April 30 Message to Campus: Concerns regarding final exam proctoring

To the Students, Faculty and Staff of Case Western Reserve:

As final exams begin, our remote learning environment brings a new challenge: How do we monitor these tests to ensure academic integrity?

Typically, face-to-face instruction allows for in-person test-taking, where faculty and instructors can confirm the identity of students taking the exam, and ensure there is no unauthorized collaboration or use of materials that are not permitted.

With our students located around the world, these steps are no longer possible.

To help address this, one option Case Western Reserve uses is Honorlock, an on-demand proctoring tool that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to ensure that students follow guidelines for taking exams remotely. Faculty may use Honorlock in their classes to ensure the academic integrity of assessments and to comply with federal regulations that require universities offering online and distance education to verify student identity.

We understand some have expressed concerns about the use of Honorlock based on information they’ve found online. However, we want to be clear: Case Western Reserve’s agreement with Honorlock supersedes the terms and conditions of contracts posted on the Internet. Our agreement also includes specific legal requirements for the protection of the privacy and security of CWRU student information.

In addition, Honorlock does not scan home networks or monitor data from any device on the network other than the one used for testing. Secondary devices, such as phones, can be detected, but this is not accomplished by network snooping.

Full details of the requirements we added to protect our students appear on the University Technology website, as well as a list of frequently asked questions about the product and its use.

To be clear, Case Western Reserve’s agreement:

  • Fully complies with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) as well as the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR);
  • Limits Honorlock’s collection, processing and storing of student data and does not allow student information to be sold or transferred for any other purpose;
  • Uses appropriate administrative, technical and physical security measures to preserve the confidentiality, integrity and availability of all protected student data; and
  • Outlines procedures to delete collected information when no longer necessary.

I encourage you to read through University Technology’s full explanation of Honorlock’s usage and the steps we’ve taken to ensure your security.

We know final exams are a stressful time for everyone, and we want to alleviate any additional concerns that questions raised about Honorlock may have caused.

Wishing the best of luck to our students, staff and faculty for a successful end of the semester,

Ben Vinson III
Provost and Executive Vice President