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Why Is Online Invigilation So Important Nowadays?

Online invigilation allows students to take exams remotely and through a secure platform or software to proctor the process. The current global situation amid COVID-19 has tremendously affected the way how companies and learning institutions provide their services to students. Therefore, e-learning and online remote assessments are gaining significance as never before. The demand for virtual proctoring has been growing at a rapid pace; therefore, learning centers and companies need to be flexible and adapt to cutting-edge technologies that have already disrupted the business of learning. 

There is a learning curve when it comes to online remote invigilation, both from an educators’ and students’ perspectives. Whereas educators have to embrace and integrate these technologies into their learning systems, students need to be prepared for the shift in their traditional visions and habits of learning and taking exams. Academic honesty and exam integrity are the foremost aspects of a solid learning environment. Since there are many challenges for students to be remotely proctored, which makes them biased, we want to shed light on online proctoring and the significance of new-generation secure assessments. 

Why Students Need Online Proctoring: Key Benefits

* The convenience of scheduling. According to a survey conducted among 339 students, 82% admitted specific scheduling as an extremely strong benefit. 
* Flexibility. What does it mean? To put it simply, stay at home and take the exams from your bedroom. Test takers have an opportunity to undergo exam assessments whenever and from anywhere they want. Freedom like never before. 
* Save time and money. With online proctoring, students do not need to spend time getting to the test centers; consequently, they reduce their travel expenses as well.
* Fast Results. Traditional paper-based examinations involve several steps of the evaluation process. Moreover, this process is prone to errors in contrast to online remote assessment, where results are calculated in an accurate and instant manner.  

Student Concerns 

According to research, the reason for academic dishonesty and students’ cheating is the limited opportunities for surveillance. Remote invigilation is a solution for exam integrity; however, it can negatively affect students’ performance who have no confidence in the new paradigm of online assessments. 

That’s why it is crucial to address these issues beforehand by providing clear information to students. Let’s consider the primary concerns.

Personal Data Privacy

Students might be concerned about the anonymous nature of online invigilation since proctors get remote access to their data and recordings. However, that’s not totally true. Only your teachers and lecturers can watch your recordings, no one else has access to your data. The main goal of online proctoring is to prevent test takers from using cheat sheets, a calculator, course notes/slides, having someone else take their test for them, picking up if someone is feeding them answers during an assessment or the use any other resources from the internet. 

Tech Issues

Among students’ complaints, there are many related to technical issues such as incompatibility between personal computers and online invigilation platforms, difficulty setting up software, bad internet connection affecting the completeness of tests and password issues. Technical support is an important element that each organisation using proctoring software must prepare well for. Tech support must be available for students to alleviate student anxiety. 

Decision Making

There are also concerns about the decision-making nature. Students are worried about if online proctors and AI algorithms define the viability of their answers. Can this approach affect their future? Definitely no since assessors and technology are used to flag inappropriate misbehavior in order to obtain academic honesty and ensure exam integrity. The algorithms won't indicate you are cheating if you take the test as intended so there's nothing to worry about. 

Educators’ Intrusiveness

Many students express concerns regarding distraction by their proctors. It is worth mentioning that there are the following types of online proctoring: live, recorded, and advanced automated online invigilation. Automated AI-powered systems such as IRIS Invigilation allow monitoring and detecting any suspicious student’s activity with audio and video recordings without involving assessors in the process. All reviewing of recordings is done post exam, not during. 

Test Anxiety: How to Ensure Positive Students’ Experience

Test anxiety can negatively affect the performance of students’ exams. The unconventional nature of conducting online assessments might embarrass test takers due to the above-mentioned concerns and fears related to suspicious fraudulent detection. To anticipate students’ concerns, online exam providers need to instruct them properly, providing explicit, transparent, and precise information.  

1. Based on the students’ complaints about scheduling waiting times, instructors need to foresee these issues and explain them to students beforehand to prevent the additional levels of anxiety. 

2. In terms of proctor’s intrusiveness (in the case of live proctoring with a proctor involved in the process), instructors are recommended to address the issue of students’ worries about live monitoring “behind the screen.” It is essential to clarify the options available and their benefits. For example, automated online proctoring such as IRIS Invigilation offers no live proctor contact so there are a good mix of options available for suit your needs. Nevertheless, all these details need to be clarified with students. 

3. In order to prevent technical malfunction, we suggest familiarizing test takers with possible vulnerabilities and the steps they need to follow in this case. A test exam taken a week before the real exam will reduce technical and access issues. 

4. It is also essential for instructors to be familiar with guidelines about the service provider’s work and its specifics to be able to anticipate students’ concerns and find appropriate solutions.

If you are planning online invigilation and still have concerns and questions, please contact our IRIS Invigilation team. 

Online Education Challenges

In comparison with students’ examinations a generation ago, today, there are a lot of advanced ways for educators to assess a student’s academic honesty while taking exams at home. That’s why learning institutions are looking for robust solutions to ensure the high level of remote invigilation without undue hassle. Cheating is one of the main issues of remote proctoring. According to the survey conducted among 645 students, there is no significant difference between in-class and online courses; almost the same percentage of surveyed admitted cheating during taking the exams.    

Over the years, online distance courses have been growing according to the research, where almost 30% of higher education students enroll in at least one distance institution. Therefore, with the increase of distance student enrollments, the tendency to online learning is gaining momentum more and more, which leads to the educators’ need to uphold the integrity of exams and reliable ways of data assessment. 

Machine Learning as a Viable Solution to Online Assessment

With the emergence of cutting-edge technologies and the rapid growth of AI and IoT, online education is transforming public education, mainly affected by the lockdown amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The e-learning market size is forecasted to spur its growth to US$319.167 billion in 2025, fostered by AI adoption.

Technological innovation, digitalization, and AI have made a quantum leap in the way education is supervised. Exam management systems have undergone paradigm shifts due to extensive opportunities both for invigilators and exam takers to optimize and enhance online education. With AI-enabled proctoring solutions, education institutions and learning centers are empowered with intelligent capabilities to eliminate excessive costs and undue efforts and obtain a high online valuation level deterring cheating or any other students’ misbehavior. AI-based proctoring tools have much more potential to conduct an effective and vigilant assessment in contrast with a human’s one. Utilizing machine learning in remote proctoring facilitates assessment security, educators’ feasibility, and students’ convenience. 

So, how does this process look like?

Remote invigilation tools identify impersonation and suspicious activities of a person by scanning behavioral patterns and utilizing facial recognition algorithms, which generate alerts if there are any integrity breaches. Therefore, test takers need to be equipped with a microphone, camera, speakers, computer, or laptop to capture audio, visual, and voice signals that are automatically recorded for further review and processing by invigilators. 

IRIS: Win-Win Remote Invigilation Solution for Australia’s Education and Training Providers 

The Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) developed IRIS cloud-based software to ensure robust online and remote assessments. There are many benefits that Australasian learning institutions can leverage in their LMS systems to get valuable data analytics providing real-time in-depth insights into educational trends. It is worth mentioning that all recorded data during exams are saved on IRIS’s invigilation AWS servers. Let’s see what benefits the AI-powered IRIS software program can bring to educational enhancement and how it can amplify the effectiveness of assessment methods.

1. Elimination of administrative burden

There is no need to be overloaded with organizing test centers, planning and selecting questions, paper gathering and printing, reviewing and proofreading, etc. The intelligent approach toward exam management helps significantly optimize academic staff workflows, eliminate logistical issues, and streamline overall assessment procedures. With minimized tedious and time-consuming tasks, both educators and students save costs and enhance learning and teaching experience.

2. Reduction of Examination Stress

Electronic assessment technology allows candidates to have a stress free experience since they do not need to relocate and spend time to travel to the test center. Moreover, test takers will be more focused on actual content and subject matter during their exams when located in familiar and convenient surroundings.

3. No need to hire a fleet of educators

Thanks to machine learning algorithms, online assessment is scalable and cost-effective since it doesn’t require human involvement.

4. No need for extra hardware or extra costs

IRIS is a plugin extension featured on the Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers. All you need is a laptop, good internet connection, camera, and microphone.

5. Enhanced security with AI-driven algorithms

All exam assessments and materials are stored on the institutes Learning Management System (LMS), ensuring access only to authorized users/students. All recorded sessions and student data are stored on the institutes private server in Sydney, Australia. With smart invigilation software like IRIS, the process is transparent in terms of user data. IRIS will never share student data with a third party. 

So, Why You Need Online Proctoring?

To put it simply, to maximize exam authenticity. Such invigilation software systems as IRIS are designed to deliver any type of exam assessment in a secure and seamless manner, significantly simplifying turnaround time for exam management. It can be easily integrated with your existing learning management system to ensure improved efficiency of educational procedures. From the student’s perspective, it is convenient and less stressful to take an exam; thereby, students can be more focused on their exams’ subject matter. Moreover, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, implementing online proctoring software in educational systems seems to be the most comprehensive solution. If you need any help or a consultation with the IRIS team, please get in touch with us.

Written by Quintus Potgieter
Published: 27 July 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many education institutions to take entire campuses online almost overnight. Despite a massive growth and adoption in online education technology in recent years, many institutions struggled to translate their on-campus delivery methodology to an online environment and, in particular, were unprepared in how to ensure academic integrity online. This has resulted in a scramble to adopt exam proctoring and remote invigilation software, providing the Engineering Institute of Technology a competitive advantage and new business stream.

Over the last three years, the Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) has perfected an online exam proctoring, and remote invigilation software to autonomously monitor students while they undertake an exam. This system is named IRIS Invigilation.


IRIS was developed by the Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) in conjunction with Curtin University in Western Australia. EIT is now the sole education partner of IRIS internationally and utilizes the software to invigilate online assessments and exams of 1600 students from over 140 countries. IRIS' usefulness has further been realized as the pandemic has produced new challenges for institutions that need to ensure the reliability and validity of student assessments.

"My vision for IRIS was to have an easy-to-run, very affordable invigilation package for our (and other colleges') students, and indeed, staff, to easily use at far-flung locations to demonstrate their commitment to a high level of integrity in their work," said Dean of Engineering at the Engineering Institute of Technology, Dr. Steve Mackay. The fully developed software seemingly made it to market just in time for the unexpected circumstance that cropped up this year.

"When coronavirus hit in early 2020, educational institutes who had been avoiding online education were forced into action. If this transition wasn't stressful enough, with all the technical challenges of schools, colleges, and universities going online, then they had to find a solution for online assessments and potential cheating," says Sarah Montgomery, Project Manager at EIT who is overseeing IRIS.

"As more institutes go online, we saw an opportunity to expand IRIS to other institutions who would benefit from remote proctoring," she continued. "IRIS has been warmly received with many potential customers valuing the dedicated IRIS technical team and evidence of EIT's own success in using the platform."

Deputy Dean at the Engineering Institute of Technology, Indumathi V, says she has seen the software in action and finds it incredibly helpful as an academic monitoring exams.

"I have seen IRIS in action, and it's fantastic! It empowers me as an academic to trust on the reliability, authenticity, and integrity of the assessments completed by my students.  It works by recording audio, video, and computer screen activity for the duration of an exam/assessment. Staff don't have to go through every recording to verify assessment integrity or authenticity. Machine learning algorithms in the background do the work and flag potential academic dishonesty, which is neatly displayed on a dashboard. It's a well-designed, user-friendly system that integrates effortlessly into most computer systems."

The software had already racked up some accolades before the COVID-19 pandemic began threatening education institutions around the world. In 2019, the IRIS team secured the position of ON Accelerate Finalist, which is Australia's national innovation accelerator program, powered by CSIRO. In the same year, IRIS was a Highly Commended Education Finalist (Best Project in the Education category) at the prestigious ITnews Benchmark Awards.

How it works

IRIS records video of a student's face throughout their online exam. The program tracks head and eye movement, records the audio signal from a student's computer, and captures webcam audio too. The program takes successive screenshots of what the student sees during the exam, and what is displayed on their computer screen.

An extra security measure IRIS incorporates is facial markers. The markers are identified and tracked, categorizing and distinguishing innocent behaviors and cross-referencing them with dishonest behaviors.

IRIS departs from traditional methods of real-time online invigilation, which is expensive and time-consuming for educators and assessors. Upon the completion of an assessment, IRIS autonomously targets or 'flags' videos that need evaluation to prioritize students who require further investigation and keep staff workloads manageable. Educators can then review this data at a time that is convenient to help ensure student identity verification and assessment integrity.

Educators set the system on their online assessments through their own defined Learning Management System (LMS) such as Moodle. When a student clicks on the assessment, IRIS automatically pops up and asks the student to agree to being invigilated. Once they complete and submit their assessment, IRIS shuts down and provides the educators with all of the data gathered during the assessment.

"With the increase in the uptake of online learning and assessment due to COVID19, more and more educational institutions are grappling with assessment authenticity and integrity," says Indumathi.

"Autonomous proctoring provides an excellent solution to these problems, improving the quality assurance and reliability of online education.

"The future of proctoring is very bright with artificial intelligence (AI), big data (data forensics), data security, and user-centric developments taking center stage. These enhanced capabilities provide many opportunities for improvements to existing technology."

Lightweight, easily deployable, global

Students from all over the world are using IRIS. At the Engineering Institute of Technology, we have three years' experience in invigilating all online exams. Online exam proctoring cements the legitimacy of online education, which institutions have had to implement during the global pandemic. IRIS Invigilation provides a lightweight, easily deployable, and instantly accessible system for monitoring students while they complete online assessments.

The IRIS technology is secure, easy to use, and requires very little in the way of software infrastructure due to its efficient browser-based design. All the student needs is a Microsoft-compatible or Mac computer with webcam, microphone, and speakers connected. Most impressively, IRIS has a Google Chrome extension and Microsoft Edge plugin that can be added straight to the browser.

Sarah explains, "Students need to use the Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge browser because IRIS uses these browser plugins (extensions) to access your webcam, microphone, and screen. IRIS has been developed in this way so that you do not have to download bulky or costly software packages onto your computer.

Recently, IRIS was added to the Microsoft Edge store, so now Chinese students can utilize the software. This opens up a huge market for international students as previously IRIS did not work in China."

The IRIS team has successfully signed up several large institutes that deal with thousands of international and local university and college students.

"We have a client who specializes in English testing and another in the trade skills industry. One of our larger clients completed their university exams this week and clocked up over 15,000 assessment hours. IRIS is capable of handling huge amounts of data, and IRIS successfully invigilated and uploaded the recordings of over 3,000 students in the exam period," said Sarah.  

"After significant financial investment in research over the past five years and tens of thousands of hours of testing, I have been gratified to see IRIS develop into an ultra-useful invigilation (proctoring) package," Steve remarked.

"IRIS has been adopted by many of the largest colleges in the world, and we are pouring more resources into developing additional AI capabilities as well as analytical support to provide feedback to the instructors on improving their courses with real evidence-based intelligence."

With the potentially chaotic reclosure of educational facilities due to a second wave of the coronavirus, investing in an online remote examination proctoring software solution is a good step in ensuring academic integrity online.

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