As Carleton University continues to provide online examinations because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to ensure that academic integrity of our programs continues to be upheld. Most of our course instructors have re-designed their courses and/or assessments to address academic integrity concerns.
Approximately 6% of courses have opted for an e-proctoring solution for the 2020-21 academic year. Those instructors who wanted e-proctoring were assigned one of two solutions, depending on the specifics of their course. The two software platforms, CoMaS and BigBlueButton, both of which were developed at Carleton, have been used at Carleton for many years and are not intrusive AI-powered software or supplied by external service providers, but are ones with a focus on support, transparency and flexibility.
We remain committed to continuing to provide information about these e-proctoring systems to our students. The privacy and security of any student data remains Carleton’s top concern and both platforms have undergone security and privacy reviews by Carleton’s Information Security and Privacy Offices respectively.
Any student who has concerns about using one of these systems should discuss their concerns with their course instructors, well before their exam, to see if alternative modes of assessment are available.
Should you still have questions after reading the following FAQs and discussing your concerns with your instructor, please submit an exam support request. Please include your course code and exam date when submitting your request.
Students who are in financial need and require technology to meet the minimum requirements to access e-proctoring should email email@example.com from your Carleton email (cMail) account and ensure to include your student number, program and year of study. Students will be directed to the appropriate application form to request financial assistance.
Please use the native Camera application on your computer and split your screen in such a way that exam takes up most of the screen space, while the camera application of a smaller size is in the corner. Ensure the webcam view is always visible during your exam and not obscured by any other windows or files
Please note Firefox does not support “Picture-in-Picture” mode. Please copy the link and use it in alternate browser like Chrome, Opera, Safari, or Edge. Another option is to launch the webcam page manually via the local file: desktop/comas/course_name/Exam/tools/webcamand ensure it is always visible during your exam and not obscured by any other windows or files.
Students may use a break for washroom (i.e., Washroom Break), scanning and printing documents (i.e., Scanning documents), some technical issue related to laptop/desktop (i.e., Technical break), some house-related work (i.e., Personal emergency), or break specific to a PMC exam accommodation (i.e., Accommodation break). The steps you need to take for a break.
Go to the webcam page, which opens at the launch of CoMaS. Select the correct break that best describes your situation, or write a description in the last two boxes provided. If Webcam page is closed then open page again through desktop/comas/course_name/Exam/tools/webcam .
After you have selected or typed in the reason for your break, please click OK to the pop-up alert.
Please ensure that you uncheck the tick mark when you are back from break; otherwise, you will be considered on break, creating suspicion and possibly getting flagged.
If your household member walks into the room during the assessment with an unrelated to exam question, don’t worry. Politely remind them you’re taking an exam and you cannot talk until the exam is completed. If you have a roommate who is taking the same exam, please find a different location to write yours.
Use a place with good Internet connectivity, low noise, and good lighting. Ensure there is no one around you. Keep your phone off for the entire duration of the exam unless you use it for an Internet hotspot. If you have a roommate who is taking the same exam, please find a different location to write your exam.
This strategy is fine, and you do not need to turn off your cell phone even if it is not used for e-Proctoring. Leave it in plain view. Please let your instructor know that you are using your phone as a hotspot.
CoMaS has been vetted by Carleton’s Information Security and Privacy Offices. However, if you are still concerned, ask your course instructor, well before your exam whether alternative modes of assessment are available to you.
If you encounter any technical issues, please submit an exam support request for e-Proctoring subject via (please specify your course, operating system and version and include screenshots of the error).
CoMaS continues to gather information even without an Internet connection, so you should not close the application during the exam. When the connection is established again, it will send all the gathered information to the server automatically.
Run the application again as soon as you know it has crashed. If it asks to replace the folder, click on “Yes and continue”. However, if it does not work despite your best efforts, leave it and attend to your exam. After the exam is over, submit an exam support request (please specify your course, operating system and version and include screenshots of the error) to let us know what happened. We will include your explanations in the report we provide to your course instructor.
Yes, they are saved in the CoMaS folder on your desktop. There is a folder for each exam and test activity you do. There is a folder inside each activity called Screens that stores the screenshots and webcams shots and another one called Logs that keeps the log reports. Please remember that you should not delete or move these files while the exam is in progress. You can delete them after the exam is done.
All the information captured will be saved on your computer inside the CoMaS folder. It will be sent securely to a server located at Carleton University. The transmission and storage of information follows Carleton’s privacy and security policies.
CoMaS only monitors activity after you run the application and it is successfully logged in. While monitoring, CoMaS does these tasks:
Screenshots and snapshots of the webcam are taken at a random interval and transmitted securely to the server. This information is also available locally on your computer in the CoMaS folder.
It records if a snapshot or file, inside the CoMaS folder, has been deleted or modified while the application is running. (If CoMaS stops working during the exam and you need to run it again, overwriting and replacing the folder is permitted)
It will record if a network connection is lost.
If you have a document open or modify a document (pdf, doc, docx, txt, xls, xlsx, ppt, pptx, py, java, html, htm) while running CoMaS, it will record the name and path of that document and name of the application that opened or modified it. It will not look at the content of any file including the open ones.
It does not record or look inside any of your files and documents (except for the files inside the CoMaS folder which are generated on the desktop each time you log in).
It does not record any information from your browser history, cache, or cookies.
It does not look at network traffic and does not probe devices with which you communicate.
It does not record what applications you are running (however, if that application modifies a document of the mentioned types, it will record the path and name of the file and name of the application). Again, it will not read the content of any files.
Carleton University is performing a data protection risk assessment, but the software has not undergone an independent third-party information security audit.
For the security assessment, we are using the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Risk Management framework (SP800-53) methodology. This is the same level of assessment of security controls that the federal government uses for its information.
CoMaS does not look at network traffic and does not probe devices with which you communicate. It does not record any information from your browser history, cache, or cookies or any internet connections.
The server is located on campus in Herzberg Building, accessible through physical access controls. The machine hosting the data is behind both the Carleton firewall and a secondary device. The data is backed automatically on locally-attached, encrypted storage. The university is responsible for its management.
The system requires authentication in order to access the data. Accounts require a strong password that is consistent with Carleton University password rules. As well, there is restricted physical access to the server, data in transfer is protected through encryption, and data at rest is stored on encrypted drives.
Upon completion of your exam, you are required to show the submission page to your proctor via screen sharing or video. Please wait for their confirmation before leaving the e-Proctoring session. We kindly ask you to be patient as your proctor may be signing out other students at the same time.
The Emergency Support line operates during the Final Exam and Deferred Exam periods during hours when exam are scheduled. During the teaching semester the support line operates during the exam hours of courses who have opted for one of the McIntyre Exam Centre’s exam services.
If you need to leave your computer’s vicinity with the intention of returning (e.g., to take a washroom break), you are required to let your proctor know beforehand. Please notify them through the chat and wait for their confirmation (similar to the face-to-face procedures). You are not permitted to leave the e-Proctoring session until all students in your course have digitally signed in, which is typically 45 minutes after the start of the exam.
If your household member walks into the room during the assessment with an unrelated to exam question, don’t worry. Politely remind them you’re taking an exam and they need to leave you alone until the exam is completed.
Use a place with good Internet connectivity, low noise, and good lighting. Ensure there is no one around you. Keep your phone off for the entire duration of the exam unless you use it for BigBlueButton. If you have a roommate who is taking the same exam, please find a different location to write yours.
Yes, you can use scrap paper during the exam if it is authorized by your instructor. It is important, however, to show both sides of the sheets to the proctor to verify they are blank to start with. Use good judgment and follow the instructions when the proctor asks you to show your environment. You may be required to destroy used scrap paper in view of the proctor after the exam.
Please take a screenshot of an error (if you receive any). If this happens while you are not actually writing an exam, submit an exam support request, with the screenshot attached, and the necessary assistance will be provided to you. If the examination is in progress, inform your proctor and continue the session as usual (if the problem is with the microphone, log in with Listen only). After the exam is over, submit an exam support request with the screenshot attached, and the support team will get in touch with you to troubleshoot the problem before future sessions.
Please inform the instructor about the current situation while copying firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, students who are in financial need and require technology to meet the minimum requirements to access e-Proctoring may be eligible for the University bursary program. Kindly send an email to email@example.com from your Carleton email (cMail) account to explore this option. Please ensure to include your student number, program and year of study. You will be directed to the appropriate application form to request financial assistance.
You will work in Brightspace, while BigBlueButton will be running in the background. Please make sure to check BigBlueButton tab regularly for announcements. Alternatively, you may choose to split your screen in such a way that Brightspace takes up most of the space, while the BigBlueButton window of a much smaller size is in the corner. Just move the e-Proctoring session tab to a new browser window and resize it as you find convenient. If someone contacts you in BBB, a red circle will appear on the person icon (left side bar toggle) in the BBB tab . This may help you notice any chat messages as they come in.