It’s Time for a Managed Services Approach to Online Proctoring

Written By Rick Beaudry, CEO of B Virtual Inc.

Online exam monitoring (online proctoring) has landed on many institutions’ strategic radar due to increasing global growth in the demand for online exam delivery. Today’s institutions expect progressive service management and service delivery models from their providers. If this sounds familiar, it’s because online exam monitoring (I will use “proctoring” and “monitoring” interchangeably) now closely follows the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) global framework for IT service management and IT service delivery which provides easily applied guidelines for service providers.

A now broader, often more influential and diverse, stakeholder group demands a mature managed services approach to online exam monitoring.  This is a significant evolution, replacing the initial online proctoring outsourcing model willy wonka planinvolving faculty contracting a proctoring service.  Now the higher education institutions and professional testing associations are demanding more depth in full (people, process and technology) operational integration required for global delivery and quality control.

A simple business case for a comprehensive managed services approach to online exam proctoring would include:

  • Higher service level expectations
  • A broader set of service capabilities (in ITIL terms, the “service catalogue”)
  • Predictable costs

This proven model has clearly defined risks and benefits. Often the success of a managed services initiative depends on one basic choice, the organization you select must align with the growing diverse needs of your global exam delivery infrastructure.

Do you have tiered service level? Not all tests, exams and assessments require the same monitoring scrutiny. Align your budget appropriately by ensuring your higher stakes tests have an enhanced level of monitoring while maintaining non-critical tests at a lower tier service to save money.
Will I get a Service Level Agreement (SLA) and signed contract? These will define all aspects of online proctoring, student support and faculty support. Are the guidelines for proctoring ratios, privacy (FERPA), data storage, data access, credit card payment, etc. all specified as detailed contractual obligations or are they lacking details in a simplified Statement of Work?
Can you provide analytics? A managed services approach offers trending, tracking and reporting capabilities so you can accurately consider the realities of the significant demand expansion projected over the next decade. These metrics allow the provider to perform analytics, identify patterns and resolve any issues so that you can proactively address recurring problems, institute training and add knowledge-based directives to a self-service portal. Identifying and addressing such patterns not only increases service levels; it drives down costs.
Do you have a continuous improvement plan? All parties will have a better understanding of the client infrastructure through a managed services approach to online exam proctoring. Regular operational “check in” meetings support the effort towards identification of potential risks as well as continuous improvement and evolution of the service components.
Can you evaluate all online proctors and students at all times? Do they have fully transparent, elevated quality control measures, removed from proctor control, for a mandatory full recording of every exam session, proctor, student and computer from start-to-finish? The debate about FERPA and privacy for storing recordings is unsubstantiated and misdirected; for another post ☺.

This is still an evolving industry with a need for evolution of service policy, procedure and standards. Constructing a managed services approach to delivery of online exam proctoring will build the foundational layers for a very strong global course and exam delivery model.