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Proctoring for Open edX: Ensuring the Integrity of Online Education.

Proctoring para Open edX - logo edunext y Smowltech


Learning Management Systems like Open edX offer a wide array of tools to create and manage educational content, but ensuring the integrity of assessments in these environments is a critical challenge. How can we guarantee the integrity and authenticity of assessments in virtual settings? This is where proctoring, also known as remote supervision, comes into play.

What is Proctoring?

Proctoring is a concept that has gained relevance in the era of online education. Its primary purpose is to act as a digital guardian that verifies students’ adherence to standards during virtual exams. Imagine taking an online exam from the comfort of your home. How can we be sure that you’re not engaging in irregularities? Proctoring is the answer to this seemingly insurmountable question.

Proctoring software is a technological tool that ensures the authenticity and integrity of online assessments. This becomes especially relevant in distance education, where students might be scattered across the globe. In this scenario, the challenge of maintaining academic honesty becomes critical.

Diverse Approaches to Proctoring

The approaches to proctoring are varied and versatile, all designed to ensure that online exams are conducted fairly and reliably. These approaches include:


Detection of Unauthorized Actions

Proctoring programs use technology to detect unauthorized actions, such as the use of artificial intelligence or unauthorized programs during exams. This ensures that students do not have undue advantages.


Live Supervision

Some proctoring solutions include live supervisors who can monitor students in real-time through web cameras. This adds an additional layer of authentication and prevents cheating.


Plagiarism Detection

“Plagiarism detection” is not a function of proctoring. Solutions like SMOWL enable the prevention of plagiarism tools by detecting their usage, that is, the use of the plagiarism tool or the copy/paste shortcut.

Smowltech and SMOWL, their solution for integrating with Open edX :

In the world of online education, the integration of proctoring solutions is essential. The company Smowltech stands out as a prime example.

Their robust proctoring solution, SMOWL, seamlessly integrates with the Open edX platform. Its innovative approach ensures the integrity of assessments and authenticity of academic achievements in the digital environment.

What does it do? What is the scope? How is it integrated?

The integration of SMOWL into Open edX is carried out through an XBlock integration.


An XBlock in Open edX is a component that allows for the extension and customization of the Open edX educational platform, enabling developers to create new types of content and applications that seamlessly integrate.


The integration is detailed in two main phases:


Activation of SMOWL XBlock in a course

  • Once the XBlock is integrated, it’s necessary to include SMOWL in the desired course.

  • Access the course with a teacher account having administrative permissions.

  • Go to advanced settings and fill in the required fields in the Advanced Modules list and other course settings, providing the data provided by SMOWL.


XBlock Integration

  • Create a plugins folder using the command `mkdir “$(tutor plugins printroot)”`.
  • Navigate to the “plugins”  folder using `cd “$(tutor plugins printroot)”`.
  • Create an `override.yml`  file with `touch override.yml` and edit this file to add specific content enabling certain functionalities in Open edX.
  • Navigate to the “requirements” folder and place the SMOWL XBlock in the specified location.
  • Add an entry in the `private.txt` file to include the reference to the SMOWL XBlock.
  • Build the tutor image with `tutor images build openedx`.
  • Stop and then start tutor with the commands `tutor local stop` y `tutor local start`, respectively.

The scope of this integration is to enable the proctoring functionality provided by SMOWL within a course in Open edX, aiding in maintaining exam integrity and monitoring students during online assessments. This is especially crucial in online educational environments where direct supervision is challenging.

The integration of SMOWL through an XBlock facilitates the incorporation of these proctoring capabilities in Open edX courses.

Conclusion: Ensuring Integrity and Authenticity.

In summary, proctoring plays an essential supervisory role in digital education. Its presence ensures that assessments are fair and reliable, and academic achievements are authentic. In a world where access to online education is fundamental, proctoring becomes the digital guardian ensuring the integrity of online education. With solutions like SMOWL integrated into platforms such as Open edX, the future of online education looks more promising than ever.

If you want to install this XBlock on your Open edX instance, connect with the Edunext team.

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