The clip was recorded by a Canadian student studying in Guelph, an hour’s drive from Toronto. It was subsequently published on the studenten.memes Instagram account. The software used in this video is different to ProctorExam, the service used at EUR. Still, it basically works on the same lines: students are filmed while sitting the exam and are unable to leave the browser environment on their computer.
In the clip, the Canadian student shows how he is able to hoodwink the surveillance software with the aid of a telephone, a video cable, a TV and a few clever housemates. The cable duplicates his screen on a nearby television set, allowing his housemates to read the questions along with him. They google the answers or look them up in the course books, and send them to the student via a chat app. He has positioned his mobile against the right-hand corner of his laptop screen, meaning it’s out of sight of the webcam. This allows the student to secretly copy the answers from his incoming messages.
Not beaten just yet
Daniel Haven, the CEO of ProctorExam, can’t rule out similar stunts with his software. “Still, at the start of the exam, the student has to make a 360 sweep of the room with his webcam. A set-up like that – with a TV and housemates – will definitely set off some bells,” says Haven, who doesn’t appear too worried about the video. If the student is wily enough to post his housemates in the next room, Haven can parry that one too. “With some exams, we also set up a mobile phone in the corner: as a second camera. That will definitely detect something like a phone that has been set up against your laptop screen.”
Even when a programme decides to leave out the phone surveillance option (as some EUR programmes have), ProctorExam isn’t beaten just yet. “The student will be looking to the bottom right more often than usual. We’ll notice this anomaly and report our findings to the programme staff.”
Surprisingly high grade
While this doesn’t prove conclusively that a student has been cheating, if the unusual behaviour coincides with a surprisingly high grade, the programme may well decide to have a chat with him or her. Whether this leads to sanctions is at the discretion of the examination board. “All we do is provide the evidence,” says Haven.
Dozens of students at Rotterdam School of Management were recently sanctioned for exchanging answers via a group chat during one or more online exams. These tests were not monitored via proctoring technology, however.