The Present & Future Landscape of Education
In an ever-growing digital world, education, too, is under a constant upgradation with the infusion of new-age technology, at different stages, from admissions to placements. A growing student population is also driving the consequent need for a quality education which is affordable and conveniently accessible.
Although the shift towards technology has begun, as the global economy prepares itself for the fourth industrial revolution, with technology and automation leading the way, the education system needs to jump on the bandwagon to give way to a more robust and flexible structure that is in tandem with the future of jobs. With an increasing demand for new-age courses, the scope of online education has expanded ,resulting in a growth spurt. With the online education expected to grow by leaps and bounds, there is an imminent need for educational institutions to move towards an online mode of education. Processes including admissions, fees, learning material, student information, attendance, etc. have rapidly digitized, saving a lot of resources.
The digital learning space, after being given a suspicious eye, given its physical disconnect with the learner, is finally witnessing a sudden surge in the number of online learners.
With an increasing number of global universities entering the digital learning space, offering full-fledged degrees and certifications, technology is being used to clamp down on cases of cheating and academic fraud.
Massive open online courses, or MOOCs as they are commonly known , are the new fad in digital education. Affordable and flexible, the online learning space uses technology for delivering lectures, as well as for conducting examinations. These courses are open to all and are a great way to add skills on the go.
While latest technology interventions, using AI/ ML are yet to be trusted and explored on a larger scale for examinations, a growing number of institutions are broadening their horizons to explore digital education. Examinations play a crucial role in the disbursement of education but the authenticity of processes and results are significant concerns and thus technology is being being seriously considered to put these concerns to rest.
Challenges Faced in Digitizing the Educational Landscape
As things work around us, anything high stake moves at its own pace, often with varying degrees of resistance, especially when it is about adapting to change. Such changes are disruptive and are, therefore, slow to come by.
The toughest step in moving towards digitization is the decision to implement it. With most institutions following a set process for decades, this change has been slow and most difficult for them to adapt.
The idea of classroom examination being closely and physically invigilated has been internalized by the education system and hence the move towards fully online assessments is often looked down with distrust. Online examinations (in complete virtual mode) are often questioned on their credibility, with arguments such as who took the exam and whether unfair means were used.
Although, some of the major large-scale common examinations happen on a LAN center-based online test model, there is still scope for that leap of faith to move completely to an online exam, where candidates can be present anywhere, can yet be monitored live in the virtual world, to ensure authenticity and credibility of the examination.
Technology has evolved tremendously to offer robust, scalable, authentic and auditable solutions to authorities and institutions, willing to take that step and test new-age technologies.
Proctoring - A Technology Enabled Solution
Remote proctoring is a technology that uses a combination of manual and AI-based remote invigilation technologies to conduct remote online assessments that prevent candidates from indulging in any unfair means. Remote proctoring allows a test to be taken from any location, provided the candidate has a computer, webcam, speaker and a high-speed internet connection.
Remote proctoring gained popularity due to technology reaching the global hinterlands, making online learning possible, even in remote areas. With the growth in the number of distant online learners and test-takers, remote proctoring started becoming the go-to technology to conduct these tests in a highly secure environment that lent the much-needed credibility to these assessments.
Online live remote proctoring provides institutions a traditional examination hall scenario in the virtual world. Candidates have to go through a live authorization process by submitting their live image as well as an image of their valid ID proof. Only after the live authorization, a candidate can access the test. During the entire course of the exam, the candidates are monitored live by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and/ or human proctors sitting at centralized authorized locations. The AI raises red flags in case of suspicious activities ,such as the candidate looking away from the test screen, identifying additional person/s, device detection,or an attempt to move away from test screen etc.
For a post-exam audit, institution/ authorities can also refer to recorded videos of each candidate during the test, along with a detailed report with time logs and records of the red flags raised.
Online Remote Proctoring – The Wholesome Solution for Credible Online Examinations
The traditional examination system needs reform at various levels and remote online proctoring caters to those challenges by providing more efficient processes, minus any logistical hassles.
With multi-level checks, it ensures that only a genuine candidate is authorized to access the test. The candidate is monitored throughout the exam to control malpractices and record suspicious activities for a future audit.
The Remote online proctored examination model eliminates the need for physical test centers, extensive loads of papers, time for manual evaluation by faculty, and restriction due to physical requirement of the key stakeholders – institution's admin and other teams, candidates at test centers, and the presence of the faculty in the institution only for an evaluation, etc. Candidates have the freedom to give the exam from any convenient location and institution, and still undertaking it in an authenticated manner.
With lesser logistical hassles and infrastructural needs, online remote proctored exams help institutions save huge costs. Institutions invest significant time and effort to conduct pen-paper exams in the campus, like the opportunity cost in arranging examination halls within the campus, aligning team members for planning, execution, invigilation, response/answer sheets management etc. In addition to this, faculty spends significant man hours in evaluating papers and manually preparing results. Almost all of these tasks can be automated using the available technology and the time and cost involved can be better utilized by institutions for other important tasks.
Online assessments, given from a designated venue with a physical invigilation, will eventually become a thing of past, as they will be unable to match the cost, efficiency, economies of scale, and reachability. As the outreach increases, calling candidates at a venue will require a reasonable budget. Online proctoring is a scalable and efficient means for institutions to undertake a global outreach. Since space is no longer a concern while conducting online proctored examinations, it allows for conducting large-scale exams, simultaneously, resulting in more exam takers, without depending on the already limited quality test centers.
The use of proctoring technologies to oversee online learners and assessments will have a significant positive impact on the online education as a whole, providing the same credibility and experience of a physical classroom.
Success Story of Digital Technology Adoption by Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore
IIM Bangalore, lauded as one of the top B-schools in India, stepped into the digital learning space with MOOCs in all areas of management. In their attempt to provide quality education to all and sundry, IIMBx, their digital learning initiative, was faced with certain concerns:
Mettl’s proctoring platform enabled them to conduct online examinations with the desired quality, catering to all their concerns by offering a robust and credible solution.
IIMB’s academic integrity and brand reputation depended on the quality and rigor of the exams conducted by them, hence Mettl empowered them to uphold the quality of their exams through a multi-layer proctoring. AI powered proctoring was administered with an additional layer of human proctoring for maximum credibility and minimum suspicion.
A detailed individual report with time logs, red flags and credibility index gave further assurance for a post-exam audit with an authenticated information.
Similarly, other institutes across the country have trusted Mercer Mettl’s Online Remote Proctoring Solution to conduct some of their exams completely online – Indian School of Business (ISB), Ashoka University, Praxis Business School, Bennett University, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES), Alliance University, SP Jain Global, Goa Institute of Management (GIM), and OP Jindal Global University, to name a few.
How Mercer | Mettl Can Help?
Mercer | Mettl’s online examination platform, certification platform, and remote proctoring services come together to revolutionize and digitize the educational landscape in a seamless and secure way, with the following features:
- Conduct variety of examinations – Entrance/Admission, Term/Semester/Internal, Industry Preparation, Contests/Scholarships/Hackathons, Certification Assessments etc.
- Lower Costs, Saves Time, Wider Reach, More Secure - More efficient processes with less operational hassles.
- Comprehensive anti-cheating solutions while ensuring auditability.
Topics: Online Remote Proctoring