Big Proctor Is Watching You

Webcams help distance-learning administrators keep students in line online
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2007 4:00 AM CDT
Douglas Winneg, president of Software Secure, demonstrates Friday, June 15, 2007 at the company in Cambridge, Mass., fingerprint recognition with Securexam Remote Proctor, hardware used to monitor distance...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A new device designed to monitor tests remotely helps distance-learning providers keep an eye on students who are taking exams thousands of miles away. The virtual proctor locks down the terminal so users can't search files or the Internet for answers, a 360-degree camera captures the student's actions, and a microphone records noise in the room.

One client knows some students will drop out when it beefs up surveillance, but the school says that will increase the prestige of its degree. With millions of people studying online, the potential market for the new gadget is vast, and the AP reports that standardized-test administrators welcome the possibility of turning any room into a secure testing location.