Honorlock - Accessibility & 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.


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Honorlock accessibility & 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

Student accessibility & usability barriers

The following accessibility and usability barriers were identified may cause students to experience confusion or disruption in their ability to use Honorlock.

The following factors may cause students to accidentally violate online auto-proctoring rules:

Usability factors may impact students during the session

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. 

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 pause their attempt. This is typical 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.

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 Honorlock is powered by artificial intelligence that is programmed to minimize racial bias in screening and detection, 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.  

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. 

(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

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

Instructors can evaluate their course and exam content for accessibility to be sure that students with disabilities can navigate and use it. For assistance evaluating course content for accessibility, contact DoIT Academic Technology at (608) 262-5667 to be connected with an Accessibility Consultant.