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Thread: Straighterline proctor policy

  1. #1
    M. Lerner is offline Minor Noble
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    Default Straighterline proctor policy

    Has anyone tried to get approval from Straighterline to use a trusted local proctor as stated by their CEO? Being forced to use ProctorU is the only thing stopping me from taking a needed course from them. When I called today to verify that they honor the statement below, the rep I spoke to had no idea what I was talking about and his supervisor told him ProctorU is the ONLY option.

    For those who haven't seen it before...

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    StraighterLine’s New Online Proctoring Policy

    Posted on October 8, 2012

    Dear StraighterLine Student:

    Recently we announced that StraighterLine will begin requiring proctored final exams. Originally this policy was to apply to any college credit earned after November 1, 2012. However, after talking with many of our students, we have changed the policy such that it will apply to any course purchased on or after November 1, 2012.

    We understand that online proctoring is an additional expense and an inconvenience for some of you. As founder and CEO of StraighterLine, I am writing to explain the reason behind the new policy and to clarify some of the misconceptions that have been created.

    Despite our best efforts, some students cheat. This is prevalent across higher education and is particularly prevalent in online courses. Cheating methods include plagiarism, having others take exams, copying and sharing or selling test items, taking exams in groups, searching for test answers during exams and more.

    As you are aware, until now, StraighterLine has offered optional proctoring. Those students who wished to transfer credits to colleges requiring proctoring could purchase a proctoring session. This would be noted on the student’s transcript. Those who were transferring to a college that did not require proctoring, did not need to make that same purchase. Unfortunately, the overall result has been that some students still cheat, boast about it, and post about it on the Internet. I think you will agree that such cheating diminishes the credibility and acceptance of the StraighterLine credits for everyone.

    Some of you have noted that many colleges don’t care whether an exam is proctored. Frankly, you’re right – some colleges have ignored many of the safeguards necessary to insure academic credibility. In fact, the only identification requirement for accredited colleges is for the student to have a username and password – clearly, a requirement with limited effectiveness. Undoubtedly, the growth of alternative and more affordable ways to earn college credit will spur more colleges to tighten up their policies and procedures.

    It’s important to note that this policy change has nothing to do with profit generation for StraighterLine. We have and will institute a number of changes to demonstrate this. Starting on November 1st, the per-course price will rise from $39 to $49 and all courses will include a proctoring session (currently $30 a la carte). The price will not rise for those students purchasing $399 or $999 packages.

    I would also like to address a few other concerns that we’ve heard. First, this policy does not affect the self-paced nature of StraighterLine’s courses. Our subscription pricing model was created to reward students capable of completing rapidly and to diminish the financial risk to students who must pause or stop. Required proctoring will provide even greater confidence in test results when students move quickly.

    Second, ProctorU, the company that provides our online proctoring, is used by hundreds of colleges to perform this service. While an online proctoring session does require providing access to your computer to a third party, this is a common practice among colleges, including many of our largest transfer partners. Already, many of StraighterLine partners require online proctoring to appear on StraighterLine’s transcript, and hundreds of sessions have been scheduled and provided without incident.

    Third, we will be working to provide a seamless place-based proctoring option as well. In the meantime, if a student can provide evidence of trusted local proctoring, we will accept that as fulfilling the requirement.

    Fourth, proctoring is only required for final exams; and

    Fifth, proctoring will only apply to courses purchased on or after November 1, 2012.

    While we regret the concern this new mandatory proctoring policy may have caused some of our students, I hope you can see that it is driven by our goal to ensure academic credibility. After careful consideration, we are convinced that required proctoring is in the best interests of the majority of StraighterLine students. I hope you agree and thank you for your understanding.

    Sincerely,

    Burck Smith

    Founder and CEO

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  2. #2
    namwen is offline Knight Champion
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    I called SL this morning and was told that there is no longer that option. I'd love to now if someone could point me to a higher-up that I could talk to about this. My minor sons are taking courses and I think a different option could be workable by talking to someone who can make decisions.

    Anyone? The presidents email?
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  3. #3
    DSH2007's Avatar
    DSH2007 is offline Senior Squire
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    Burck Smith's blog is here. Good luck!

  4. #4
    namwen is offline Knight Champion
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    Thanks! I gave the blog a try. My post is waiting moderation right now.
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    M. Lerner is offline Minor Noble
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    If I didn't need the lab for a prerequisite to a degree program, I wouldn't even bother with them. However, my funds and time are limited, so I really need to get over this hurdle. How can they just retract what the CEO published and not tell anyone??????? I've been racking my mind all day trying to think of how to get them to approve this.

  6. #6
    EI2HCB's Avatar
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    I have the CEO's personal e-mail
    Pm me
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  7. #7
    brucet3 is offline Senior Squire
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    Why does everyone grab their tinfoil hat when Proctor U is mentioned? They are honestly not that bad. I used them on my midterm at TESC for Strategic Management and they did not steal my secrets (unlike my local mailbox...) or make off with my nuclear codes.
    walternc3, dposborne and clephy like this.
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  8. #8
    M. Lerner is offline Minor Noble
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    brucet3,
    I get what you're saying, but just because you had a good experience doesn't mean everyone does. I doubt that anyone ever goes into a business transaction thinking something bad will happen, but we know that sometimes they do anyway. If I was as paranoid as you seem to imply, I wouldn't use the internet or leave my house since there's no such thing as absolute safety from crime. In the end, I may have to postpone the degree program and take a more time consuming and expensive course to get the credits. In the meantime, I have to atleast try. Maybe if people didn't just give in so easily all the time, it would be harder for others to take advantage and put us at risk.

  9. #9
    brucet3 is offline Senior Squire
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    Man, it really isn't so dramatic. Have you ever Skype'd with someone and shared your desktop? That's all it is.

    If the tests are open book and you can use notes, what's the big deal?

    If you want the straighterline to have some CREDIBILITY going forward, then this is the price. I personally took 13 classes with straighterline and think they are an excellent alternative to brick and mortar education (especially compared to for profit tech schools). I'd like to see them thrive and this is one of the steps they need to take in order to be seen as legitimate by their peers.

    Good luck. You can use your local library if you feel uncomfortable using your home pc.
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  10. #10
    walternc3 is offline Senior Squire
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    I agree with Bruce on this one. I've yet to hear about anything bad actually occuring as a result of proctor U. I've done three proctored exams through ProctorU and I haven't even gotten junk mail from them. People fear what they don't fully understand and I was a bit apprehensive as well but it worked out ok for me and I AM paranoid. I keep part of a post-it note over the camera on my laptop's webcam just in case someone is spying on me and I did a straighterline course. Maybe you can find the courage to try it too.
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