Date: Thursday, October 1, 2020
Subject: Honorlock and Exam Space
As you know, COVID-19 has created many challenges for UMass Dartmouth as a community of learners. The proctoring of online exams is but one of these challenges.
Last semester the campus made the decision to adopt Honorlock as its primary online exam proctoring tool. Honorlock underwent a rigorous vetting and approval process prior to its adoption and is provided free of charge to all UMass Dartmouth students.
In recent weeks a number of concerns have been raised about Honorlock, particularly surrounding issues of student privacy. These concerns are understandable but Honorlock’s privacy policies address them directly. Here are some important things you should know about Honorlock and its capabilities and privacy protections.
Honorlock provides a secure learning environment for students when taking exams. It is able to accommodate students’ accessibility needs by giving instructors the option to make necessary accommodations, including allowing for longer testing periods. Please contact the Center for Access and Success if you have any questions about accommodations and related matters.
During exams, Honorlock flags certain behaviors or unusual activity during an exam. This information is only accessible to instructors if they determine they need to investigate whether any academic misconduct has occurred during an Honorlock proctored exam or assessment.
Honorlock protects student privacy and is fully compliant with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law that guarantees the privacy of sensitive student information. All information collected during an exam is FERPA protected and is used for educational purposes only. Honorlock does not share or sell student information to third parties. A detailed review of their privacy policies is available at: https://honorlock.com/student-privacy-statement/.
While Honorlock is designed to proctor exams, the data collected are not designed to prove that academic misconduct has occurred in and of itself. Rather, instructors have the option to review any “flagged” behavior to determine whether the behavior constitutes evidence of academic misconduct. Honorlock does not directly monitor secondary devices, such as tablets or phones, or network traffic other than the student’s usage during the exam only on the computer or device that is being used to complete the exam or assessment.
Students are encouraged to inform their instructors of any issues or special circumstances prior to completing an Honorlock proctored exam or assessment. We understand that students may face a range of challenges when taking exams online. Among these are access to reliable internet or technology, or a quiet and private space for test-taking. If you expect to face these types of difficulties please reach out to your instructor so they can work with you to identify alternatives, if possible.
If something unexpected occurs during your exam space —someone enters the room, you have to step away, loud noises etc.— while you are taking an exam, please contact your instructor after completing the exam so they have the information and the context they need to make an informed judgment in the event the incident is flagged by Honorlock. If you are having difficulty finding a suitable place to complete an exam, please note that space is available on campus at the Claire T. Carney library. You need only to report to the Learning Commons Desk on the 1st floor across from Library Administration.
The Library has established two rooms equipped with partitions to support the privacy requirements of Honorlock. There is a room available should you need to use a library computer, as well as a room available if you have your own laptop. A library staff member will admit you to the room of your choice; which will be locked to ensure that the space is preserved for exam use only.
The faculty and staff here at UMass Dartmouth are committed to your success and take your concerns seriously. I hope this message helps to address the concerns that have been raised about remote exam proctoring during this period of widespread remote and online learning.
Thank you for your time and attention. Best wishes for a safe and successful semester!
Michael D. Goodman, Ph.D.
Acting Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Professor of Public Policy