ProctorU holds advantages for professors, difficulties for students

Noelle Henry

Although ProctorU helps professors make sure students maintain academic integrity during online classes, the platform presents problems for some students.

According to Online Schools Center, 33 percent of the 635 students participating in the study admitted to cheating in online classes. UT has used the online testing service ProctorU to reduce cheating. While the site’s features have improved the situation, some students frequently worry about issues with ProctorU.

Biology senior Kelsey Simpson is completing the Business Foundations Certificate and has taken management, MIS and accounting classes online. Simpson is currently taking a finance course online and has faced challenges while using ProctorU during an exam. Simpson said she scheduled to take her test at a certain time, but the site didn’t let her take it until 45 minutes after that time.

“I was really scared that the test was going to default or something,” Simpson said. “I didn’t know what would
happen, and I really didn’t want a zero.”

Simpson said throughout the test she experienced screen freezing, the service canceling out and reassignment to a different proctor three times.

Nutrition sophomore Ana Taboada used ProctorU for HIS 315L during a UT summer session. Taboada said one of her main complaints with ProctorU is that students must take tests in a closed room with no one else around. Because she doesn’t have a desk in her room, she was forced to take tests in the kitchen.

“My family would always walk through (the kitchen), or my dog would bark,” Taboada said. “I thought I would get in trouble if they heard my family.”

Taboada said the worst experience she’s had with ProctorU occurred during what was meant to be an open-note test. Despite her professor sending out a message saying the test would be open-note, Tabodoa’s proctor wouldn’t allow her to use her notes. Taboada said she felt that she was at a disadvantage because she would have gotten a higher grade if she had been permitted to use her notes.

“My professor said we were able to (use notes),” Taboada said. “My classmates were allowed to because their proctors didn’t say anything.”

McCombs professor Mihran Aroian teaches Foundations of Management online for the Business Foundations Program. Aroian recently started using ProctorU for all quizzes and exams online and said what primarily slows down the site is student’s poor time management, as around 75 percent sign up for testing last minute.

“This semester (the quizzes) are proctored and last semester they weren’t,” Aroian said. “So, what I basically determined was if I’m not going to proctor the quiz, don’t even give it.”

Aroian said without ProctorU, cheating is a serious reality. In spring 2018, he reported 75 students for academic dishonesty before beginning to use ProctorU for quizzes and exams. He said one of the things that ProctorU is good at is making sure your eyes are on the screen. He will receive reports from the service if issues arise.

“(Tests) should be proctored, (and we should) we get everyone in a room,” Aroian said. “But the only (issue) is, how many rooms fit 700 people.”