor for the course does not have the ability to view live footage. 


The only reason that additional parties would gain access to recorded footage would be for disputing evidence of academic misconduct. Other university staff may be given access to view the footage if a student is disputing a claim of academic misconduct. Finally, footage can be legally subpoenaed if bizarre circumstances led to a crime being recorded in the background of a student's proctored webcam footage.  

How long is the proctoring information saved?

All footage and corresponding information is 100% deleted after one year. The only reason it's saved for this long in the first place is just in case there's a dispute between the student and the university on an alleged cheating incident. The services wipe all traces of student information after this period passes.

What data gets recorded? 


User and exam information pulled from Canvas (e.g., user name, user email, quiz name, course name so it knows whose footage it is and where it belongs)

Proctoring reports of any alleged misconduct or violations (This is the cheating probability rating it gives to every quiz attempt)

Timestamps of answered questions (Canvas already saves this info it on its own, regardless of Honorlock)

Actions taken when a student is taking an exam (e.g., copy/cut/right-click actions or leaving the quiz screen)

Screen and/or webcam recordings (these are optional based on the instructor's settings for a particular quiz)

Authentication Data (Also optional; this is comprised of the picture of the student, their school ID, and/or the room scan taken before a quiz begins)

Primary Device Information (such as IP address and your operating system. This information is given to every website you visit)
Other Google Chrome extensions that are installed (to ensure there are no other extensions that could assist in academic misconduct)

Secondary Device Information (see below)


Honorlock's Secondary Device "Tracking"

Honorlock cannot monitor your other devices or your network traffic, so why do they mention them in their privacy policy? There are a few pieces of information that, when combined, can be used to infer that a second device was being used during a proctored quiz attempt:

  • Every website you visit, including Canvas & Honorlock, can see your IP address (which also translates to your relative geographic location) and the time at which you accessed their website
  • Canvas & Honorlock can read the questions within a course's quizzes and will log the time in which every student takes their quiz
  • Honorlock collaborates with some common answer-sharing websites as well as hosting a few decoy sites of their own
  • Major search engines provide public data on internet search traffic
  • Honorlock can visually see that a student is using another device if the webcam capture setting is enabled on a quiz

Honorlock simply connects the dots with these bits of information to determine if there's a high probability of a secondary device being used by a student during their quiz attempt. For example, if Honorlock and one of the affiliated answer hosting websites both see that they had users accessing the same specific set of questions at the same exact time, then they can reasonably conclude that the student was looking up the quiz answers on another device. This becomes especially true if "both" users are accessing them from the same location or if the automated webcam proctoring notices the student using a second device or browser window as it was happening.



KeywordsHonorlock Lockdown Proctoring Privacy Webcam FAQ Proctor Quiz   Doc ID108861
OwnerSteve S.GroupUW Parkside
Created2021-02-04 11:45 CDTUpdated2023-05-04 10:04 CDT
SitesUW Parkside
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