Remote proctoring for Foundations exams

Dear MS1 students,

You may be aware that UWSOM administration has been having discussions regarding implementing remote exam proctoring for Foundations exams. Some of you have expressed your opinions either in opposition to or in support of remote proctoring, and we sincerely appreciate your feedback.

Some of the comments we received indicated that there were some misunderstandings about what we were considering. We never planned to contract with an external remote proctoring service or employ artificial intelligence to flag potential exam violations. Furthermore, we never considered cloud-based recording of exam sessions.

Although some of you may still have concerns, we have decided to implement remote proctoring for exams in MSK and Blood & Cancer. We wanted to take this opportunity to explain our reasoning and provide more details about how it will work.

* All UWSOM in-person exams are proctored. Proctored exams help ensure the integrity of the testing experience, and that assessments are conducted in a manner that is fair to all students. It may be some time before we are all able to congregate in person again. Instituting remote proctoring brings us one step closer to having “normal” testing conditions while testing away from campus.
* Concerns about security of exam questions during unproctored exams led to the decision to suspend the usual post-exam secure review in Examplify. Moving to remote proctoring would allow us to reinstate secure reviews as a learning tool after exams while respecting the many hours of faculty effort that go into writing questions and rationales.
* National groups such as National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) and Aquifer require schools that use their exams to use remote proctoring. Although our Foundations Phase exams are not subject to these requirements, we want to follow consistent approaches among all exams in our curriculum.

We have adopted a protocol for remote proctoring based on requirements/recommendations from NBME and Aquifer, and successfully gave an exam to over 250 MS3/MS4 students a few weeks ago. Here are some details:

* Students will be required to use a second device (laptop/phone/tablet) to log in to a Zoom meeting (having a second internet capable device is part of the technology requirement<> of UWSOM). Once in the Zoom meeting you will be assigned to a breakout room with 20-25 students and one proctor (staff member from your regional WWAMI campus).
* Zoom sessions for exams given with Examplify will not be recorded. However, for national exams (e.g., NBME) in the future, Zoom sessions will be recorded.
* We are not using any commercial proctoring services for these exams. All proctors will be UW or WWAMI employees.

Finally, some of you have expressed concerns about Zoom security due to recent media reports of vulnerabilities. UW IT and SOM Academic & Learning Technologies have sent out information about this issue. To summarize:

Many security enhancements have been made to the Zoom apps in the past several weeks:

* All UW Medicine staff/students have HIPAA-compliant accounts available, which provide significantly greater security settings than free accounts.
* Zoom meetings can be configured to require participants to sign in with UW NetID and meeting password to help prevent “zoombombing”.
* UW has changed some defaults on Zoom accounts and we are following UW-IT’s best practices for Zoom security<>.

We will be sending out detailed instructions to students during EHM next week so that any technical issues with Zoom and devices can be addressed prior to the start of MSK. If you have any concerns about your ability to meet the technical requirements of remote proctoring, please email somtests at<mailto:somtests at>.

Matt Cunningham
Michael Ryan
Edith Wang
Michael Campion