Proctoring a Live Online Exam with Zoom

There are several options and approaches available to NIU instructors to promote academic integrity while teaching and administering exams online/remotely. These options include leveraging exam options in Blackboard such as question pools, randomization, time limits and limited availability, alternative assessment approaches such as designed open book exams, projects, and presentations, and proctoring solutions such as Respondus Monitor and Examity.  See Options for Delivering Exams via Virtual Instruction for a full discussion of these issues and options.

In addition to third party proctoring solutions, it is also possible to perform some of these supervisory proctoring tasks using a video conferencing tool, such as Zoom. Compared to these tools, Zoom has certain advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Zoom is available at no cost to students or faculty.
  • Students will be proctored by familiar faculty/TAs, who can answer student chat questions with clarity that a third party proctor would not be able to provide.
  • Faculty have control over the conditions of the Exam, within the limitations of Zoom.
  • Students who use Zoom for other meetings will be familiar with the environment.
  • The presence of an instructor rather than a third-party proctor may increase adherence to Exam integrity policies
  • When proctoring more than one student with Zoom, it is not possible to monitor both webcam and desktop without the student having two separate devices.
  • Zoom was not designed as a proctoring tool, so some features may limit its usefulness for this purpose.
  • Proctoring with Zoom requires careful planning, execution, and follow up by instructors and TAs.
  • Zoom does not easily allow instructor/proctors to communicate with individual students using voice/video.
  • Running both Zoom with a camera and a web browser can tax older computers

This guide describes one approach to administering online exams using Zoom to allow instructors and TAs to proctor exams while students complete them online. These steps describe creating and configuring your exam in Blackboard, creating an exam proctoring meeting in Zoom, distributing meeting information, conducting the exam session, and reviewing the recording. Zoom has many features that could be leveraged for various proctoring strategies in addition to those described here.  The design and content of your exam, your target audience, and your comfort with Zoom will in part determine how you can and should use Zoom for proctoring. 

Create, Configure and Secure your Exam (Test) in Blackboard

  1. Login to your Course Blackboard.
  2. Create/import your test/quiz and questions.
  3. If you are using Blackboard Original, secure your test using a Password, by setting availability date/time for the start of the exam session, or both. Do not use "Force Completion."
  4. If you are using Blackboard Ultra, secure your test using Conditional Availability and an Access Code or both.
  5. Deploy your test link into your Blackboard course.  This will be the link students will use to access the test.

For more details about test creation and configuration, see Create Tests and Surveys

Schedule and Configure your Zoom Account and Meeting

  1. Sign in to the NIU Zoom portal at with your NIU user name and password (
  2. In the Settings menu in the left navigation, click the Recording tab and configure the following settings:
    1. Record gallery view with shared screen
    2. Add a timestamp to the recording
    3. Save panelist chat to the recording
  3. Click Schedule a Meeting from the top-right menu.
  4. Complete the Schedule a Meeting form including the following options:
    1. Enter a title and description, date and time
    2. Use the Generate Automatically option for the Meeting ID
    3. Use the default passcode or create your own passcode for Zoom session entry. This should NOT be the same as your Blackboard Exam password.
    4. Optional: Use a Waiting Room to hold participants in a waiting room until you admit them. This is useful if you would like to pre-meet with additional proctors.
    5. Choose video ON for host and for Participants.
    6. Choose Computer Audio.
    7. Click Mute participants upon entry.
    8. Click Automatically record meeting (choose "On the local computer").
    9. Add additional proctors as alternative hosts.  Additional proctors named here must be instructors or official TAs.  If necessary, any participant can be made a co-host within a meeting by the meeting host.
  5. Click Save to save your meeting.
  6. From the Meeting information page, click the Copy Invitation link next to the Invite Link to copy the Zoom meeting connection information.

Distribute Zoom Meeting Connection Information and Exam Procedures

  1. If necessary, return to the Meeting Information page of the Exam session meeting you created, click the Copy Invitation link next to the Invite Link to copy the Zoom meeting connection information.  You may also edit the meeting from here if necessary.
  2. Prepare text for any additional Exam session instructions, including Exam environment and technical requirements, materials allowed, procedures for bathroom breaks, and procedures for technical problems or other questions.
  3. Include instructions for students to download the Zoom Client from the Zoom Download Center.
  4. In Blackboard Original, add the meeting connection information and exam procedures by creating an Item (Build Content...Item) or a Weblink (Build Content...Weblink). Include all meeting connection and procedural information in the description field. In addition to the Item or Weblink, you could also create an Announcement with this same information, including sending an email copy.
  5. In Blackboard Ultra, add the meeting connection information and exam procedures by creating a Document (+ symbol...Create...Document). Include all meeting connection and procedural information in the description field. Do not use the Link function, the description field is too small for the connection and procedural information. In addition to the Document, you can also add an Announcement with this same information, including sending an email copy.
NOTE: Do not rely solely on announcements or email to communicate session information.

Conduct your Exam Meeting in Zoom

  1. From a PC/Mac with a webcam and microphone, both proctors and Exam-takers should launch the Zoom application (not the browser version of Zoom) and sign into the Zoom meeting with the Zoom meeting information posted in your Blackboard course.
  2. Once in your meeting, select Gallery View from the top-right menu, this will display the webcam of all participants in the room. Use your microphone to ask participants without video displayed to turn on their webcam.
  3. From the bottom menu, choose Chat or More...Chat to open the Chat window.
  4. In the Chat window, click the three dots and choose participant can chat with: host only.
  5. Check the top left part of the screen to ensure the meeting is recording, if necessary, turn on the recording using the Record button at the bottom of the screen.
  6. When ready to begin, turn on microphone/video using the Microphone button at the bottom of the screen and reiterate any instructions necessary.
  7. Ask students to minimize Zoom and open Blackboard, navigate to and click the Exam link in the Blackboard course.
  8. After sufficient time to allow all students to access the Exam link, then provide the Exam password, verbally, and in the text chat.
  9. When complete, participants should notify the proctor by chat that they have submitted their Exam. The proctor can check this against the Blackboard grade book and dismiss those students as verified.
  10. Once the time limit has elapsed, ask all students who are not finished to submit the Exam.
  11. Allow for any final chat messages and end the session, choosing End Meeting for All.

Review your Exam Zoom Meeting Recording

  1. After your Exam session is completed, assuming you chose to record the meeting On the local computer, the recording will process and open the recordings folder on your computer.
  2. Either review the recording immediately or note the recording's location for later access.  You can always locate the folder again by going to the Recorded Meetings tab in the Zoom application or the Recordings tab of the web version of Zoom.
  3. Once you have reviewed the recording, if the recording is not needed, delete the recording for student privacy purposes.

Zoom Proctoring Best Practices

  • Ask students to join the session at least 15 minutes prior to the exam start.
  • Exam proctors and Exam takers should use the desktop client for the exam session.
  • Clearly communicate all requirements and proctoring instructions well in advance, including the need for a PC with a microphone and webcam, good Internet service, and a clear, distraction-free area to take the exam. Consider your rules for bathroom breaks and procedures for technical problems or other questions.
  • Conduct a Required Practice Exam Session.
  • Use separate meetings or breakout rooms for large numbers of students, each with a separate proctor.
  • Be sure to build administration and submission time into Exam availability and Timer.
  • Do not turn on any participants' microphone or screen share in the main room during the session as this can be seen/heard by all participants.
  • Consider setting up one or more breakout rooms for individual consultation or troubleshooting.

Additional Resources

Get Help

Center for Innovative
Teaching and Learning

Phone: 815-753-0595

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