Honorlock - Implementing disability-related accommodations (Instructors)

This document summarizes the steps for providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities in Honorlock. This document also includes ways instructors can support the student in the online proctoring experience.

Honorlock is an online auto-proctoring tool that can be linked to quizzes in Canvas. Honorlock online proctoring is similar to, but not the same as, live proctoring. While live proctoring includes a live person monitoring the exam session, online or auto-proctoring monitoring of the exam session is conducted by an automated system programmable by the instructor in the session settings. Honorlock can only work in a Chrome browser and requires a Chrome Extension. 

Using the Chrome Extension, Honorlock monitors the test taker while they take the standard Canvas Quiz that you have created, including any settings you have included about quiz availability, different testing times for particular students, and any extra time you have approved.  Thus, most students who are able to complete Canvas Quizzes without Honorlock proctoring will be able to complete the Canvas Quizzes with Honorlock proctoring.  However, it is important to discuss accommodations with students prior to using Honorlock as the students' accommodations may generate additional flags for review and/or may conflict with standard instructions you provide to students taking the quiz.

See more information on Honorlock at UW-Madison.

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Accessibility and usability barriers

While the Honorlock experience for students is a more usable experience than other online auto-proctoring tools, it does have some accessibility and usability barriers that can hinder use by some students with disabilities. See the following documents for more information on the accessibility and usability barriers found in the Honorlock user experience, students most likely to be impacted, and how to get help.

Steps for Implementing Student Accommodations in this document

  1. Review "Known Issues and Limitations of Honorlock"
  2. Discuss accommodation plans with individual students
  3. Document individual accommodation plans
  4. Schedule and add approved extended time in Canvas
  5. Review Honorlock session settings with accommodations in mind
  6. Timed assessment/testing/exam accommodation reference

1. Known Issues and Limitations of Honorlock

Exam instructions may conflict with some student accommodations

Honorlock provides standard exam settings that you can enable for all students.  While most of these are intended to make exams more secure, they may also conflict with student accommodations.

When starting an exam, Honorlock presents the instructions that you provide.  The tool itself does not explicitly state behaviors, resources, etc. that are prohibited.  However, the auto proctoring artificial intelligence (AI) may flag certain behaviors for review.  For  example, if the student leaves their seat to stretch, take a break, use a medical device, or use the restroom, you may receive a notification that indicates "Face not clearly visible." 

Note that "Single Display" does not prohibit the use of a second monitor, but does require that the monitors all be in mirror or duplicate mode. In most instances, this should meet the need of students who use an external monitor for magnification or ergonomics. 

Some instructions that you put in the "Student Instructions" for an Honorlock proctored exam may also conflict with accommodations:

Document these accommodation conflicts via email as (described below) to provide the student with clarity regarding what is allowed during the exam.

Honorlock cannot monitor students under all circumstances

Honorlock is an automated tool that primarily depends on screen recording, webcam recording, audio recording, and computer restrictions for proctoring. It cannot monitor a student under all circumstances, such as a student needing to take a break to use the restroom. Note: there is no known automated or human proctored option for monitoring students who need to use the restroom in a remote instruction environment.

Not all students will be able to scan their ID in Honorlock when starting an exam.

If the instructor requires to turn on "Student ID" scan, Honorlock asks the student to hold a government or student ID up to their webcam during the startup process. Some students may be unable to position their ID in view of their webcam to complete this ID scanning requirement (due to a visual, physical, or other disability). 

Additionally, students may encounter difficulty scanning their IDs due to recent updates to identification information or their image which may impact a wide range of people including LGBTQ+ students.

If the ID scan fails, Honorlock does not specify the reason the scan has failed which can cause a usability barrier for the student attempting to resolve their scan ID issue. (Honorlock will not allow an image of the student’s face to be photographed instead of an ID.) 

If a student is unable to scan their ID using Honorlock, they can use Honorlock online chat to request assistance from an Honorlock Support Representative. If Honorlock is unable to assist the student in completing this step, the student may need to email their instructor to request an exemption from proctoring. 

Not all students will be able to scan their room in Honorlock when starting an exam

If you turn on "Room Scan," Honorlock asks the student to scan their room prior to entering the proctoring session. A student may not be able to complete this task as a result of a motor or physical disability. Even with this setting on, Honorlock does not impede the student's ability to take the exam based on the quality of the room scan if the student clicks record, but does not move their computer during the room scan.  However, it is important for the instructor to let the student know, if appropriate, that they are exempt from moving their computer during the room scan. The quality of the room scan does create a flag for the instructor to review.

Students unable to test with Honorlock

There may be some instances where it is not practical for students to test with Honorlock.  If you are unsure if an exemption from Honorlock proctoring is appropriate for a student in your class, you can:

Bypass Proctoring Accommodation using the Accessibility Code

Instructions can be added to the exam's Honorlock "Proctor Guidelines" that are only viewable by an Honorlock Support Representative. Follow these steps to provide a bypass proctoring for a particular student or students.
  1. In the instructions, add the student's name in the instructions and notate that they are exempt from a proctored exam. There is no need to include any reason for exemption. Be sure to specifically avoid detailing any other info, such as any medical or disability information, in the proctoring instructions. 
  2. Instruct the student by letting them know that when beginning the exam session, the student can click on Honorlock Live Chat on the Honorlock instructions page (bottom right of the screen) and let the Honorlock Support Representative know they are exempt from proctoring. 
  3. The Honorlock Support Representative has been instructed by UW-Madison to verify the student's name in the exam proctoring instructions against their login credentials.
  4. The Honorlock Support Representative will then enter the student's exam session and insert UW-Madison's Accessibility Bypass Code. This code will allow the student to continue their Canvas exam session without Honorlock proctoring. 

2. Discuss accommodation plans with individual students


Extended Time

Other accommodations that conflict with Standard Rules


3. Document individual accommodation plans

With some planning, most students with disabilities will be able to use Honorlock's auto-proctoring to take their exams. Honorlock does not specifically control or prevent the use of accommodations but it is important to discuss plans for use of accommodations with the student. 

Document those accommodations in an email so the student can be sure what is allowed during the exam. The email communication provides the student with a documented affirmation of their accommodation, particularly if Honorlock warnings or your instructions contradict their use of accommodations. Otherwise, students with accommodation may experience concern or fear of misunderstandings because Honorlock only shows the students the standard instructions for the class, and will not display their unique accommodations. (Accommodation details are not otherwise documented in the Honorock user experience.) Instructors should keep in mind that the use of these accommodations may be falsely flagged by Honorlock as exam session settings are exam-wide and not set individually.

In response to COVID-19 and to adjust student accommodations from in-person to online formats, please engage the student in a conversation and consult the student’s McBurney Center Access Consultant as needed. Most Faculty Notification Letters (accommodation plans) will have been written assuming a primarily in-person/on-campus format prior to the COVID-19.

4. Schedule and add approved extended time in Canvas

Instructors add extra time in Canvas Quizzes. The exam access is controlled entirely by Canvas.  The Honorlock window will remain open until the student closes the window or the exam ends.

5. Review Honorlock session settings with accommodations in mind

There is not a way to prevent Honorlock from flagging behaviors or actions that relate to students using their disability-related accommodations unless the instructor changes the exam settings for all students taking the exam. 

Instructors will need to objectively review exam results with the knowledge that Honorlock flags may be raised as a result of behavior associated with a disability or an otherwise legitimate student accommodation. If Honorlock settings are flagged during a student proctoring session, we recommend having a conversation with the student regarding triggered behaviors prior to finalizing your proctoring session evaluation.

6. Timed assessment/testing/exam accommodation reference

The following is general guidance on timed assessment/testing/exam accommodations with Honorlock and Canvas.