Honorlock Student FAQs

What is Honorlock?

Honorlock is an online remote proctoring service that allows you to take your exam remotely. You DO NOT need to create an account or schedule an appointment in advance. Honorlock is available 24/7 and all that is needed is a computer with Chrome browser, a working webcam & microphone, and a stable Internet connection.

Who chose Honorlock?

When we learned of the need to provide remote instruction, our Studio for Teaching and Learning Innovation worked with Information Technology to explore a number of online proctoring services. Honorlock was deemed to be the most effective tool due to the program’s simplicity and security. The information security review included an assessment of the vendors’ information security controls across 15 distinct information security domains. Additionally, in the case of Honorlock, the university Registrar vetted the companies Student Privacy Statement, GDPR Privacy policy and FERPA statement.

Why do online exams need remote proctoring?

During this time of required social distancing, remote proctoring takes the place of in-class proctoring for some courses. Online proctoring is standard practice for online instruction, and William & Mary has used some form of remote proctoring for online courses for the last six years.

We understand that proctoring, not unlike when the instructor remains in the room for an in-person exam, creates some discomfort. We also must recognize, however, that online test taking without proctoring has the potential to tempt students to make choices that affect other students and the integrity of the educational process.

Proctoring is part of the university’s commitment to protect the integrity of the testing process, and doing so maintains a level playing field for all students so they are evaluated on the merits of their own preparation and ability.

We have an Honor Code already. Why do we need to use Honorlock?

The balance between trust and due diligence is a difficult one, and we recognize there are trade-offs with any such decision. We also must recognize that the online environment, without any proctoring whatsoever, presents challenges that could prove detrimental to academic integrity and ensuring a fair academic evaluation for all students. In a typical year, the Honor Council receives approximately 50 reports of academic integrity violations illustrating that incidents do occur. The university therefore believes that employing reasonable measures to protect academic integrity benefits students and meets our responsibility for basic due diligence.

Instructors will have a number of options available with respect to assessment, and we are encouraging them, where possible, to devise assessments in which online proctoring is not necessary. There may, however, remain some courses in which the instructor determines a proctored exam is the most appropriate strategy to safeguard academic integrity for the benefit of all students. Examples may include, but are not limited to, high-stakes testing in classes needed for graduate programs or summative assessments in large classes. Remote proctoring provides a reliable process for identity verification and secure testing environments.

Given the feedback received so far from faculty, we expect the use of Honorlock to be the exception, not the rule.

Will all online exams use Honorlock?

No. The university does not require all online exams or assessments be remote proctored; however, instructors have the option to use proctoring at their discretion. While we are advising instructors to consider assessment options that don’t require proctoring, some disciplines require objective assessments.

Instructors will have a number of options available with respect to assessment, and we are encouraging them, where possible, to devise assessments in which online proctoring is not necessary. There may, however, remain some courses in which the instructor determines a proctored exam is the most appropriate strategy to safeguard academic integrity for the benefit of all students. Examples may include, but are not limited to, high-stakes testing in classes needed for graduate programs or summative assessments in large classes. Remote proctoring provides a reliable process for identity verification and secure testing environments.

Given the feedback received so far from faculty, we expect the use of Honorlock to be the exception, not the rule.

How does Honorlock work?

When you are ready to test, log into Blackboard, go to your course, and click on your exam. Clicking "Launch Proctoring" will begin the Honorlock authentication process, where you will take a picture of yourself, show your ID, and complete a scan of your room. Honorlock will record your exam session by webcam, as well as record your screen. Honorlock also has an integrity algorithm that can detect search-engine use, so please do not attempt to search for answers.

Once you submit your exam, your session ends and your exam attempt is noted in Blackboard. From there, your instructor can assess your work and, if needed, view the results of proctored sessions. The program concludes proctoring activities on your browser when you exist the exam. You then can opt to disable or remove the Honorlock extension.

Live “pop-in” support from certified proctors is available if students encounter an issue during an exam session.

Honorlock’s website contains a helpful demonstration video.

Does Honorlock Access My Entire Wi-Fi Network?

No. Honorlock does not have any access to your network or any devices connected to your network. Please review Honorlock’s Privacy Statement for more information.

What does the program track/record?

Honorlock can log the websites that you access, or attempt to access, from Chrome (which processes the request) and only when you are actively in an exam. The program collects your IP address, email address, and name from Blackboard. It also stores your Photo and ID for a limited period of time after the exam, in case the university requires those for authentication. Your instructor has the option of choosing to record your exam session via your webcam; if this is the case, the recording will contain audio and video of the session. If you have particular concerns regarding this feature, we encourage you to discuss them with your instructor.

Honorlock identifies when a student exam ends. This is determined by the student submitting an exam within Blackboard. When this occurs, Honorlock automatically stops all recording and ends the exam session monitoring. This ends the recording of the webcam, the desktop screen, and the audio.

What will I need to participate in a remote proctored exam?

The Honorlock extension is a small program that modifies the Chrome web browser and not your computer. Students can remove the Honorlock Chrome extension as soon as they submit their exam. Please note that the Google Chrome browser must be used when taking a proctored exam with Honorlock.

Additionally, you will need your student ID to help verify your identity and you will need to have a working webcam, microphone, and either a laptop or desktop computer. Either an integrated or external USB webcam will work. Honorlock’s website contains a helpful demonstration video.

What if I don’t have the necessary technology at home?

The Dean of Students Office is considering requests from students with extraordinary circumstances, including those who may need support procuring necessary equipment (such as a webcam) and WiFi connections. Students with need may qualify for grant funds to assist them in purchasing necessary equipment. Please contact us at deanofstudents@wm.edu.

 Can I opt out?

No. As would be the case if your instructor proctored an in-class exam, students cannot opt out of the proctoring process.

 How secure is Honorlock?

The university selected Honorlock after a rigorous vetting process involving IT security specialists and the Studio for Teaching and Learning Innovation. The information security review included an assessment of the vendors’ information security controls across 15 distinct information security domains. Additionally, in the case of Honorlock, the university Registrar vetted the companies Student Privacy Statement, GDPR Privacy policy and FERPA statement.

Does Honorlock sell my student information to third parties?

No. Our agreement does not permit selling student information to third parties.

Does Honorlock monitor my entire network?

No. Honorlock does not scan or monitor a student’s device or network or monitor data from other devices connected to the network. The program can detect secondary devices, such as phones, but this does not occur via network snooping. Because the browser extension does not get installed onto secondary devices, the program cannot procure data from those devices, nor can it capture web traffic from other devices on the student’s network at the time of the exam.

Does Honorlock determine who is cheating?

No. Honorlock simply reports possible incidents to your instructor. As is the case with any suspected violation, your instructor must contact you and request an explanation for the observed conduct before reporting anything to the Honor Council. Ultimately, your instructor determines if cheating may have occurred by viewing the video recording and considering any explanation offered by the student and will follow up in accordance with established Honor Code procedures.

How is my data and privacy protected?

Honorlock is FERPA compliant and uses securely encrypted protocols to save and view all test taker assets. Honorlock's certified proctors and your institution's faculty are able to review test session videos until deleted based on the school's retention policy. You can find more information on privacy on Honorlock’s student site.

What about accessibility and students with special needs?

Honorlock is VPAT certified and fully accessible to students with special needs. Additionally, Honorlock works with screen readers if needed. Student Accessibility Services is working with students with accommodations and, where appropriate, providing alternative options for online test administration.

What if my home environment makes it extraordinarily difficult to take online-proctored exams?

We recognize that student resources and living situations can vary. If you believe you have an extraordinary circumstance, please discuss this with your instructor to determine if you can reach a mutually-agreeable solution or alternative. If you are unable to reach an agreement, please contact us at deanofstudents@wm.edu.

Where can I find more information?

Please visit the Honorlock instructor and student sites for more information and FAQs. Additionally, 24/7 support is available at https://honorlock.com/support. If those resources do not provide the answer to your specific questions, you are welcome to contact us at deanofstudents@wm.edu.