Remote invigilation - otherwise known as online proctoring - might just be the critical factor when measuring the success of online higher education. Online education without digital supervision would naturally be a sticking point for education accreditation boards across the globe. It is not surprising, therefore, that online proctoring solutions are growing.
Curtin University and the Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) have been hard at work developing the Intelligent Remote Invigilation System (IRIS). It is a cloud-based platform which utilizes machine learning to monitor students during online examination and eTests.
During an examination the software records audio and video in real time. The machine learning studies these records and red-flags any suspicious behavior. This evidence is automatically sent to the relevant examiners.
Screenshots are taken at intervals and sent to the invigilating program, this is to double-check what students are seeing on their screens. If anything other than what should be there is detected, the program flags this as suspicious.
IRIS is cloud-based – this means that no heavy software is required on a student’s device; in fact it is so lightweight it can run on a web browser. Furthermore, because the machine learning is largely responsible for identifying potential cheaters, the requirement for staff involvement drops off significantly.
A big benefit to the system is the learning analytics that provide incredibly detailed insight into educational trends and patterns based on real student data. Curtin University told IT News that they hope to see the invention make its way to the ‘rest of Australia's 700 Vocational Education and Training providers’.
A new chapter in online education
Perfecting online proctoring is of utmost importance considering the global online education market is projected to reach a total market size of US$286.62 billion by 2023, as reported by Research and Markets. This means more and more students are opting for online study - but invigilating those students remotely, during examinations, is a tall order. An excerpt of the report reads:
“Platforms that facilitate learning through gaming are gaining popularity, improvements in IT security and implementation of cloud based solutions has increased the adoption rate of online education system as now, people can enjoy a smooth learning experience on safe online platforms. Advancements in the field of artificial intelligence are expected to further boost the growth rate of the online education market.”
Although critical in the virtual classroom, online invigilation is likely to become a useful tool in the physical classroom too – as part of an on-campus, hybrid learning invigilation system. The problems with on-campus invigilation are prompting the change; these include the need for a battalion of human invigilators and the greater margin for error (whereas an automated system can monitor students individually).
In South Africa for instance, even at the Further Education and Training phase (Grades 10 to 12), the Independent Examination Board has instructed schools to install invigilation cameras in any venue where examinations take place.
It is clear that invigilation technologies are becoming more vital to education institutions around the world, but especially to legitimize online education once and for all.
Johnston, Matt. “Benchmark Awards 2019 Finalists: Curtin Uni Remote Exam Invigilation.” ITnews, 4 Feb. 2019, www.itnews.com.au/news/benchmark-awards-2019-finalists-curtin-uni-remote-exam-invigilation-518736.
ltd, Research and Markets. “Global Online Education Market - Forecasts from 2018 to 2023.” Research and Markets - Market Research Reports - Welcome, www.researchandmarkets.com/research/nzxrnp/global_online?w=4.