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Online proctoring allows people to take exams in a secure environment.

Online Proctoring and Personnel Certification – An Interview with Susan Martin

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a large proportion of training courses had to be shifted completely to digital formats. In addition to the restructuring of seminar concepts that became necessary as a result, new or improved ways of conducting digital certificate courses had to be found. Online proctoring allows people to take exams in a secure environment from the comfort of their own home. This allows people at all stages of their education or career to take exams and pursue their certification aims whilst adhering to the restrictions necessary to protect everyone’s health. Our Global Head of Personnel Certification, Susan Martin, gives insights into what is most challenging about online proctoring and how candidates can benefit from it.

It is essential during the COVID-19 pandemic for people at all stages of their education or career to be able to take exams whilst adhering to the restrictions necessary to protect everyone’s health.

Susan Martin

Ms. Martin, can you please describe how the pandemic changed or even created the demand for online proctoring?

The online proctoring concept was already identified as an essential future requirement and piloted successfully in Germany, and the planning for a global solution was already completed. However, the originally planned global implementation and rollout phase of several months had to be shortened to 5 weeks when the pandemic struck.

What is the situation today and can you give us a forecast for the next months?

Although we are of course still in a learning curve, online proctoring has enabled us to sustainably support almost 100% of our customer base’s personnel certification needs and we will continue to expand the possibilities in the coming months.

Are there any specific changes or challenges that stakeholders are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our utmost priority is to ensure that the shift to online proctoring does not require special capabilities by the candidates, causing any kind of bias or discrimination for our examinees. We are therefore continually learning from customer feedback and are improving usability.


What kind of problems do you face most often?

Currently, as for many people this is still a new concept and most people are nervous when taking an exam, we cannot emphasize enough how important it is for candidates to familiarize themselves with the technology in advance.

Most often, the biggest challenge for online proctoring is ensuring that candidates take the time in advance to ensure that the technology (camera, internet bandwidth, etc.) fulfills the requirements. It is recommended that candidates check the technology 24 hours in advance so that they are not under time pressure.

How does an online exam work?

The candidate is authorized for the exam by the PersCert TÜV team and receives access to the Certification Hub. He/she can then either schedule an appointment with an online proctor or is invited to an online scheduling event. The candidate should then check in advance that all technological requirements are fulfilled (webcam, etc.) and download the secure browser. At the time of the exam, the proctor will communicate with the candidate via the webcam, will verify the candidate’s identification and that there is a suitable environment for the exam (candidate is alone in the room, etc.). As soon as the proctor is satisfied that the requirements are met, the candidate is given access to begin the exam. During the exam, the secure browser prevents the candidate from accessing other applications on their laptop, accessing a printer, taking screenshots etc. The proctor observes the candidate throughout the entire exam via webcam.

The Global Head of Personnel Certification, Susan Martin, studied Business Administration at the Loughborough University in the UK. Prior to joining TÜV Rheinland in September 2019, she held a series of senior management positions in the area of credentialing and personnel certification, most recently as the Global Head of Certification for SAP.

What advantage can our exam provide from your point of view? Can you give us an example of how a stakeholder benefits in the long run?

A certification from PersCert TÜV is an internationally recognized and highly valued certification that validates the knowledge and skills of the certified individual in accordance with ISO 17024 standards.

What happens if someone fails the exam?

The candidate has the opportunity to retake an exam if they failed. The questions they are asked in the second exam will always be different than during their first attempt.

Why should one choose TÜV Rheinland for online proctoring?

Because it is global and secure, and available anytime, anywhere.

Here, you can read more about online proctoring.

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Personnel Certification

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