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B Virtual “Rocking” at TxDLA March 2017

Thanks to all for the hospitality at TxDLA this year.

The 20th Annual 2017 TxDLA Conference (http://conference17.txdla.org) presented a variety of topics and activities that support those courageous explorers, pushing distance education through uncharted territories. Sessions focused on trends in educational technology, innovative and best practice, research, accessibility & universal design, cybersecurity and data analytics, faculty & student support, PK-12, educational outreach, & workforce development, administration, leadership, & policy, gamification & virtualization, and more.

Below, B Virtual’s own Lisa Martini enjoyed some time with the live band, slowing a popular KISS song down for the evening.

GIVING THE GIFT OF EDUCATION

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 HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON

B Virtual has been supporting Room To Read in various capacities since 2010. This holiday season we have decided again to make a donation of educational books and toys in lieu of traditional cards and gifts for our clients.

Over 10 million children and their communities have benefited from donations to Room to Read. Our 2016 donation wouldn’t be possible without the partnership of our clients. Thank you for enabling us to help young boys and girls across Africa and Asia take control of their futures through the power of education.

From our company to yours, we wish you a happy holiday season and a very bright 2017!

Sincerely,

Rick Beaudry and the B Virtual Team.

Unattended (Automated) Online Proctoring – A Practical Exploration

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By Rick Beaudry, CEO, B Virtual

When evaluating the best way to prevent identity fraud and cheating during your online tests, it is important that you filter out the sales pitches, and apply simple, practical evaluations.   You also need to be honest about your trade-offs in thinking about live attended monitoring versus unattended. And, I need to be clear here that a “locked down” environment, as the sole secure tool, while allowing the student to take their tests remotely has absolutely no value in keeping the testing session secure.   For, without unattended or attended video and audio monitoring of the environment, you can almost guarantee cheating is occurring.   A locked down browser environment, alone, provides absolutely no assurances of integrity. It just means, that on that one particular computer, the environment is locked down. However the test taker can easily have multiple computers running, and have multiple human “guests” assisting in the test. So, for the purposes of this blog, we are discussing the use of monitoring techniques, unattended (fully automated) and attended (live online proctor).

It is clear that in many cases there are challenges balancing budget and security.   “How can I afford $20 per session for live online proctoring, when for less than $10 we can just apply an automated solution and no advanced scheduling?” Good question. Let’s explore.

As long as you take a practical look at your objectives.   Automation is an option when budget won’t allow.   At best, an “unattended” automated proctoring solution is a deterrent to cheating. And, if budget is an issue, you still have choices to consider.

Automation is thought to be the lowest cost (other than a simple locked down browser, which, as mentioned, provides as much security as not doing anything) per test session and the student’s do not have to schedule in advance. When they are ready they can connect to the unattended software and have their session recorded. Ah.   Simple, cheap and, with automated “flagging” of questionable behavior, looks appealing on the surface.

Now, let’s imagine the ever-critical security step of the room inspection at the beginning and mid-session, when required, of the test takers remote environment. A live proctor requests a full scan, and often will ask that the camera focus be adjusted and that certain areas of the room be looked at again.   In contrast, hopefully we all understand that the room scan can not be comprehensive in unattended automation and can most certainly not request further views of questionable scan results. How critical is it to ensure that the test taker’s camera is, in essence, an extension of the proctor’s eyes.   Only a human can really ensure the thorough results from this step at the beginning of the exam.   What happens if there is a suspicious noise during the exam?   How do you deal with that noise, if there is not an interruption to view the surroundings? Flagging and reviewing the recordings after the fact may not provide any further evidence in either direction.

Why not consider the growing popularity of the alternative live monitoring option that matches ON DEMAND (immediate) connection to a live proctor to initiate the ID validation and room scan, and provide the “fear” of live monitoring.   For a similar price you can still get the Live Proctor as a deterrent, just in higher ratios of student to proctor. You can connect to a Live Proctor, the student knows they are being watched, recorded. Not really aware that the service is being provided with higher ratios than the traditional 1:4 ratio for higher stakes exams. And a thorough room scan, ID check and live monitoring “threat” can be ensured.

With full integration into any Testing environment and/or learning management system, “click to start your exam and connect to a live proctor”.   No Scheduling.   Same or Lower price points than many automating unattended tools.   And enhanced deterrent.

If you want your test results to stand up, ultimately to scrutiny, be honest with yourself and your institution – for budgetary reasons you need to choose deterrent over enhanced security.   Just understand the risks.

I always suggest having a healthy debate, and that you really look at the practicality. The inability to request clarification and to provide a live deterrent should be considered.   For price points that match pure automation, live online proctoring, utilizing higher student to proctor ratios and ON DEMAND (no pre-scheduling) start times, with guarantees on “wait times” to be less than 5 minutes – you may need to ask yourself – why eliminate the live presence?

Choosing the Wrong Biometric Can Cost you Millions

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jeffmaynardJeff Maynard Inventor and Founder, Biometric Signature ID.

Biometrics are becoming a fact of life. All security experts agree we will become a biometrically identified society. Yet choosing the wrong biometric can place you in the hot seat for a class action lawsuit and significantly increase your liability.

It is called a privacy law and most states have one to protect the capture and use of biometric identifiers for employees of state and federal agencies. Several states have laws that extend to companies that may be collecting biometric data. In Illinois for example it is called the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). So if you are asked to give an image of your retina or iris scan, fingerprint, voiceprint, or scan of your hand or face geometry by any company beware! These are called physical biometrics and because they cannot be replaced or reset they are invaluable. If they’re stolen, there is no new set of hands, new voice or face that can be used. This makes some biometrics very risky; many have been hacked already.

If a vendor is collecting these type of biometrics the laws request they obtain written release in advance from subjects and then provide a written statement about the specific purpose and term of use for their stored biometrics.

Wow, wait a minute…what about all those companies collecting face scans, photos and more? Are they in trouble? And is your institution subject to liability because you are using a vendor who is collecting biometric data? The answer is most likely YES. This is now the basis for multiple class action lawsuits against Shutterfly and Facebook for example who collect facial tagging software to identify their users. These are serious lawsuits and could decide the new legal direction for collection of biometrics. But wait. Why provide an image of your precious body parts – a part of your DNA to the increasing number of companies that ask for these? Do you want to have grocery stores or any company keep a part of you and then be hacked? Is there is a safer alternative? Yes, there’s a better way. There’s another type of biometrics that are way less intrusive yet just as distinguishing and accurate as other biometrics.

These are called behavioral or dynamic biometrics (they change all the time). There are various types, including a person’s gait, the way they write (gestures), or keystroke analysis. False positives (letting the wrong people in) and false negatives (not allowing access to registered users) vary widely between biometrics so choose carfeully. Otherwise the user experience (akin to road rage if they cannot get into their account or PC) and your security will not meet expectations. Independent testing confirms that gesture biometrics have the highest (best) accuracy levels in the behavioral biometrics class. Because these actions are behavioral and not about capturing images of your body parts (that do not change over time), the risks that come with physical biometrics don’t apply to behavioral biometrics.

Today’s concerns about big brother data gathering and invasion of your privacy are very real. We have banks that want you to use selfies, mobile apps that ask for fingerprints, voice and iris images before you can access your device and more. We even have proctoring companies asking students to give up images of their body parts and capture your photo ID or face image and put this into a nice file so if hacked all the students information is right there.

We don’t want to stop using biometrics because the alternatives of using pins and passwords or hardware based devices no longer are secure or practical. So you need to look for a better biometric that can be reset. In the event of a hacking intrusion, if the criminals get your biometric data behavioral based biometrics like gesture biometrics can be easily “revoked and replaced”. In other words a reset, (start over) just like you can do with your current pin and password, except it is so much more secure.

As we all move to the Internet of Things where our devices control access to many aspects of our lives, biometrics are the only answer. There is just too much valuable information in our devices, we need the highest level of security. The user experience, accuracy, ease of use will all become big factors in which biometric you select. Make sure the biomertic you choose has proof of third party testing that is publically available. It is easy to say you are secure but it means nothing unless independent testing confimrs this. Make sure the biometric you choose is also patented. You don’t want to implement a solution and then find your self caught in a legal battle.

Remember your body is the last frontier- don’t give up your body parts. The time to start taking care of your privacy is now. You have an excellent alternative with gesture biometrics.

Let’s talk Authentication – Raising the Bar

By Rick Beaudry, CEO, B Virtual

With over 200 clients in the online student exam monitoring sector (online proctoring and authentication), B Virtual integrates many forms of multi-factor authentication tools and techniques. As such, we are focused on the right solutions, for the right situation.   More and more, research is servicing to help us guide institutions in their decision-making, and offering perspective on what are research-based results, versus product sales “sizzle”.   There is much confusion and misunderstanding about the impact, accuracy and integration of multi-factor online student authentication techniques.   Let’s explore some of the analysis.

Security questions and keystroke analysis are often used as part of identity verification “routine”. Both of these are increasingly seen by industry experts as outdated. Security questions, for example, have been known to have a 50% failure rate by allowing the bad actors to correctly answer these. This was validated in a recent IRS data breach and is public knowledge.  So, 50% of the time, security questions are not working. In fact, it is well known that in student groups, especially younger students, the amount of credit card and other marketing data is sparse so they use more questions from social media and these are even easier to guess.

Keystroke dynamics, in the opinion of many industry experts, is very inaccurate. In a recent example from a test lab who tested Biometric Signature ID testing BioSig-ID by the same lab found keystroke was 27 times less accurate and 9 times less able to recognize current users. They did not report results that even met National Standards set by NIST. Biometric Signature ID’s gesture biometric results on the other hand reported , 3 times better than the typical national results. In essence use of keystroke dynamics is weak security and will has created very poor user experiences. Buyer beware the “sizzle” in using keystrokes is bad medicine.

Here are some high points of comparison:

A look at two of the most common of these options, gesture and keystroke biometrics.

BioSig-ID Gesture:

  • Dynamically assessed – Multiple points are used to determine the biorhythms. (Speed, angle, direction, length, height etc).
  • Dynamically profiled – Learns more about the user’s biometrics with each use = easier to use with time
  • Multifactor– Something you are, something you know and using SMS something you have
  • Customizable – Different profiles for extreme swings in biorhythms
  • Auditable – Using a dynamic profile to compare against allows for reporting and auditing for both forensic and user experience uses.
  • Security – 3rdparty testing shows that gesture biometrics are 27 times more secure than keyboard
  • Exceeds expectations – Gesture biometrics exceed the requirements set forth by NIST three-fold.
  • Fully integrated with all major LMS systems.
  • 98% positive user experience – 3rdparty testing of gesture biometric technology revealed a 98% positive user experience and a 45% entertainment value.
  • Password reset using a secure layer, enhances the user experience so help desk calls <1%.

Keyboard:

  • Statically profiled – Rigid, set profiles that do not grow with the user. Stays as a set profile even as the user ages, changes keyboards or devices which means no flexibility.
  • Security – Easy to mime/spoof. 27 times more false positives than gesture biometrics.
  • Limited factors – As you are not required to know a secret and there is limited biometrics behind keystrokes, it does not fall into Something you have, something you know and this is why they have to add security questions.
  • Minimal reporting – Without a dynamic profile audit trails for keystrokes simply tell a pass/fail and nothing more.
  • Dynamically assessed – While supports will tell you that the speed, tempo and “pulse” of typing keyboard keys are the different factors used to obtain the biometrics, they are in fact the same thing and are easily mimed/spoofed.
  • Not integrated within the LMS and has to have students go outside to another browser, which add to the security lapses.

 

If you are serious about authentication, do your homework.   The solutions that stand up to the toughest scrutiny, if heaven forbid your school or association is ever called to defend your authentication tools, use the strongest form of security that has vastly and significant higher accuracy rates versus security questions, and poses NO liability to the school.  With biometric solutions, always use a security company versus a proctoring company, with a track record of managing secure data, fully integrated into your learning management platform and proctoring service.

B Virtual with ALIA at the 2015 Online Learning Consortium Conference

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B Virtual is pleased to be joining ALIA partner Smarter Proctoring at the upcoming 2015 Online Learning Consortium Conference. Rick Beaudry from B Virtual and Mac Adkins from Smarter Proctoring will be representing ALIA at booth 207 during the conference. We invite you to stop by.

The Online Learning Consortium Conference will be held in Orlando from Wednesday October 14 to Friday October 16,  2015 at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort.

About ALIA
ALIA is an alliance of four companies providing a holistic proctoring solution – B Virtual, SmarterProctoring, Register Blast and Biometric Signature. Testing integrity and learner authentication continue to be hot button issues with educational institutions. Schools are tasked with managing all proctoring activities including locating qualified, approved proctors or testing centers, scheduling the exam, handling fees, documenting communications with student, and supporting faculty and administrators through the administrative burden of it all. ALIA was created with representation from every segment of the proctoring challenge. Positioned as the first alliance of its kind, the company representatives will work together to be innovative thought leaders and proactive solution finders.

About SmarterProctoring™
SmarterProctoring is a system of virtual proctoring that includes a database of testing centers and individuals that are available to proctor exams. SmarterProctoring is a complete proctoring solution that includes integrated workflows, messaging, scheduling, and proctor approvals. For more information about the B Virtual Inc. and SmarterProctoring partnership, visit https://www.smarterproctoring.com/public/contact/bvirtual/partner

About B Virtual Inc.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, B Virtual is a global leader in online proctoring services. B Virtual works with higher education institutions and professional associations to develop tailored online proctoring solutions.Our combination of people, process and technology allows students to take exams securely online in a live proctored environment, from any global address. B Virtual’s internationally recognized student support infrastructure enables reliable service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For additional information on OLC visit http://olc.onlinelearningconsortium.org/conference/2015/aln/welcome

Online Proctoring An Integral Piece In Training For Association

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September 28, 2015 — Atlanta, GA – Ensuring that technicians are well trained is of utmost importance to the Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association (SBCA).  “The partnership with B Virtual has allowed our technicians to save time and money when taking proctored exams while ensuring a high level of testing standards,” says Steve Hill, Deputy Executive Director of SBCA.

For years, SBCA has worked with B Virtual to assist in the certification process through online proctoring. Online proctoring allows for the live monitoring and recording of technicians when taking exams. In recent years, distance learning has become an important part of the educational landscape, with that shift steps need to be taken to ensure that things are done efficiently, effectively and securely. SBCA and B Virtual have worked hard together to provide the best processes and technologies for training needs.

Read more about B Virtual ‘s partnership with SBCA here.

 

BioProof ID LAUNCHES TODAY!

September 17, 2015 — Atlanta, GA – Biometric Signature ID, a leading provider of software gesture biometrics and  B Virtual Inc., a global leader in online proctoring, officially launch BioProof ID today!

This legal confirmation and real-time witnessing at the point of identity creation sets a new standard for authentication and provides a powerful weapon against fraud.

By combining Biometric Signature ID’s innovative gesture biometric with B Virtual’s live online credentialing professionals, Biometric Signature ID will provide a new level of trust that links legal identity with biometric identity for the first time in a consumer level product. Biometrics are distinct physiological characteristics unique to individuals such as fingerprints, DNA, irises, and faces.  A gesture biometric is an individual’s way of behaving, in Biometric Signature ID’s case how users draw their passcode using a mouse, finger or stylus.  Biometric Signature ID has been independently tested and found to be 99.97% accurate in keeping impostors out.

 

Find out more by reaching out to info@bvirtualinc.com

Where Do Online Students Think It Is the Easiest To Cheat?

Contributed by:
Dr. Mac Adkins
President, Smarter Services
www.smarterservices.com

Where Do Online Students Think It Is the Easiest To Cheat?

The results are in from the 2015 Proctoring and Learner Authentication Survey.  The survey measured perceptions of issues regarding academic integrity.  Responses were received from 284 persons representing these stakeholder groups: Test Center Administrators (36%), Faculty (19%), School Leaders (19%), Proctors (17%), and Students (9%).  Results of the survey are available at http://www.slideshare.net/socialsmarterservices/test-your-proctoring-prowess-51822339

Faculty and students were asked which proctoring modality was perceived as the strongest psychological deterrent to cheating.  Congruent with the maxim, “If you want something done right, do it yourself,” faculty reported that their perception was when they proctored the exam themselves as the proctoring mode, that is the highest deterrent to cheating.  This was followed by an approved human proctor and then a local test center.  Faculty perceived non-live virtual proctoring as the weakest deterrent to cheating.  Students reported that the instructor as proctor and an approved human proctor are the strongest psychological deterrents.  Students also reported non-live virtual proctoring as the weakest psychological deterrent.  Students were also asked to rank proctoring modalities by their perception of difficulty to cheat.  Students perceived it the easiest to cheat during virtual proctoring and the most difficult with an approved human proctor.  This is likely due to physical proximity and clear/constant line of sight.

Faculty and school leaders reported that the most common proctoring modality was an approved human proctor, followed by instructor proctored and then virtual proctoring.  The most common form of learner authentication was username/password, followed by photo ID scanning and then security questions.   Faculty reported that they were most satisfied when they proctored the exam themselves and least satisfied when they used a library.  Higher levels of satisfaction were also reported with an approved human proctor and local test centers.

Students reported that their preferred modality of proctoring was at a local test center.  This is likely due to the fact that the service is often provided at no cost to the student.  Next, students preferred virtual proctoring due to convenience, followed by a professional testing center or approved human proctor.  A majority (67%) of faculty reported that issues related to testing integrity were a moderate to high threat to the reputation of the quality of online learning.  Learners are most often required to authenticate at the onset of an exam, followed by the time of enrollment and then during  course registration.

Schools typically give their students choices when it comes to proctoring exams for eLearners.  These modalities include the instructor offering a local testing session on campus, usage of the school’s testing center, usage of a testing center at another school in the student’s area, usage of an approved person such as a high school principal or human resources manager, live virtual proctoring, or non-live virtual proctoring.  The SmarterProctoring™ Proctoring Process Management System is an LMS embedded Proctoring Process Management System that informs students about all proctoring modalities available to them so that they can make an informed decision.  It then prompts the student through the work flow leading up to that proctoring event.  Faculty and school leaders can view dashboards to see how each student will be taking their exam and where they are in the process.

B VIRTUAL NOW OFFERS THE MOST INNOVATIVE LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM INTEGRATION FOR ONLINE PROCTORING

Now launching and managing your Live Online Proctoring services from within your leading learning management system, has never been easier and more cost effective.  Requiring no additional fees for setup and usage, B Virtual’s innovative integration through an exclusive partnership with SmarterProctoring provides the most sophisticated, secure and easy-to-use interface in the world today.

Faculty, students and administrators will welcome the enhanced features from within their current learning management system.

Complete demonstration videos by following the links below:

Blackboard Learn
https://vimeo.com/117324762

Canvas
https://vimeo.com/127055548

Desire2Learn

Moodle

Sakai