In a regular online-only course, there's no such thing as a closed-notes test (unless it's on the honor system). While this might be a bonus for students, professors feel that some classes warrant a traditional test format.
Enter exam proctors. Some courses are taken entirely online -- except for a final (and maybe a midterm) exam, which students must take on campus or in another location with a proctor who will ensure that students are following the rules of the test. But finding a proctor, traveling to his or her location and shouldering that extra cost can be a big inconvenience for students.
Now enter e-proctoring services. One company, ProctorU -- an online test-proctoring company that uses webcams, microphones, and human beings to monitor test-taking online -- is currently affiliated with a handful of institutions in the U.S. and abroad and plans to proctor 20,000 to 30,000 exams this year.
Students seem to appreciate the convenience and price tag of about $30. Other major players in this emerging market are Kryterion Corporation, and Acxiom which focuses on electronic identity verification. The University of Minnesota Digital Campus group has been working with several units at the U of M to determine interest in these type of services.
I wonder how professors feel about this option and whether there are any downsides to this method. If e-proctoring seems to be successful, I wouldn't be surprised if institutions started their own online proctoring services in the near future.