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The one about Remote Proctoring

Remote proctoring tools can’t ensure that students will not cheat. Turnitin won’t make students better writers. The LMS can’t ensure that students will learn. All will, however, ensure that students feel more thoroughly policed. All will ensure that students (and teachers) are more compliant.

Jesse Stommel


As universities have incorporated remote assessment as a result of the pandemic and lockdowns there has been an associated need to ensure that those assessments are valid indicators of students knowledge and skills. But instead of changing the assessment tasks so that they draw on students’ problem-solving and critical thinking abilities, many institutions have simply kept their recall-type assessments and implemented proctoring systems that surveil students as they work through the tasks.

This represents a significant missed opportunity for higher education and professional programmes to move towards more authentic forms of assessment and at the same time, would have enabled us to take advantage of the open internet to restructure curricula that align with those assessments.

The companies responsible for developing online proctoring systems have to convince educators that 1) students will naturally default to cheating, 2) their systems can provide safeguards against this, and 3) the risks presented by surveilling students are offset by the increased trust we would have in our assessment outcomes. None of these propositions is inherently true and physiotherapy educators would do well to pause and reflect on the long-term implications of online student surveillance.


Neuhaus, J. & Locke, J. (2020). Remote Proctoring. Tea for Teaching.

Faculty who rely on high-stakes proctored exams in their classrooms often attempt to replicate this approach in online instruction by using remote proctoring services. In this episode, Jessamyn Neuhaus and John Locke join us to discuss some of the issues associated with the use of remote video proctoring and suggest some effective and less problematic alternative methods of assessing student learning.

Short overview of remote proctoring with a brief discussion of the main concerns with the practice. Topics covered include the digital divide, inequitable processes, assumptions around students’ integrity, anxiety around assessments in general, and other ideas that should make educators consider alternatives to remote proctoring services.

I wasn’t previously aware of this podcast, which has loads of great conversations around many topics that should be of interest to physiotherapy educators.


Silverman, S. C. (2021). What Happens When You Close the Door on Remote Proctoring? Moving Toward Authentic Assessments with a People-Centered Approach. To Improve the Academy: A Journal of Educational Development, 39(3).

This article provides a summary of the arguments against institutional adoption of remote proctoring services with a focus on equity, an account of the decision to avoid remote proctoring…, and conclusions and suggestions for other teaching and learning professionals who would like to take a similar approach. Remote proctoring services require access to technology that not all students are guaranteed to have, can constitute an invasion of privacy for students, and can discriminate against students of color and disabled students. Administrators and teaching and learning staff … made the decision to avoid adopting remote proctoring technologies and to instead invest in instructional design staff and faculty development programming to help faculty transition to authentic assessments. Lessons learned and recommendations are provided for other educational developers or institutions who want to resist remote proctoring on their campuses.

It’s easy to understand the attraction of remote proctoring services, which at least superficially appear to address the concerns of educators around academic dishonesty. However, a “people-centered approach” looks for alternative solutions to these concerns instead of the technological solutions offered by proctoring services. The challenge is that these alternatives often require changes to teaching, learning, and assessment practices, as well as upskilling and continued support for staff, which may take longer to implement and requires buy-in from staff. In other words, we may sacrifice better long-term solutions for perceived convenience in the short-term.


Killam, L. (2020, April 6). Exam Design: Promoting Integrity Through Trust and Flexibility. Insights from Nurse Killam.

This exam design requires that I trust my students. I need to trust that they see the value in my course content and follow the guidelines I suggested. I also need to trust that they will do as I asked and delete the offline version of my exam when the course is over. I am not going to police them. Instead, I am going to trust that over the course of the term we have developed a professional educator-student relationship. They are future nurses who will be held accountable for their own practice. We have talked about the value of integrity in class and how it connects to patient safety. I can’t police them. If they are going to be autonomous nurses one day they need to regulate their own integrity.

In this relatively long post, Laura Killam, a nursing educator, discusses her process for creating an online exam that “allows for flexibility, choice, integrity, and approachability” while at the same time, reducing the potential for ‘cheating’. One of the most useful points in this post is the decision to change the definition of cheating so that the things we typically call ‘cheating’ are now regarded as legitimate components of the task:

They cannot cheat by talking about the exam or using their resources because the exam was designed to make them do both of those things.

There are some wonderful insights in this post that can help inform the design of authentic assessment tasks that take advantage of online platforms, and which negate the perceived need for proctoring services. I disagree with the opening premise that “there is a high risk of cheating if educators take a traditional and punitive approach to exam delivery”, mainly because I haven’t seen good evidence that this is the case. Whether or not we believe that it may be true, we shouldn’t accept it uncritically.

The post is useful in it’s own right but also links to additional examples and resources that you can use to inform your own exam design. There are so many options for different approaches to assessment that don’t require us to watch over students’ shoulders to make sure they’re not cheating. And the results are often more creative, interesting, and innovative than what’s possible with the recall-type assessment tasks we’re so used to.

And, they’re more fun to grade.

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