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Proctoring Privacy F.A.Q.s

Here are some answers to 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 as the test is being given to the students. The reason behind this is to maintain a neutral testing environment while ensuring that integrity of the test isn't compromised. In other words, it's meant to prevent cheating while also making sure that students can take their tests uninterrupted. 

In the case of Honorlock, the observer (aka the proctor) is replaced by a mostly-automated digital system. There are two primary aspects to digital proctoring: locking down the test-taking device and recording the student's webcam and/or screen while they take the test. The instructor's chosen settings will determine how thorough these functions are on the per-quiz basis, or if they're even used at all.

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

How do online proctoring tools work?

1) Students take the quiz When a student goes to take a proctored quiz, it will prevent them from starting until they have the required tool running. This means that the student won't be able to open their quiz without enabling the Honorlock extension in Google Chrome. Once the required tool is active, the student will proceed to open their quiz where it will finish any remaining setup such as asking the student to close their other browser tabs or turn on their webcam. After this setup is complete, they will take 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 run whatsoever unless they're actively taking a proctored quiz.

2) Checking the footage  After a quiz is submitted, the proctoring tool uses a fully automated system to scan through any recorded footage. This process will flag any timestamps where it believes something suspicious may have occurred, as well as giving the quiz attempt an overall suspicion probability rating (a low-medium-high scale). 
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.

Honorlock also has an available option to have one of their live proctors check in on students during their proctored quiz/exam. If the automated system notices suspicious activity and an Honorlock proctor is available, the proctor can bring up a live chat window with the student to determine what is happening and how to address the situation. The proctor can then clear the flag or make note of the infraction in the Honorlock results screen.

3) Instructor checks & verifies the results – Finally, the instructor opens the list of 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. If a quiz is proctored, you will know before you begin as you would not be able to open the quiz without having the respective tool running. Additionally, the webcam and screen recording functions are not required on every quiz that uses these proctoring tools. 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. If the student does not have Honorlock enabled when they go to the quiz start-up page, it will provide a link to download it from the Chrome webstore. The Honorlock extension is free for all students and faculty.

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

Generally speaking, only the instructor will have access to quiz recordings. Student privacy laws protect student identities and therefore prevent any footage or information from being shared or sold to third parties.

Honorlock runs footage through its automated servers 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 does provide an optional service where one of their live proctors can check in on a student during their quiz attempt if the system is currently flagging them for suspicious activity. If this occurs, a live chat window will pop up for the student to discuss whatever the situation is. For example, the Honorlock proc tor may ask the student to place their phone across the room until after the quiz or clear a flag from the student's attempt that they deemed inaccurate.

The only reason that additional parties would gain access to recorded footage would be for disputing evidence. Other university staff may be given access to view the footage if a student is disputing a claim of academic misconduct, or 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 actually gets tracked? 

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 keeps 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 webcam monitoring (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)

Secondary Device Information (see below)

Honorlock's Secondary Device "Tracking"

Honorlock cannot monitor your other devices, so why do they mention them in their privacy policy? If you're familiar with the concept of a "honeypot" website, then you already have part of your answer. 

Every website you visit can see your IP address (which also translates to your relative geographic location) and the time at which you accessed their website. When Honorlock is enabled on a quiz, it can read the questions that are being asked in that quiz. Finally, Honorlock collaborates with some of the answer-sharing websites as well as hosting a few of them on their own, aka the "honeypots." 

Honorlock simply connects the dots with these bits of information. If Honorlock and one of their affiliated honeypot websites see that they each had a user 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. This becomes especially true if "both" users are from the same location or if the automated webcam/screen capture proctoring notices the student using a second device or browser window as it was happening.

Keywords:Honorlock Lockdown Proctoring Privacy Webcam FAQ Proctor Quiz   Doc ID:108861
Owner:Steve S.Group:UW Parkside
Created:2021-02-04 11:45 CDTUpdated:2021-11-26 12:27 CDT
Sites:UW Parkside
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