Blackboard proctoring, what’s the best option?

As online education continues to grow, maintaining academic integrity in assessments becomes increasingly challenging.  In response, many institutions turn to...
30 April 2024

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Blackboard proctoring, what’s the best option?

As online education continues to grow, maintaining academic integrity in assessments becomes increasingly challenging. 

In response, many institutions turn to proctoring solutions to ensure fairness and security during exams, quizzes, and other assessments conducted through LMS platforms like Blackboard.

Traditional methods of proctoring

Traditional methods of proctoring refer to the conventional ways of overseeing exams and assessments to ensure academic integrity. These methods have been in practice for many years and typically involve physical supervision of students during tests. Two primary traditional methods of proctoring are:

In-person proctoring

One of the oldest methods of ensuring exam integrity is through in-person proctoring. This involves students physically attending a testing center where a proctor monitors them during the assessment. While effective, this method is often costly and inconvenient for both students and institutions.

Webcam proctoring

With the rise of online education, webcam proctoring has gained popularity. In this method, students take exams from the comfort of their own space while their webcam records their activities. 

However, concerns regarding privacy and reliability have been raised with this approach.

Introduction to automated remote Blackboard proctoring

Challenges with traditional Blackboard proctoring methods

Challenges with traditional Blackboard proctoring methods arise due to various factors that can hinder the effectiveness and efficiency of overseeing exams and assessments on the platform. 

While Blackboard offers a convenient way to administer online exams, traditional proctoring methods used within the platform face several challenges, including:

Accessibility issues

In-person proctoring may pose accessibility challenges for students with disabilities or those located in remote areas. Similarly, webcam proctoring may require a stable internet connection and compatible devices, excluding some students from participating.

Cost concerns

Both in-person and webcam proctoring can be expensive for institutions, especially when considering the need for additional staff or software licenses. These costs can be prohibitive for smaller institutions or those operating on tight budgets.

Introduction to automated remote Blackboard proctoring

Automated remote proctoring in Blackboard offers a solution to many of the challenges associated with traditional methods. By leveraging technology, automated proctoring tools monitor students during exams using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms.

It comes with a bunch of benefits like:


Automated proctoring allows students to take exams at their convenience, without the need to schedule appointments or travel to testing centers. This flexibility benefits both students and instructors, enabling a more efficient assessment process.


Compared to in-person proctoring, automated solutions are often more cost-effective, requiring fewer resources to administer exams. This affordability makes automated proctoring accessible to a wider range of institutions, including those with limited budgets.


Automated proctoring tools can be designed with accessibility in mind, accommodating students with disabilities and those in remote locations. Features such as screen readers and adjustable font sizes ensure that all students can participate in assessments on equal footing.

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Popular automated Blackboard proctoring tools 

Several automated proctoring tools integrate seamlessly with Blackboard, offering a variety of features to meet the needs of different institutions and instructors.


ProctorU is a widely used automated proctoring service that offers live, on-demand, and automated proctoring options. It provides real-time monitoring of exams and employs trained proctors to intervene if any suspicious behavior is detected.


Honorlock is another popular choice for automated proctoring on Blackboard. It offers flexible proctoring solutions tailored to each institution’s specific requirements. 


Examity integrates seamlessly with Blackboard, allowing instructors to create secure exams with customizable settings.


SMOWL is an online proctoring solution that offers automated proctoring services. It integrates with Blackboard to monitor students during exams using AI algorithms and live proctors when necessary. 

Its proprietary technology utilizes artificial intelligence to flag potential instances of cheating during exams, providing instructors with detailed reports for review.

SMOWL proctoring plans provide features such as identity verification, browser lockdown, and behavior analysis to ensure exam integrity. This option provides flexibility and scalability while maintaining a high level of security.

Blackboard proctoring, what's the best option?

Considerations before choosing an automated proctoring tool

Before selecting an automated proctoring tool, several considerations should be taken into account to ensure the best fit for your institution or organization:

Institution’s needs

Before selecting an automated proctoring tool, institutions should assess their specific requirements, including the number of exams conducted, the level of security needed, and budget constraints.

Student privacy concerns

Automated proctoring involves the collection and analysis of sensitive data, raising privacy concerns for both students and institutions. It’s essential to choose a proctoring solution that prioritizes data security and complies with relevant regulations.


Cost is a significant factor when choosing an automated proctoring tool. Institutions should consider not only the upfront costs but also any additional fees for features like live proctoring or integrations with learning management systems like Blackboard.

User experience

The ease of use and reliability of automated proctoring tools can vary depending on factors such as interface design and technical support. Institutions should seek instructor and student feedback to ensure a positive user experience.

Integration with Blackboard

Seamless integration with Blackboard is crucial for a smooth user experience. Institutions should verify that their automated proctoring tool is compatible with their learning management system and offers robust integration options.

SMOWL, the best Blackboard proctoring option

SMOWL aims to broaden access to top-notch education by offering its remote monitoring software.

This software empowers students or users to exhibit their grasp of course content from any location with an internet connection.

Consequently, SMOWL proves invaluable for individuals needing to validate their learning remotely, regardless of their circumstances or whereabouts. 

Integrating with Blackboard enriches both tools’ functionality and user-friendliness, furnishing a more comprehensive and streamlined online learning and assessment solution. 

The newly integrated SMOWL within Blackboard consolidates all services for educators and administrators. This means that SMOWL can simplify the activation and configuration of activities and access all monitoring data without exiting the course interface.

Do you want to give it a try? Request a free demo to see how easy it is to monitor your training and assessments remotely in Blackboard.

Download now!

8 interesting


about proctoring

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