Online exam proctoring can be divisive in the education community.

To some, it is the harbinger of big brother, a step too far, infringing on privacy and student rights.

To others (myself included) it is a viable method for making education more accessible, allowing students to choose where they sit (or stand) their exams and assessments. An equalizer on a playing field of inequitable opportunities.

More than that, proctoring is a natural step in the fight to maintain academic integrity in a world where websites designed to help students cheat have been normalized and generative AI can write an essay in a matter of minutes.

However, this isn’t a diatribe on the perils of the modern world and how ‘it isn’t like it was back in my day’. Because it is just like it. Since the late 1990s, plagiarism from the internet has been a hot topic just like it is now. Back then, the concern was about the detail in book annotations and how to cite sources from the then new-fangled world wide web. I even remember the controversy over using calculators! New technology hasn’t really changed anything, and moving proctoring online doesn’t really either.

There are many types of online exam proctoring, we’ll be looking at them all in detail and their appropriate uses in this post. But, no matter the type of online exam proctoring you choose, our approach to proctoring here at Inspera is not about catching cheaters. It’s about having the right tools for academics to continue to do their jobs as technology evolves.


What is Online Proctoring?

Online exam proctoring enables educators to make well-informed decisions regarding academic integrity. It is the act of overseeing an exam through a digital platform, and ensuring the correct person is taking the exam in the right conditions. There are multiple benefits to using online exam proctoring, including accessibility, scale and potentially reduced anxiety.


The Different Types of Online Exam Proctoring

Choosing the right type of proctoring for your institution’s exams will depend on the subject matter, cohort size, assessment type and many other factors. As you know, all exams are different and different question types require different input.

There are two main types of online exam proctoring, these are:

  1. Live proctoring
  2. Recorded exam proctoring

Whether you need live proctoring for an oral assessment or a recording with AI-assisted flags for later investigation will come clear to you as you design your assessments. Working out which type of online exam proctoring is the best fit will build your confidence in the exam’s security and therefore academic integrity.

Some providers also use the term ‘Advanced automated proctoring’, but we believe in keeping things simple. You either record a candidate or watch them live. We’ll dive into this a bit further later in the post.


 Live Online Proctoring

Live online exam proctoring is the monitoring of a remote online exam or assessment in real-time through use of a webcam, microphone and other technology. At Inspera, you can also monitor the candidate’s screen. Just like in an exam hall, proctors can then ensure students are present and adhering to exam conditions, but from a remote location.

All monitoring is recorded for later review, if required.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Live Proctoring


  • Real-time monitoring: Ensures immediate response to any potentially inappropriate activity.
  • Human judgment: Experienced proctors can understand and interpret the context of that activity.
  • Scale: Without the constraint of room size, additional proctors can be added as the exam cohort expands.
  • Interactive: Candidates have a dedicated person (per group of 4 or 8) they can contact with any concerns.


  • Cost: Requires hiring trained proctors, making it more expensive.
  • Candidate privacy concerns: While providers, including Inspera, take every precaution when it comes to data privacy and handling, anecdotal candidate perception can cause apprehension.
  • Proctor-dependent: The reliability and integrity of results are highly dependent on the person proctoring.


 Recorded Proctoring

Recorded proctoring relies on the recording of the remote online exam only, with no monitoring of the assessment in real-time. A proctor or educator can then review the recordings manually (at their chosen speed) or only the flags raised by AI so decisions can then be undertaken according to each institution’s policy.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Recorded Proctoring


  • Flexibility: Exams can be taken at any time without scheduling proctors.
  • Cost-effective: Without the need for live monitoring during the exam, proctors are only needed as part of the review process.
  • Reduced privacy concerns: Less pressure on candidates compared to live monitoring.


    • Delayed response: Flagged activity can only be addressed after the fact.
    • Review time: Requires time to review the recordings thoroughly if watching each submission in full.


 Advanced Automated Proctoring

As mentioned previously, at Inspera, we don’t use this term. However, we know that other providers do, so in the interests of being clear, we’re including it here.

Advanced automated proctoring uses advanced technology like video and audio monitoring and face recognition to check for further indication of inappropriate conduct. However, we take the view that all proctoring should be reviewed by a human as they are best placed to make academic misconduct decisions

The reason we refer to only live and recorded proctoring is that those features are included as standard with Inspera Proctoring so that a human can make a decision. All options include face recognition identity checks and use AI to flag potential misconduct, we don’t see the need to make this a separate feature.

Any flagged behavior can be reviewed by the institution to check it is within their policy. All decisions are made by humans.


What Types of Actions Can Get Flagged During an Online Proctored Exam?

Flags can be raised for a wide range of behaviors, these include the candidate talking to someone else, another person sitting the exam or simply browsing outside the permitted sites and apps for information.

Most importantly, these are flags and only flags. When these are reviewed by proctors or educators, they can be disregarded as false positives, preventing false allegations against candidates where this conduct is pertinent to the exam they are sitting.


How to Choose the Right Online Proctoring Solution?

Each method has its strengths and weaknesses, and the best choice depends on your specific requirements:

  • Nature of the exam: Is this a closed or open book online assessment? Written or oral? A closed-book written exam will need different provisions than a multiple choice test from a reusable question bank
  • Budget and resources: The availability and budget for proctors can often be deciding factors between live and recorded proctoring.
  • Candidate comfort and privacy: You know your cohort best and what will suit their needs.
  • Scalability and accessibility: How large is your cohort and do they all need to sit the exam at the same time? What other needs should be provided for?


What to Look for in a Proctoring Solution

When selecting a proctoring solution for exams or assessments, there are several key factors to consider to ensure that the solution meets your needs effectively:

  • Security and Privacy
  • User Experience
  • Costs
  • Real-Time Interaction
  • Scalability
  • Technology and Features
  • Reporting


How Can Inspera Help You Maintain Integrity With Online Exam Proctoring?

Inspera has worked with hundreds of education providers and can help you transform your digital assessment and proctoring. We have expanded our proctoring solution to offer both live and recorded proctoring solutions that you can scale where needed with as little as 24 hours notice.


The Future of Assessment

Online exam proctoring is the future in the world of education. As educators of each new generation, it’s important to be the vanguard of innovation and to maintain academic standards. Choosing the right proctoring solution will help your institution remain relevant to candidates. The wealth of experience Inspera has in the edtech sector will give your institution the edge needed.

Academic integrity will always be a concern, as it should be. And no matter which solution you choose to maintain it, it’s vital we focus on how we can empower educators positively as technology evolves.