FAQ about remote proctored exams at WUR

In this article you can find the most frequently asked questions related to off campus digital exams at Wageningen University. These exams will in most cases use online (remote) proctoring to prevent cheating.

This article will explain the topics in these FAQ's:

The basics

What is an remote proctored exam?

Online or remote proctoring is a way to take an exam online in a secure way. While taking the exam the webcam of your computer and the microphone are used to record you and your surroundings. These recordings are reviewed afterwards. 

Will all exams be remote proctored exams?

No. In contrast to the previous academic year, examination is on campus again (except for distance learning students). 

Remote proctoring may be a valid solution when you have specific circumstances (not being in quarantine or ill). You may request this facility via the students deans office.

If you have to be in quarantine you can send a request to your examiner to take your exam at home with online proctoring. Keep in mind that not all exams are designed for online proctoring so your examiner may also suggest another solution.

Where can I see an example?

There is a try-out exam available. Read this article on how to do the try-out. This try-out exam helps you to prepare for the real exam.

How do I start an exam in Ans?

Please check the videos on the try-out exam page.

You first have to start the remote proctoring software. When you follow the login procedure it will guide you through the necessary steps.

Exam quality

Can you cheat during an online proctored exam?

Well, if we knew how to cheat, we would of course block that option.

Next to the secure browser, we also try to spot ‘outliers’ in results to study the recordings in more detail and take random samples to do a second round of proctoring. In this way, we can guarantee the quality of our assessment and therefore your education.

What happens if my exam is flagged?

If the proctor flags your exam, it means something happened that might not be in line with the exam rules of Wageningen University. The flagged material is reviewed again by the WUR video review team. If they decide that indeed something happened that can be considered suspicious, they write a report for the examining board explaining what happened. The Examining Board always contacts the student and the course examiner to hear both sides of the story before making a decision.

Please check these examples to see what happens in every step:

Example 1
Example 2

Getting ready for an online exam

How can I participate in an online exam?

Please see the information provided in Exams off-campus.

Did I do the try-out exam properly?

The try-out exam is NOT checked, neither your answers nor whether you cleaned your desk properly prior to the try-out exam.

The try-out exam is for you to get familiar with the procedure: test your computer, experience how long the preparation takes, how to do a room scan etc.

I tried the try-out exam but couldn't log in, what's wrong?

In most cases that we looked into, students didn't click on the link for the try-out exam. Did you also make that mistake?

Another common mistake is not selecting 'Digital Examination: WUR' as sponsor in the beginning of the process.

Common mistake
I have permission to use extra time / bigger paper / silent room / etc. What should I do if I take the exam online?

Some facilities (= options to facilitate in a functional limitation) are now your own responsibility. For example, a quiet room or a good chair during the exam. 

The use of larger fonts and text-to-speech software is standard available in the digital test software (Ans). Extra time is automatically added for students that included their (previously approved) facilities when registering for the test in Osiris. In Ans text to speech software and larger fonts are standard available.

Facilities such as the use of (noise cancelling) headphones, are not an option, as these cannot be checked. Using these will be flagged.

If you have a condition that wasn’t a problem during on-campus exams, or a new condition that affects your ability to take the (online)exam, please check this webpage and contact the students deans office.

We are aware of all facilities that are ‘regularly’ offered to students in the special exam-PC-room. When you want to bring your specific facility (granted by the examining board through the student deans) to our attention, and know how this might be provided in this new setting, please send an email to digital.examination@wur.nl and include your teacher in cc.

I don’t have a suitable laptop or computer, what should I do?

You can ask someone if you can borrow one for the exam. Think of family, neighbors, fellow students, friends from a study or student association, sport friends or teammates. Maybe you can find local initiatives that support locals borrowing from each other (apps like Peerby or NextDoor).

I would like to know if internet limitations imposed by a government or Internet providers (e.g. firewalls) could create extra problems for digital exams.

The only way to see how these types of measures affect your ability to take exams is by taking the try-out exam. If that one works, your exam will work as well (when conditions do not change).

What should I do if I get the error network bandwidth too low?
Bandwidth Too Low

When you get an error message stating that your bandwidth is too low there are few options available:

  • Retry in a few minutes. In many cases it was a temporary congestion.
  • Ask your housemates to stop streaming / netflixing etc. and try again.
  • Follow this article  from the PSI knowledgebase and try again. 
What should I do if I don’t have a suitable room (or a room with a good internet connection) to take the exam?

You may look into other places you might be able to take the exam, like somewhere in your neighborhood (respecting social distancing measures), maybe at the house of a relative or friend.

I have difficulties participating in a remote proctored exam, what should I do?

We offer a try-out exam for every student to test if they can arrange the right setup and equipment for the online exams and to experience the procedures and software. 

  • If you face technical problems (hardware and or software related), send an email to servicedesk.it@wur.nl
  • If you face personal problems (this includes specific medical conditions or functional limitations that are not an issue during on campus exams, but now become an issue), send an email, as soon as possible, to studentdean@wur.nl 

Please know that while we do our best to help every student, this request is primarily intended to gain insights in the number of students who cannot participate in the online exams and the reasons why this is not possible. While we will make any effort to help facilitating these students, there is no guarantee that we are able to find a solution.

Room scan

How do I perform a proper room scan?

Make sure you take your time for the room scan. The time used for your room scan is not deducted from the time you get for your exam. You are allowed to talk during the room scan, which enables you to explain why certain objects might be present in your room. Scan your room very slowly, so the PSI proctor can determine whether anything suspicious is present. Furthermore, make sure your desk is completely clear (only the allowed materials are there).

I can't move my webcam. How can I scan my room?

If your webcam is attached to your desktop, or you are unable to move your camera to scan your testing space you must use a mirror. If you need to use a mirror you must follow the tips below:

  • Show both sides of the mirror
  • Be sure to clearly show everything in the area you are in and around you
  • Move slowly and carefully check whether the recording you made clearly shows all of your room. If the video is ‘blurred’ it will be marked as suspicious, so do check your recording carefully and repeat the room scan when required. The time used for the room scan is not deducted from the time you get for the exam. 
I don’t have a webcam, or my webcam and microphone are not working, what should I do?

Most modern laptops have a built-in webcam which is sufficient for the remote proctoring exam. If you have a webcam and microphone but the software says you don’t you may call the Servicedesk IT (+31 317 488888 Mon-Fri 08:00-17:30) for assistance.

If your webcam or microphone is broken or your laptop does not have these, you might look at alternatives. You can ask your friends or relatives if you can borrow one for the exam. And you might have a digital photo-camera which is capable of recording video. If this camera has a webcam mode (most camera’s will present a selection screen on the camera as soon as you connect them to your computer) you can run the system-check to check whether this camera is sufficient.

How 'clean' should my room be? Should I remove books from the bookshelves for example?

It should be clear that there is no option for you to cheat the exam. A closed book on a book shelf is therefore not a problem, but don't leave any books on your desk or within an arms-reach.

Of course you don't need to remove the posters from your wall, as long as it will be clear for the Wageningen video review team that you can not use this to cheat.

What if I don’t have place to do the exam with a table or desk?

You have to sit behind a desk or table for your online exams. And the desk should only hold the allowed materials.

We encourage you to have an ergonomic work place during your online exam. Sitting on a bed or on the floor is not a suitable workplace for working more than an hour on a exam.

During the exam

Should I enter my WUR email address or my personal email address?

Please use your WUR email address. There is no need to expose your personal mail address.

When using my WUR-card to identify myself, should I enter my first name or just my initials as printed on my WUR-card

Please enter your name exactly as shown on the identification you're showing the camera, in this case your WUR-card.

What should I do if the name on my WUR-card does not match the name in my passport/ID-card?

Please enter your name exactly as shown on the identification you're showing the camera (WUR-card or passport or ID-card).

Why do I have to wait 15 minutes after starting the exam before I can close the exam again?

This is comparable to an on-campus exam where you have to sit in the exam room for at least 30 minutes after the start of the exam before you may leave again. This is to give any students who are running a bit late a chance to start the exam without anyone being able to pass on the exam questions to them.

I get notifications that some software (e.g. Skype, Photoviewer) is still running although I closed it down in the interview/check phase, what to do?

Some software is very persistent and might not fully close after you give that command. Best is to close&quit tools such as Skype or Skype4Business prior to starting. If the software still blocks your access to the exam, try to close it with the taskmanager (Windows) or Force Quit (Mac). If that doesn't work close the secure browser and restart your computer.

You might get a message that the remote proctoring still finds Skype or the Photoviewer running in Windows 10 at some stage in the procedure. You may ignore this message (click ok).

Can I use a laptop stand (and an additional computer mouse)?

Yes, we encourage you to have an ergonomic work place during your online exam (and during your online courses too of course). So you may place your laptop on a laptop stand and use a mouse instead of the mousepad. An additional monitor is not allowed.

How are online exams monitored?

No real-time monitoring takes place in a remote proctored exam.

During the exam, through the PSI Secure Browser, the images of your webcam and your screen and the sound recorded by your microphone are recorded.

Can you eat a snack or drink something during the exam?

Yes, you can eat or drink during the exam. However, you cannot leave the room to grab a snack or drink, it has to be ready at hand before you start your room scan. During the room scan, you have to show the food or drink to the camera from all angles. Only see-trough beverages are allowed, like water and your snack has to be unpacked, like fruit, a sandwich, or an unwrapped candy bar.

I'm afraid that during the exam my internet connection might fail

Of course it’s smart to ask other users of your internet connection, e.g. other family members or house mates, to reduce their internet use during your exam. Nevertheless, the connection might fail during the exam. As stated before, we’ve been using this technology for our online master students for 5 years, so we know this can happen.

In the exam, every answer is saved as soon as you go to the next question. Moreover, there is some buffering happening in the background, so during a short drop in the internet speed, take a breath, wait a minute and try to continue.

When nevertheless there is a longer interruption and you can’t continue, do call (by phone) the support number on the support pages to get instructions how to finish your exam. The answers to your exam are saved regularly.

How can I check how much time I have left in the exam?

In the top bar of the exam software a timer is shown. A signal is given 5 minutes before your time is up. When time is up the software automatically saves your answers and closes the exam.

Where can I get help if something happens during the exam?

Once you have opened the PSI secure browser and passed the microphone check a Contact Support button is available in the top bar of the browser. There you can find answers to frequently asked questions, links to PSI support pages for technical issues and the WUR exam support telephone number. On this page we will also keep you informed of problems that have arisen during your exam. 

In the invitation for the exam that you will receive from your teacher the WUR exam support telephone number will also be mentioned. 

You might have remarks or questions on on the content of the exam (question has wrong wording etc.) or you want to explain something that has happened during the exam. You can use the comments option which appears after you have submitted the exam.

When you're taking the try-out exam and run into technical issues, please contact the Servicedesk IT (+31 317 488888 Mon-Fri 08:00-17:30).

Contact support button availability
Can I have a phone on my desk to call the support number when I need them?

No, you are not allowed to have a (cell)phone on your desk. Please switch your phone to silent mode and store the phone out of reach (for example behind you or on your bed). During the exam you are only allowed to use your phone to call the support number. Don't forget to put the phone out of reach again after a call.

Is it allowed to go to the toilet during a remote proctored exam?

It is sometimes allowed to take a toilet break during a remotely proctored exam, but not always. You will receive specific instructions before the start of each exam, including information about the toilet break.

For some exams you are allowed one toilet break of five minutes maximum during the exam any time you want to. This will be clearly stated in the instruction before the start of your exam.

For remote proctored exams that have a standard duration of 90 minutes or less, no toilet break is possible.

Whether a toilet break is allowed is based on the standard duration of an exam. If you are given extra time to take your exam, you are not allowed to go to the toilet more often.

Privacy

How does WUR guarantees the privacy of students with online proctoring?

We do our most to protect your privacy. Online proctoring is not a new application. WUR has 7 years of experience and with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) the procedures even became stricter to further ensure privacy.

WUR is accountable for the data of students, therefore there are contracts with PSI with our own terms and conditions. These contracts are currently being updated further to include the latest regulations and good practices concerning privacy. PSI has restrictions to look at the data and is not able to share the data with others, except for those partners who are needed to support the provided services. These parties are part of the agreements, and must fulfill the same obligations as PSI.

Additional actions include a privacy impact assessment, information security assessments, privacy and retention period statements  PSI is of course involved and cooperates with WUR to ensure privacy as well as functionality.

WUR privacy officers are involved and advise the scaling of the proctoring activities. This is elaborated in the official privacy statement.

For more information please visit: About Privacy

Which forms of ID are acceptable?

We strongly recommend using your WURcard.

When you don’t have your WUR-card available, you can use your passport or driver’s license. If you do so, don’t forget to block of (e.g. with a post-it note or some paper/painters-tape) information such as your Citizens-ID and the document-ID. This is not only mentioned on the passport/IDcard, but also on the letter/number code on the bottom. For example, a Dutch post-it-ed passport would then look like this:

ID Example
How are online exams monitored?

No real-time monitoring takes place. During the exam, through the PSI Secure Browser, the images of your webcam, sound registered by your microphone and the screen are recorded. Afterwards, in a secure viewing facility, PSI employees will check these video's to confirm your identity and spot suspicious behaviour.

Who has access to the video material of my exam?

The video material of your exam will be reviewed by a qualified employee of our partner, PSI, and the video review team of WUR. All members of the video review team will be bound by a Non Disclosure Agreement.

In case of irregularities or fraudulent behavior , the review team will report this to the Examining Board. Only in case of an appeal, the Examining Board is allowed to watch the videos if needed, together with the student. If the student refrains from reviewing the recordings, the Examining Board may do so without the student.

Why is my video recording saved for 3 months if the video is reviewed much sooner?

PSI does not store data longer than necessary. For proctoring the video, audio and desktop recording will be stored for 3 months starting from the start of the exam. Exams will be proctored by PSI within 2 to 3 weeks after taking the exam. Hereafter the data is needed by WUR for determining if an exam is valid or not followed by the possibility for a student to follow an appeal procedure. After 3 months the data will be automatically deleted.

In exceptional cases WUR can store this data longer than 3 months in case it is needed for an appeal procedure. In this case data will be saved and stored by WUR, but will be deleted by PSI.

Why may computers not be updated within approx. a month before taking the exam?

Due to technical reasons PSI can't guarantee their secure browser working on these latest major versions provided by the suppliers. It is not uncommon for Apple and Microsoft to add last minute changes before launching updates. It is possible the secure browser functionality does not perform properly with these changes as PSI is not able to test these last minute changes.

When you did update your computers, don’t worry, do the try-out exam. If the secure browser and try-out exam works properly, your exam will work as well. If not, contact the IT servicedesk and ask them for help.

Is it allowed by GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) use online proctoring?

Yes, online proctoring can be used if demands from the GDPR are met. In short this means WUR must have a legal purpose, perform a privacy assessment as well as have proper security and privacy measures in place. These measures are demanded by WUR to PSI/Software Secure as well.

WUR understands recording your home can make you feel uncomfortable. WUR has only two purposes for processing this data; ensure the identity of the person taking an exam is correct and no fraud during an exam is committed. It may be other details are recorded, but none of this data is part of the purpose of online proctoring nor will be used in any way. Besides, all WUR-staff with access to the recordings of the exams will have signed Non-Disclosure Agreements before having access to the recordings.

Is the proctoring app safe to use?

Yes, the dedicated secure browser, the application and the connection are secured. The connection is encrypted with a TLS 1.2 protocol. The proctoring application is only active when you start it.

Why does the software ask me for my location (see picture)? What happens if I cannot share my location?

The systems check uses your location to determine your bandwidth more accurately. If you cannot or do not want to share your location, don’t worry, you can still take the exam.

location warning
What is desktop monitoring?

During the exam your laptop desktop is being monitored by the proctoring software. The software records what you see on your screen, but cannot interact nor change anything on your laptop. The monitoring sees what you see on your laptop screen.

WUR understands that students might have documents with names containing bits of information that may be confidential. We trust the proctors from our supplier as well as our own, as there are measures to prevent unauthorized disclosure. However, it always is recommended to store documents in a dedicated 'My documents' maps.

Why is the privacy statement under the Software Secure terms and conditions not working?

WUR is aware of this issue and notified PSI (formerly known as Software Secure) to repair the link. The correct link should be https://www.psionline.com/privacy/privacy-policy.

However, the WUR privacy statement is leading as WUR remains accountable for the data processed by PSI. WUR has additional privacy and security clauses in our contracts with PSI, ensuring a higher level of assurance to the use of data.

What should I do if I don’t want my room on video?

You may consider removing any objects from your room, or placing them in a closet, that you don’t want others* to be able to watch on your video recording. You may also consider finding an alternative place for your exam. Any room for yourself with a good Internet connection and a door that closes will do.

See also Who has access to the video material.

I have more questions about privacy in relation to online exams, who can I contact?

Should you have a specific privacy question, please contact us at privacy@wur.nl. WUR ensures that your question is answered as quickly and complete as possible. It is important to describe your question as fully as possible, mention what your concern is and to clarify who you are. This is necessary in order to provide you with a more specific and quicker answer.

Is your question not in the FAQ?

Send an email to digital.examination@wur.nl with the subject ‘Student question’. Make sure to mention your student number, study programme and which exams you are about to take.