Choosing an Online Proctoring Solution Faculty Will Embrace: How Navarro College Did It

Navarro College is a two-year college in semi-rural Texas with 9,000 students across five campuses. Prior to the pandemic, they identified a need for an online proctoring solution to help ensure the integrity of exams delivered in their Learning Management System (LMS).

After a thorough selection process (more on that below), Navarro chose LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor as their online proctoring solution in Spring 2019.

Respondus Monitor was absolutely the right choice for Navarro College. The pricing is affordable, and their support is stellar. The company has been around for many years and really understands online assessments …  Respondus is truly a partner, working with us to help students.” 
~ Matt Miller, Dean of Online Instruction, Navarro College

Adoption by instructors and students grew quickly, as shown in this 2-month snapshot:

Proctoring with Respondus Monitor (August-September 2021)
exam sessions proctored with Respondus Monitor
average # of exams per course
exams proctored with Respondus Monitor
courses using Respondus Monitor

Top Factors in Choosing an Online Proctoring Solution

Before choosing a proctoring solution for use across campus, Navarro identified key factors that aligned the needs of students and teachers alike:

  • Ease of Use for Faculty & Students

    One of the top considerations by Navarro in selecting a proctoring solution was the ease of use for faculty and students. This includes not just usability, but easy access to training resources and Respondus’ world-class success team.

  • Trusted by Most Colleges & Universities

    Navarro held an informal survey to see which proctoring solutions were in use at other colleges, and the name Respondus kept coming up. The ubiquity of Respondus Monitor provided confidence to the team, along with the fact that Respondus had been in the exam integrity space for over 15 years.

  • Cost-Effective

    Another major consideration was price – the system had to be cost-effective from the start, and remain so as usage grew. Respondus Monitor held that advantage with their transparent pricing model.

  • Meets ID-Verification Needs

    Many higher education institutions require ID verification for online exams (for accreditation, ensuring test integrity, etc.). This was another requirement of Navarro’s proctoring solution.

How Navarro Achieved Campus-Wide Faculty Adoption Success

Navarro offers frequent professional development opportunities for faculty, despite having a staff of just two. Here are some best practices from their approach to ensure a smooth rollout with instructors and students:

  • 1. Start small – with a pilot.

    Navarro College piloted LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor in early 2019 and rolled it out fully for the start of their Fall 2019 semester. This timeline gives faculty the opportunity to try it out, discover early adopters who can “teach the teachers”, and allows proper time for instructors to integrate the tool into their Fall semester plans.

  • 2. Set expectations with faculty and students.

    Navarro emphasizes that proctoring technology is not magic. Instructors need to do their part in (a) designing exams that discourage cheating, (b) helping students understand what is considered cheating, and (c) ensuring that the exam integrity rules are enforced when problems arise.

    It’s also important to remind students that remote proctoring is a convenience – a privilege. If that privilege is abused, it can be revoked.

    And while the definition of cheating might seem obvious to an instructor, this might not be fully apparent to students. That’s why instructors need to be clear about what will (and won’t) be considered cheating. Students are used to looking things up on their phones – if that’s not permitted during an exam, explicitly say that. The goal is to clearly convey the boundaries of an exam violation, what should and should not be done in an exam, and to encourage students to be people of integrity.

    Finally, emphasize that the goal of online proctoring is NOT to catch students cheating, it’s to deter cheating and to create a level playing field for students in the class.

  • 3. Include an ethics statement in syllabus.

    The support staff at Navarro provide faculty with an ethics statement that can be included in the syllabus. This boilerplate text enables faculty to pick and choose the sections they need, while ensuring consistency in messaging to students.

  • 4. Provide a practice quiz.

    Practice quizzes are especially important and provide students a way to get familiar with Respondus Monitor. If a problem arises, students can work through the issues without worrying about grades. Practice quizzes are also a great way to set expectations. If there is a problem with the student’s examination environment (e.g., poor lighting; poor internet connectivity), corrective guidance can be provided by the instructor.

  • 5. Approach academic integrity as an opportunity for “teachable moments.” 

    The Online Instruction team at Navarro talks about using academic integrity issues as teachable moments. Help students understand why an honor code is used, and the importance of actually learning the material rather than making the grade. If students are solely focused on the grade for a course, rather than trying to learn as much as they can before they start their career, they might be missing the point of college.

The result of this approach? Adoption at scale. With the help of integrity applications like LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor, Navarro College now offers a flexible and consistent online testing experience for students and teachers, alike.

Bring Online Proctoring to Your Institution

For more information on how Respondus Monitor can bring consistency and flexibility to online exams across your campus, contact us today.