Honorlock Accessibility and Usability Information (Student)

This document summarizes the accessibility and usability barriers identified during in the student experience, potential workarounds for students, as well as ways for students to get assistance. This document also includes ways instructors can support the student online proctoring experience.

Honorlock is an online auto-proctoring tool that can be linked to quizzes in Canvas. Honorlock online proctoring is an auto-proctoring experience 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. 

See more information on Honorlock at UW-Madison.

Get help

  • If the instructor has enabled Honorlock for a student exam, students can get assistance with using online proctoring through Honorlock's online chat in their Canvas exam. For more information on student help in Honorlock, see Honorlock Getting Started - Students.
  • If instructors or students have questions regarding student accommodations, contact the student’s McBurney Center Access Consultant (the Access Consultant’s Name appears on the student’s Faculty Notification Letter). The Faculty Notification Letter identifies accommodations that are intended to minimize barriers and provide equal access for students without compromising the essential elements of a course. Letters will be emailed to instructors each semester.

Honorlock accessibility and usability for students

With sufficient guidance and planning around accommodations, most students with disabilities will be able to navigate the Honorlock student user experience in order to complete their exam with automated proctoring. However, while evaluating Honorlock, we discovered the following accessibility barriers which may be difficult for students with disabilities including (but not limited to) visual disabilities and motor disabilities who navigate the web using a keyboard, screen reader, or other assistive technology.

Student accommodations for online proctoring

Workarounds for Honorlock accessibility and usability

  • We recommend that students give themselves grace regarding the proctoring session, if possible. If a student encounters an accessibility issue during the exam, they can contact Honorlock via the online chat.  After the exam, the student can email the instructor with the difficulties experienced directly following the session so the instructor can take that into account when evaluating the session results.
  • Instructors are encouraged to check in with their students in case new accommodation needs arise as a result of the shift to online learning and testing due to COVD-19 or evolving complications from COVID-19.
  • Instructors need to be sure to clearly communicate with their students regarding exam rules, navigational limitations, and expectations via email for the student to refer back to.
  • We recommend instructors keep in mind that while artificial intelligence is logically identifying potential academic integrity errors, human behavior is more nuanced.
  • If room scan and ID scan keyboard accessibility is a barrier to some students, the instructor may decide to toggle those exam settings off for all students for the exam and rely on the video and the other online proctoring exam settings to evaluate student academic integrity. If students experience difficulty getting their scan to work after 5 attempts, an Honorlock Support Representative will enter the session and offer assistance or support in bypassing this authentication step.

Usability barriers

The following usability barriers identified may cause students to experience confusion or disruption in their ability to use Honorlock and may cause students to accidentally violate online auto-proctoring rules:

Chrome plugin doesn't lockdown the student computer

The Honorlock service is merely a Chrome plugin and does not fully lock down the student’s computer, limit the student’s ability to search the web, or make the student aware when they are violating the testing rules. Exam rules may be accidentally violated by a student using assistive technologies due to the access that is available and the way assistive technologies navigate the web. 

Likewise, modern online experiences typically do not allow the user access to things they are not supposed to be interacting with. As a result, we anticipate some false positives with this web application because students may accidentally click on something they aren't supposed to or accidentally type a keyboard shortcut that causes something to open as they are typing. 

Situational, economic, technical, environmental factors may impact students during the session

Unlike the fiscally and situationally controlled environment of a campus building, students do not always have the means to be in control of their living situation or environment. We recommend that instructors use the proctoring exam results as a reference only and consider the impacts of disability or other COVID-related, economic, technical, environmental, or situational factors impacting student performance during the exam. These contributing factors are amplified as a result of unexpected shifts in virtual learning or campus living during the pandemic.

Racial bias in artificial intelligence awareness

UW-Madison is aware of patterns of racial bias found in a variety of screening and online tools. We advise instructors to be sensitive to and aware of as they evaluate proctoring session results. While artificial intelligence is programmed based on patterns that could introduce racial bias, we as a campus strive to be accessible and inclusive and encourage students and instructors to collaborate on the interpretation and efficacy of the online proctoring session results.  

Accessibility Barriers

Disability-related factors may impact students during the session

Additionally, Honorlock does not allow instructors to exempt an individual student from a standard exam setting, even if those settings contradict a student’s accommodations.  It is possible that barriers students encounter when entering the proctoring session might cause the student to choose to stop taking the exam and discontinue the exam session. This is a common behavior for students depending on the confidence the student may have with technology, the ambiguous nature of nothing being locked down in Honorlock, and the context of operating in high stakes, high-stress testing situations. Students are encouraged to do practice exams with Honorlock in advance with their instructor and let their instructor know immediately if they have questions or concerns regarding any barriers they encounter.

Photo ID and Room scanning difficulties

Students navigating the room and photo ID scanning portions of entering a proctored exam session may experience confusion or difficulty. 

  • Tasks require holding an object (like a Photo ID or laptop) to scan (or scan a room) can be a challenge for people with motor disabilities, low vision, or blindness. 
  • There is no auditory feedback to let a screen reader users know they are successful in completing this task.
  • Some keyboard navigation barriers exist that may prevent a student from being able to enter an exam session.
  • If the ID scan is unsuccessful, the proctored exam session cannot be continued. 
  • If the room scan quality is low but the recording completed and the user is able to click through the process, the student can move forward with entering the exam session.

(Note: If room scan and ID scan keyboard accessibility is a barrier to some students, the instructor may decide to toggle those exam settings off for all students for the exam and rely on the video and the other online proctoring exam settings to evaluate student academic integrity. If students experience difficulty getting their scan to work after 5 attempts, an Honorlock Support Representative will enter the session and offer assistance or support in bypassing this authentication step.

Magnification difficulties for users with low vision

Students with low vision may need to use magnification software or magnify the text on their screen to read the online proctoring interface. However, Honorlock doesn’t magnify well beyond 200% magnification. This may cause students with low vision to have difficulty using this online proctoring tool.

Keyboard and screen reader navigation difficulties for users with visual or motor disabilities

  • Some keyboard navigation and screen reader auditory feedback barriers exist in the Honorlock student experience that may prevent the student from entering an exam session. 
    • Heading levels are missing or are in illogical order in the Honorlock interface content.
    • Screen reader labels or audio feedback with actions are missing or vague.
    • Some instructional content in the scan-popups are in image format which can't be read via a screen reader or other assistive technologies and are small and hard to read for people with low vision or colorblindness.
    • Focus styling is inconsistent throughout the Honorlock user experience so some users navigating via keyboard may not be able to navigate the exam and live chat if they are unable to see where their keyboard focus has moved to in order to click on actions.
  • Once beyond the room and ID scan steps, the keyboard navigation and screen reader (or other navigational assistive technology) usability and accessibility while taking the exam and using the live chat features do improve. However, live chat can be cumbersome at times to keyboard navigate through or use a screen reader with as auditory feedback of successful message sending can be vague and navigation into, out of, or within the live chat can take more time and require more clicks via keyboard than via mouse/trackpad.
  • The Student Exam Guide (or the Honorlock supplied student help guide) is inaccessible for users navigating via keyboard, screen reader, or other assistive technology. Help information may need to be supplied alternatively by the instructor or Honorlock support (which is available via live chat).

Color contrast barriers may be difficult for users with low vision or colorblindness

All links, buttons, and filters within Honorlock have insufficient contrast, causing some users to have difficulty seeing where to click and interact in order to navigate through online proctoring or exam setup.

Instructor exam content accessibility

For assistance evaluating course content for accessibility, contact the DoIT Help Desk to be connected with an Accessibility Consultant.

KeywordsHonorlock, accessibility, usability, online proctoring, exam, test, student, instructor, auto-proctoring   Doc ID104059
OwnerAndrew M.GroupIT Accessibility and Usability
Created2020-07-16 10:37:23Updated2023-09-13 14:15:49
SitesDoIT Help Desk, IT Accessibility and Usability, Learn@UW-Madison
Feedback  1   10