What is ProctorU?

ProctorU is a service that monitors you while you’re taking your exams online to ensure academic integrity and to help you be successful. Using this service allows you to take the exam from your home or other remote location.

Why is Waterloo using ProctorU?

We are committed to providing students the opportunity to complete courses during the pandemic while maintaining a high quality of education, academic integrity, and the health, safety and well-being of our community.  Waterloo is currently restricting face-to-face exams to courses which are taught in-person. Online proctoring through ProctorU is being offered for select courses to ensure a fair and level playing field for all students, and in cases where monitored invigilation is required by an accrediting body. 

How does it work?

  • Using either Chrome or Firefox, you will need to create an account at ProctorU and download the Chrome or Firefox extension.
  • Review the details provided by your instructor with respect to duration and permitted aids.
  • Make sure you are in a private room and your desk, monitor and walls are clear. Books, bags and phones will need to be removed.
  • When you are ready to start your exam, login to your account at ProctorU and ensure the extension is enabled. Login to LEARN.
  • When you begin your assessment, the ProctorU automated system will verify your identity, request a scan of your workspace, review the rules of your exam, and allow you to launch the password protected exam.
  • You will need to show a photo WatCard to verify your identity. If you do not have a photo WatCard, you may use government-issued photo ID. If you are unable to show a WatCard of govenment-issued photo ID during your exam, please contact your instructor in advance. The pictures taken of this ID are removed from the ProctorU system 7 days after the exam.
  • If you experience any technical issues during the start-up process, ProctorU staff will work with you via chat or phone until the problem is resolved. In extreme cases when you cannot connect due to technical problems you should contact your instructor.

Do I need a special setup to take the exam?

  • Students must be alone in the room for the duration of the exam. It is your responsibility to notify others that they should not enter the room during the exam.
  • Your desk and immediate exam writing area must be cleared of books, papers, and other items that might compromise the integrity of the exam writing.
  • Devices (e.g., phones, tablets, internet-connected watches, etc.) must be removed from the space or placed at a distance from the immediate exam-writing space.
  • Only one monitor will be allowed.
  • Headsets and earbuds are not allowed.
  • You will be given the opportunity to test your system in advance of any quizzes, tests or exams that require the use of this software.

Need financial help to cover costs?

The new Academic Readiness Bursary provides assistance for students who are or will be registered in the fall 2020 term and who may incur costs related to studying remotely in the fall term, as a result of COVID-19. Applications must be received by September 30, 2020.

Review the undergraduate student funding and fee information web page for details about what this new bursary covers, determine if you are eligible, and how you can apply.

What personal information is required or recorded?  

ProctorU commits to limit the Personal Information collected to ProctorU Exam Data and student’s name, image of photo ID, telephone number, username and password, and course/test, e-mail address, test submissions, screen captures (during proctoring session only), audio and video recordings captured of the exam environment during the proctoring session, and reasonable online cookies and tracking technologies solely to improve the student’s use of ProctorU’s website.

”ProctorU exam data” means all proctoring data collected by ProctorU regarding student users during a proctored exam or related identity verification session, and it shall include webcam video/audio, desktop screenshots or video, process logs, and other hardware details of the computer used by each student user during test taking.

What happens while I am taking the test or exam?

You will be monitored and recorded during your exam to make sure that no one has any unfair advantages while testing. The ProctorU solution may capture your video, audio, screen, and web surfing particulars to protect academic integrity. During the test the Artificial Intelligence (AI) system will flag potential issues which will be reviewed by a fully trained ProctorU employee afterwards to determine if they are actually an unapprpoved activity.  Your instructor and/or authorized Waterloo employees will then be notified of any suspicious activities and will review video evidence of your session. At that time regular Waterloo processess and policies are in effect.

What are the technical requirements?

  • You will need a computer with a strong internet connection, a microphone, speakers and a web camera. Laptops work, but you cannot use a tablet, Chromebook or mobile device. You may review all equipment and technology requirements on the Equipment Requirements Help page.
  • Ensure you have downloaded the ProctorU extension before you begin. See ProctorU Extension for Chrome or Firefox.

What if I need special accommodations?

  • If you require special testing accommodations (ie additional time or screen readers), your instructor will have been advised of your needs by Accessibility Services and the proctor will be informed. You should also check with your Accommodation Consultant in advance to see if you need to adjust your academic plan.

What about my privacy?

  • ProctorU implements a high standard of privacy and security and Waterloo has reviewed this through a Privacy Impact Assessment of the use of personal information by ProctorU and a security review of the protections of the data.
  • Waterloo ensures that processes adhere to all Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FIPPA) guidelines.  As part of this, Waterloo has a contract with ProctorU that limits the use of personal information by ProctorU to the purpose of providing the proctoring service. Please also visit ProctorU’s Privacy Policy page which states “ProctorU does not use any test-taker’s personal information for any purpose other than for facilitating the proctoring of online exams. We never sell personal information to third parties."

Can I take a washroom break?

  • Brief washroom breaks are permitted and noted by the proctor for instructor review. However, it is recommended that you take any required breaks before the exam starts.
  • Normally students are expected to remain in view of the webcam for the duration of the exam or until they have completed the exam. After returning from a washroom break students must perform a new room scan including a re-inspection of the desk and the immediate exam space through a 360-degree room pan and desk sweep.

Does it negatively interfere with my computer?

  • ProctorU does not permanently impact your computer in any way. Their technicians are available to provide free basic troubleshooting for common tech issues that can occur during your session such as a slow connection or webcam issue. It is recommended that you delete or disable the browser extension after each exam is completed.

How is Academic Integrity maintained

  • Departures from academic integrity are unacceptable. If you engage in behaviors that compromise the integrity of the exam, whether during the exam or after, you may face sanctions ranging from a written warning, to a failure in the course, to a requirement to withdraw from the University, depending on the severity of the offence.
  • The following are some examples of activities that are prohibited during an exam or exam window that constitute a departure from academic integrity:
    • impersonating another student
    • copying from another student
    • making information available to another student about the exam questions or possible answers
    • communicating with another person during an exam or about an exam during an exam window, or
    • accessing unauthorized materials such as smart devices, websites, books, or unauthorized services, including online tutoring services.
  • Each exam will have an authentication process to ensure that the academic integrity of the exam is maintained.

What happens at the end of the exam?

At the conclusion of the exam you should ensure you have submitted all exam materials and deleted any duplicates and/or cleared your device’s clipboard.

What authority does Waterloo have to use ProctorU?

The University of Waterloo processes information—including personal information recorded about identifiable individuals—under the authority of the University of Waterloo Act, 1972.  The information collected and used for remote proctoring is related directly to and needed by the University for the purposes of administering online exams and maintaining the academic integrity of the exam process.

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) permits universities to collect, use and disclose personal information necessary for the proper administration of the universities and their programs and services.

What if I have questions?

Questions about exam content cannot be answered by ProctorU during the exam session and instructors are encouraged to provide guidance in advance to students on how questions will be addressed. If your instructor wishes to take questions from students during the exam the proctor may relay any exam related questions to instructors in the fashion communicated by the instructor. Otherwise, students are encouraged to document any questions or concerns in the exam space where possible.

Still have questions or concerns?

Additional test-taker information is provided on the ProctorU Test Taker Information site.

See: What Happens During the Exam Launch Process? [Note – Waterloo is using thw Automated Proctor Launch, and does not use challenge questions during the log in process.]

ProctorU provides test-taker support. You can open a support ticket, or start a live chat with their support representatives, or call (855) 772-8678.

If you experience issues with LEARN, please send an email to learnhelp@uwaterloo.ca

Questions about personal information and privacy at the University or about our responsibilities under Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy legislation, should be directed to the Privacy Officer at fippa@uwaterloo.ca.