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Universities flock to new webcam exam proctoring service for their online students


BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – The growth of online education at both traditional universities and wholly online institutions has spawned a new way for students to take final exams. Most online students still take an exam in the physical presence of a proctor. Now many are flocking to a new online proctoring service developed seventeen months ago by Andrew Jackson University for its internal use, but spun off into a separate company to meet the demands of the marketplace.

Jarrod Morgan, a founding partner in the new service, said his boss, Andrew Jackson University president Don Kassner, had tried to find a third party whose technology could accommodate online test takers but gave up after months of searching. Kassner, who along with the university’s CEO have experience in several Internet related ventures, decided in January 2008 to develop their own proctoring service. ProctorU, in a basic form, was introduced the next month.

Using inexpensive webcams and an online audio-video service, ProctorU administered the first proctored exams for Andrew Jackson University in February 2008. Since that time ProctorU has been upgraded many times and now includes an online exam scheduling feature and identity authentication. Today Andrew Jackson University uses ProctorU for 99% of the exams its students take, and all without much expense and no inconvenience to the students.

The university’s accrediting agency asked the ProctorU team to make a presentation at the agency’s Fall 2008 conference. ProctorU shared information on its proctoring methodology and technical platform which, to the surprise of many, is compatible with almost every learning management system in the marketplace. As a result of this conference presentation other universities approached ProctorU asking if the service would be available to them anytime soon. So in January 2009 ProctorU opened its arms to other universities that were searching for an easy to use, inexpensive, reliable service to replace on-site proctoring.

ProctorU is now expanding at a rapid pace and has initiated online proctoring services at (number) colleges and universities. ProctorU’s Jarrod Morgan predicts that their best of breed service will end up serving at least half the schools that have online students. “But, Morgan says, “we have to continue to upgrade whenever we see something we can use to make the test taking process easier on the student. And we have to continue hiring proctors who understand technology as they play an important role if the student taking the exam runs into a problem with the Internet or their computer.”



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