4.22.20: Update for Summer 2020: Policy on Online Exam Proctoring

A message to faculty and instructional staff regarding online exam proctoring for Summer 2020 from Provost Farrell.

As those of you who have taught online courses in prior terms know, Lehigh has allowed faculty to require students to use exam proctoring services to proctor online exams. The requirement has been that Lehigh would not pay for this institutionally, so either a program needed to include these expenses in program costs – as is the case for our MBA program – or notify students in advance that enrolled students would be required to pay for exam proctoring, just as they pay for textbooks. This policy is consistent with R&P 3.7.1, which specifies that in-class exams are to be proctored.

The move to remote learning midway through the spring term was an extraordinary situation that left us with some difficult decisions. Students were already facing a transition to remote learning for all courses, and for some there would be some significant technical issues. Did we want to allow online proctoring when this might put in place additional technical burdens with no notice? Was it fair to ask students to pay for online proctoring of exams, essentially giving them an unexpected expense part way through the term? If we didn’t want students to pay for unforeseen proctoring – and we did not – then did we want to allocate our re sources in this way? 

Given these considerations, we urged faculty to take reasonable measures to promote academic integrity and follow best practices that reduce the likelihood of academic integrity violations, without using paid proctoring services. Faculty could certainly use Zoom video conferencing during exams, as they do during their courses; we had already vetted Zoom and already had an enterprise site license, and felt comfortable with the reliability of the service – and we knew there was no additional cost to students.

The start of the summer term gives us a chance to review our policies. All courses will be online this summer, but students know this going in, and they have a chance to review expectations for both technology and expense. Likewise, we have a better chance to investigate additional proctoring services. Many faculty members have explored ways to assess student learning that do not rely on traditional closed-book exams. If those approaches are working for you, we encourage you to continue using those approaches. However, traditional closed-book exams remain important for other courses and we want to offer a solution to those faculty. 

In the summer 2020 term, Lehigh will revert to its policy of allowing faculty to utilize online proctoring services during exams. This is in keeping with practices from previous summer terms and courses that were held online in the pre-pandemic environment.  Faculty who wish to require the use of an online proctoring service will need to do the following:

1)      Clearly indicate, before the end of the spring semester, if students will be required to pay for any proctoring services. This ensures that students are aware of expenses related to the course before the start of summer term.

2)      Use only a university-approved proctoring service. ProctorU is currently our only approved proctoring service; LTS is reviewing other options, and I expect that LTS will be providing at least one other option before the start of the summer term. As you get additional information about the specific costs of proctoring for your course, this information can be provided to students via RAS.


Pat Farrell