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Study.com and ProctorU Questions
#1
I understand that Study.com and many similar sites use ProctorU to provide virtual proctoring. What's the "pain in the butt" factor when dealing with ProctorU? I have looked online a bit, but I keep getting conflicting information.

My questions are:
  • I don't happen to own a Windows box, can I run a Windows virtual machine and get protracted or is that problematic? 
  • How "sterile" do you have to keep the testing environment you're working from? I anticipate testing from my home office which is full of tech and shelved books. Is that likely to be a problem?
  • I hear they want to get a look around the room (with a mirror?) through your webcam. What's the purpose of that? 
  • If I get up from my desk to step out to the restroom and return in short order is that somehow against the rules?
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#2
(02-02-2019, 08:02 PM)retro Wrote: I understand that Study.com and many similar sites use ProctorU to provide virtual proctoring. What's the "pain in the butt" factor when dealing with ProctorU? I have looked online a bit, but I keep getting conflicting information.

My questions are:
  • I don't happen to own a Windows box, can I run a Windows virtual machine and get protracted or is that problematic? 
  • How "sterile" do you have to keep the testing environment you're working from? I anticipate testing from my home office which is full of tech and shelved books. Is that likely to be a problem?
  • I hear they want to get a look around the room (with a mirror?) through your webcam. What's the purpose of that? 
  • If I get up from my desk to step out to the restroom and return in short order is that somehow against the rules?
  • No, you cannot take the tests in a virtual machine. That is explicitly disallowed, and they even do checks to look for it as part of the proctor session. It is too easy to cheat that way. They do have a Mac OSX client as well. Not sure about Linux.
  • You need to have the area within arms reach of where you'll be testing completely clear. This includes the walls and area under, around, and behind your monitor/desk. If you have a lot of stuff visible from the webcam, you might want to cover it before the exam. This also applies to other computers and monitors if they're not powered off.
  • They want you to show the entire room using your webcam to make sure there isn't anything on the walls that can help you cheat, or anyone in the room who can relay answers. They want you to use your phone or a mirror to show the area around and behind your monitor to make sure you don't have post-it notes or places where you can hide notes.
  • Some longer tests will allow a 5-minute bathroom break, shorter tests will not. But you have to get confirmation from the proctor before you leave, and once you leave the room you cannot go back to any section of the test that you've already seen to ensure you don't look up the answers while away.
In Progress: MBA (IT Management), Western Governors University (31/35cu | Sep 2019)
Up Next: Perhaps an MSCS or a DBA/DM/Ph.D.

Complete:
BSBA in Computer Information Systems, 2019, Thomas Edison State University
ASNSM in Computer Science, 2019, Thomas Edison State University

B&M CC: 8.68cr, TESU: 3cr, CLEP/DSST: 15cr, Study.com: 57cr, Straighterline: 19cr, ALEKS: 9cr, TEEX: 6cr, The Institutes: 2cr, Sophia: 2cr
(121.68 credits total. 95 credits earned in 10 months, with 45 of those earned in ~3 months)
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#3
Quote:No, you cannot take the tests in a virtual machine. That is explicitly disallowed, and they even do checks to look for it as part of the proctor session. It is too easy to cheat that way. They do have a Mac OSX client as well. Not sure about Linux.

Fair enough. Linux guy on this end. I literally own zero Windows boxes. I'll just hold my nose and buy a cheap Windows laptop specifically for the purpose of proctored testing. It's not the end of the world, it's just annoying.
Quote:You need to have the area within arms reach of where you'll be testing completely clear. This includes the walls and area under, around, and behind your monitor/desk. If you have a lot of stuff visible from the webcam, you might want to cover it before the exam. This also applies to other computers and monitors if they're not powered off.

Gotcha. I'll clean off my desk and do some cleanup before each proctored exam.
Quote:They want you to show the entire room using your webcam to make sure there isn't anything on the walls that can help you cheat, or anyone in the room who can relay answers. They want you to use your phone or a mirror to show the area around and behind your monitor to make sure you don't have post-it notes or places where you can hide notes.

Okay, that makes sense.
Quote:Some longer tests will allow a 5-minute bathroom break, shorter tests will not. But you have to get confirmation from the proctor before you leave, and once you leave the room you cannot go back to any section of the test that you've already seen to ensure you don't look up the answers while away.

That's workable.

Thanks for the info. Other than the stuff I asked, is there anything else I should know before I take my first proctored exam?
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#4
I've never had a person watch me, but make sure the lighting is good in the room you are in. My husband had an issue with his test being rejected because the video was too "dark".
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#5
Study.com doesn't use proctoru but TESU does. I found it easy to do but very disturbing because you have to give them remote access to your computer and mouse. I unplugged all other devices from my home network, turned off phone and tablet. I used an old laptop that had been wiped clean of all my personal files. There was zero chance I would use any machine that has personal files on it and no way I'd give them any opportunity to access anything on my network. The laptop is now off and unplugged, never to be used again, at least not until I completely wipe the drive and reinstall an os. I think it's really stupid that TESU uses a site like that. It goes against everything we know about computer and network security.
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#6
(02-02-2019, 08:44 PM)retro Wrote:
Quote:No, you cannot take the tests in a virtual machine. That is explicitly disallowed, and they even do checks to look for it as part of the proctor session. It is too easy to cheat that way. They do have a Mac OSX client as well. Not sure about Linux.

Fair enough. Linux guy on this end. I literally own zero Windows boxes. I'll just hold my nose and buy a cheap Windows laptop specifically for the purpose of proctored testing. It's not the end of the world, it's just annoying.

Alternatively, you could just set up a small windows partition on your Linux box and dual boot into windows. When I was running a primary Linux desktop that is what I would do when I needed to run windows games. I have since moved to OS X (BSD) but I keep a dedicated Windows machine just for gaming and do all my proctored exams on my gaming PC. I could do them on my main workstation, but it has dual monitors (which is also not allowed during proctoring) and I don't feel like disconnecting my second monitor each time I want to take a test.

If you're going to be doing a lot of proctored tests it will be helpful to have a stable environment. A dedicated Windows or Mac laptop would be ideal, but that is a lot of money to invest (even for a cheap used one) just to take a few proctored exams IMO.

(02-02-2019, 08:44 PM)retro Wrote: [...]
Thanks for the info. Other than the stuff I asked, is there anything else I should know before I take my first proctored exam?

Its probably easier if you just take a look at the following youtube video. It will give you a quick rundown on the requirements and restrictions along with an overview of what to expect.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiehIf14Zkg

Aside from what is mentioned in that video, the only other thing I can think of is that some proctors are sticklers about you having a cellphone nearby but out of reach in case there is an issue during the proctoring session. If you don't have a cell phone or its not in the room some of them have been known to get testy and think you're trying to hide it or something.

Good luck!

(02-02-2019, 10:18 PM)fork Wrote: Study.com doesn't use proctoru but TESU does. I found it easy to do but very disturbing because you have to give them remote access to your computer and mouse. I unplugged all other devices from my home network, turned off phone and tablet. I used an old laptop that had been wiped clean of all my personal files. There was zero chance I would use any machine that has personal files on it and no way I'd give them any opportunity to access anything on my network. The laptop is now off and unplugged, never to be used again, at least not until I completely wipe the drive and reinstall an os. I think it's really stupid that TESU uses a site like that. It goes against everything we know about computer and network security.

I'm pretty sure all of the "live proctor" systems work that way. Screen sharing software is necessary to ensure they can see every mouse movement and such to make sure you're not doing something unexpected. The remote software they use doesn't allow them to remotely upload or download software from your desktop unless they use your computer to launch an application to do so. Yeah it's invasive, but they have to take measures to try to maintain academic integrity. It is the price you pay for the convenience of testing from home. The gaming computer I use for testing has nothing personal on it other than my games. Plus it has the whole suite of antivirus/antimalware/anti-rootkit software, though that shouldn't be that big of an issue since ProctorU (I assume its the same for the others) uses industry standard remote desktop solutions rather than their own custom software (I can't recall, but I think its either GoToMyPC or RemotePC) which should reduce (but not eliminate) the chance of getting malware during install.

Personally, I prefer the Software Secure/Remote Proctor Now solution which is what Study.com uses. They technically have the same level of access, but since it doesn't use a live proctor, its more about just capturing all your video and mouse activity. But it also feels less invasive since you know there isn't someone there staring at you while you're taking your test. Of course, the downside is that you have to wait a while for your video results to be confirmed before your exam scores can be made official.

I do like that you know at the end of your session what's going on with ProctorU. If there are any issues they stop the exam immediately, so you don't have to complete the exam and then have to come back to do it again because there was an issue with the video or something like with RPnow.

Pretty much every regular college uses one of the live proctor systems since RPnow doesn't appear to be as well known or trusted by the larger academic community yet.
In Progress: MBA (IT Management), Western Governors University (31/35cu | Sep 2019)
Up Next: Perhaps an MSCS or a DBA/DM/Ph.D.

Complete:
BSBA in Computer Information Systems, 2019, Thomas Edison State University
ASNSM in Computer Science, 2019, Thomas Edison State University

B&M CC: 8.68cr, TESU: 3cr, CLEP/DSST: 15cr, Study.com: 57cr, Straighterline: 19cr, ALEKS: 9cr, TEEX: 6cr, The Institutes: 2cr, Sophia: 2cr
(121.68 credits total. 95 credits earned in 10 months, with 45 of those earned in ~3 months)
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#7
I don't mind that there's someone there staring at me. I can ignore that. What bothers me is not knowing what they are looking at, downloading or uploading to my computer or how they are using my connection to the internet, which ultimately I'm responsible for. The chrome extension asks for a lot of permissions. I used the same old laptop for the study.com exams, but didn't have as much problem with it since there wasn't someone there live doing who knows what. I understand they are trying to preserve academic integrity, but there must be a better way. I guess if I had to do it over again I would buy a new machine that has never had any of my personal files on it and just consider it part of the cost of the degree. That still doesn't solve the issue of giving a stranger access to the internet through my IP address, though.
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#8
My biggest complaint about ProctorU is how slow the setup is. Waiting to connect, watching some girl squinting at her screen, trying to read my ID. I have taken almost 20 tests with P.U. and I think the initial interrogation took longer than any of the tests did. Proctor U is a pretty good experience, however.

However, in my opinion, they are world's better than RPNow that Study.Com uses. RPNow is simply....poor software. Poor process. Having worked for a SAAS software developer for nearly a decade, I can say that we would have been fired for putting out software that bad.

Oh well, I am thankful for the ability to Proctor from home. It is worlds better than driving in to a testing center.
Thomas Edison State University
B.A.L.S 2019. 
ASNSM - Computer Science - 2018.
Pierpont College
Board of Governor's AAS, AOE Information Systems - 2017
40 Credits from Stark State College(B&M), 100 ACE credits (mix of Straighterline, Study.Com, TECEP, etc.), TESU LIB-495 Capstone.
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#9
(02-03-2019, 07:31 AM)fork Wrote: I don't mind that there's someone there staring at me. I can ignore that. What bothers me is not knowing what they are looking at, downloading or uploading to my computer or how they are using my connection to the internet, which ultimately I'm responsible for. The chrome extension asks for a lot of permissions. I used the same old laptop for the study.com exams, but didn't have as much problem with it since there wasn't someone there live doing who knows what. I understand they are trying to preserve academic integrity, but there must be a better way. I guess if I had to do it over again I would buy a new machine that has never had any of my personal files on it and just consider it part of the cost of the degree. That still doesn't solve the issue of giving a stranger access to the internet through my IP address, though.

Won’t it help if you created a new user profile on your computer that has limited privileges? That way, they can remotely monitor you, but they won’t have access to your personal files etc.

(02-03-2019, 08:01 PM)ChilliDawg Wrote: My biggest complaint about ProctorU is how slow the setup is. Waiting to connect, watching some girl squinting at her screen, trying to read my ID. I have taken almost 20 tests with P.U. and I think the initial interrogation took longer than any of the tests did. Proctor U is a pretty good experience, however.

However, in my opinion, they are world's better than RPNow that Study.Com uses. RPNow is simply....poor software. Poor process. Having worked for a SAAS software developer for nearly a decade, I can say that we would have been fired for putting out software that bad.

Oh well, I am thankful for the ability to Proctor from home. It is worlds better than driving in to a testing center.

I think after the recent issues about RP Now’s incompatibility with Mac OS Mojave, something has changed. I have not yet updated my OS; I stalled it ever since people started posting on this forum that they are unable to take tests. So, I might be wrong in my presumption. But a week ago, the downloaded version of RP Now on my computer was suddenly deemed invalid. I was ready to take a test, but had to uninstall it, and once again download it from study.com website. Things look different now. There is a small window on the upper right corner that is continuously replaying what is being recorded. So, you can see yourself taking the test. Wonder if this is some sort of an upgrade.
TESU BALS-Psych. + ASNSM(Math): 124 Cr.

TEEX(6): Cybersecurity 101/201/301
The Institutes(2): Ethics
Sophia(2): Essentials of Managing Conflict, Dev. Effective Teams
NFA(1): Comm. Safety Edu.
GED(10): NAS-131, SOC-273, MAT-121, HUM-101 (1)
Study.com(75): Intro to Psych., Soc. Psych.-1, Growth & Dev. Psych., Personality Psych., History & Systems of Psych., Org. Theory, Library Science, Comm. at Workplace, Intro to World Religion, I/O Psychology, Ethics in Social Sciences, Org. Comm., Eng. 104, Eng. 105, History of Vietnam war, Special Ed. History & Law, Differentiated Ed., Classroom Management, Foundations of Ed., Abnormal Psych., Research methods in Psych., College Math, Intro. to Geometry., Calculus (6).
Saylor (15): Intro. to Molecular & Cellular Biology, Comparative Politics, Corporate Comm., Env. Ethics, Principles of Comm. 
TESU (1): Cornerstone, Lib. 495 Capstone.
CSM (3): Quant. reasoning. 
Aleks (6): Trigonometry, Intro to Statistics. 
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#10
No it won't help. I did that and the first thing I had to do after starting with ProctorU was enter the administrator password. So, the things they are running require admin level access.
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