International Access For Proctored Online Exams

If you plan to use online exams with Proctorio settings to assess and evaluate student learning, please be aware that the Proctorio tool may cause problems for international users. Below is a summary of the issues that may be encountered, as well as some recommended solutions.

Does Proctorio work in all countries (e.g., China)?

In order to access and complete an online exam with Proctorio settings, students need: 

  • a computer with a reliable high-speed internet connection
  • Virtual Private Network (VPN) which is a secure internet access
  • reliable access to their Canvas course site
  • Google Chrome browser 
  • Proctorio Extension to Google Chrome browser

According to Canvas and Proctorio support documentation, Proctorio should work successfully in any country. In reality, a student’s location while taking the exam may affect their experience.

What is the issue?

International access issues may be caused by:

Firewalls or government restrictions

Due to firewalls or government restrictions, students traveling to or located in China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, or the region of Crimea may have difficulty accessing online Canvas sites and exams with Proctorio settings.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

Students should use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to install Google Chrome browser and Proctorio Extension to Google Chrome browser. VPNs are designed to hide a user’s identity, therefore, canceling the benefit of online exam proctoring. Proctorio will recognize the use of a VPN or anonymous proxy service and will not allow those with a VPN connection to access and complete a proctored exam. 

  • If you have students who use a VPN to access Canvas, they can use it to download Chrome and install the Proctorio extension. 
  • Once the browser installation step is completed, students must turn off the VPN and access an exam through Canvas as normal. 

If any of your students rely on a VPN to access Canvas, it is best to provide an alternative assessment (see suggestions below).

What can instructors do to avoid issues?

Learn about Proctorio

Some Proctorio issues are caused by incorrect Proctorio set up. To avoid these issues, see What Do Faculty Need to Know about Proctorio?

Determine if proctored exams are necessary

There are many options available to address online academic integrity, and you may find that you do not need to use online proctoring. For more information, see Do I need to use online monitoring or proctoring?

Explore non-proctored assessment strategies 

There are many options for non-proctored assessments. 

Provide students with opportunities to test Proctorio settings

If you decide to use Proctorio for online exam proctoring, it is critical that you set up the proctored exams correctly, and work with students to prepare them for this experience. 

For each proctored exam students will have to do a Proctorio System Diagnostics Test: if they do not have required software/hardware, they might not even be able to pass the diagnostics test and access the exam. 

We recommend:

  • Create and administer a practice test with Proctorio settings a few days before the actual exam.
  • Communicate to students that they need to download/install required software and hardware, and check their internet connection.
  • Require students to complete a practice exam BEFORE each graded exam. Computer settings, browser extensions, and internet access may change significantly from one exam to the next. 
    • A practice test needs to be set as close to the actual exam test as possible
    • The settings and the format of a practice exam should be as similar to the actual exam as possible: 
      • If an actual exam is 50 questions with images, having a 3 question practice test is of no use at all and could actually be more harmful as it will create an illusion that everything is working. 
  • Provide support options for students.
    • Proctorio Help Center is the first line of support; direct students to contact Proctorio support if they experience technical issues during their exam

Have a back-up for international students

If you plan to use Proctorio and have international students in your class, have a back-up assessment plan for those students. For example, you may need to create a separate assessment for those students and use Canvas settings to maximize security (rather than Proctorio). 

For more information, please see the e-Proctoring Options for Online Exams resource site.
We encourage you to contact your local academic technology support staff or the UMN Teaching Support team to schedule a consultation and allow adequate time to set online proctored exams properly.