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SMOWL detects other sites. How does it do it?

In the following lines, we detail how SMOWL detects other sites and how we show it to the training entity....
13 July 2022

In the following lines, we detail how SMOWL detects other sites and how we show it to the training entity. This data is helpful because it reveals whether the person taking an online exam has surfed the Internet during the exam. That is, if they have performed a permitted or penalized activity. 

After reading this article, you will see that our proctoring system is not only reliable in the registration and validation of the student through the capture of images. It goes further.

It monitors the activity of the test, not only in terms of the user’s physical behavior but also their behavior inside and outside the computer system

So much so that, in the PC version, SMOWL detects whether another device is open in addition to the LMS, for example, a word processor, image editor, excel, calculator, etc.

smowl detects other devices

The report also contains a history of web browsing. 

Let’s look at this last piece of evidence in detail.

How do I know if SMOWL detects other sites during an online test?

First of all, you have to know that our main monitoring legs are four: 

  • camera
  • desktop
  • audio
  • people

The SMOWL + version is the one that allows us to monitor the second one. Within the possibilities of this version of proctoring, you can choose more or fewer filters, among which you will find the one related to the detection of web browsing.  

You will see it reflected in the report by category in this way:

smowl incident report

The computer version activates an incident when SMOWL detects a web page the user opens from the same browser or another. It also details which URL is selected so that the entity has a record of it. 

In this case, a red visual sign will appear in the complete report delivered at the end of the monitoring after the student’s disconnection. 

If everything is correct and SMOWL has not detected another page, it will appear like this:

smowl detects other sites

As you can see, the web navigation point has nine actions, none of which is significant because it is allowed by the educational institution. If it were not, the number of times the user has opened other URLs would appear in red. 

This shows the external queries made by the student, not only the punctual ones but also if they are recurrent and their destination.

You may think it is unnecessary during an exam to visit any external source, but imagine that it is a type of evaluation that asks you for your social network profile or has a free field for you to present a specific example of news. In these cases, web browsing may be allowed.

It also detects the browser and browsing time.

Yes, the pc version not only shows whether the user is surfing the Internet but even from which browser or browsers they are doing so.

pdf in an online exam

Depending on how the filters are configured, the browser will be displayed in green or red, depending on whether it is a legal or illegal activity, and the total time spent on the network.

online test activity report

SMOWL detects other devices and programs 

Likewise, as we have already mentioned, SMOWL detects other pages and even additional actions such as opening other applications. 

Regarding devices, we mean if, for example, SMOWL detects two active monitors, an HDMI cable, an extra keyboard, and even SMOWL detects the examinee’s cell phone, for instance, if it is connected to the computer via a USB port. 

“In general, it confirms whether peripheral elements are working at the same time or separately.” 

In the case of programs, as we mentioned at the beginning, these are applications that are neither the online education system nor the proctoring one. In other words, any tab or tool that opens during the test. 

Here is a concrete example: SMOWL detects a PDF. In this situation, if the user has to open it to consult instructions from the educational center, it will appear as an allowed activity in gray color, as we have seen with web browsing. In this case, we typify it as correct evidence. 

If, on the other hand, the user opens an unauthorized PDF, the warning will appear in red with the number of times it has been consulted. 

In this video, you can see the complete process from the user registration through the test and the visualization of the report.

Could there be a monitoring error? 

It is not possible because everything is controlled by artificial intelligence and a secure algorithm

Suppose SMOWL detects another page and the student has opened it unintentionally. In that case, the user must inform the training entity that it was a well-intentioned punctual action so that the examiner does not take it into account in the penalty.

When clients ask us if it is possible to copy with SMOWL and what the tool monitors, we answer them: 

  • It is a secure software that replaces face-to-face monitoring.
  • It records everything that is required in compliance with the GDPR. When clients ask us if it is possible to copy with SMOWL and what the tool monitors, we answer them: 

There is even a customized version that meets the educational center’s or training company’s needs. The interpretation of the results depends on the person assigned to review them before awarding the academic degree. 

We present evidence; we do not make decisions one way or the other. For this reason, the attribution of responsibility during the test rests with the student and the analysis of the results rests with the school.

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