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Building a $10M Company Proctoring Exams Online: Don Kassner, CEO of ProctorU (Part 6)

Posted on Sunday, Feb 23rd 2014

Don Kassner: If you think about proctoring itself, integrity is critical. It’s a service. We’re providing service to both the student and to the institution. It’s important that it’s simple because they’re remote. They’re on their own device. People need to be able to understand the process. There’s the people side of it and that’s why fun is so critical. We’ve that face-to-face connection with the student in a situation where they’re in high stress. We want to make sure that we bring in an element of relaxation to it. Those four pillars were critical for our business. We have, since day one, made sure that we follow those. The key element in executing is your ability to really find that base of what your company is going to be and be very consistent in building off that base.

Sramana Mitra: Two questions based on what you said. What are the profiles of people you hire to be proctors? What are you looking for in terms of skill set in those people? Two is a model question. Is every proctoring session a one-on-one session? Is one proctor proctoring just one student at any given time?

Don Kassner: Generally speaking, these are jobs that are slightly above minimum wage. The people we hire are people who are in college or just after college so that they ought to have a strong understanding or empathy for the test takers. That’s a critical piece. We’re looking for people who are intelligent and can learn things very quickly and adapt to things. We’re looking for people who have good personalities and the ability to communicate and relate to people. We’re also looking for people with the flexibility to work in all hours of the day and night. That’s a typical proctor. We have no age criteria. Clearly, college-age students tend to be in their early 20s but we have mid-career adults who are working on this job as a second job.

The interface always starts out as a one-to-one interface. When we’re working with a particular test taker, we have a one-to-one experience. We walk them through the setup process where we’re connecting with them via webcam so we can see them and evaluate their surroundings. We hook up to their computers. We evaluate that and then we walk them through the authentication process. That’s all one-to-one. Once they’re in examination, the number is going to vary. They’ll have multiple people on a second screen that they’re monitoring. There’s not really a hard and fast number that we use there.

Sramana Mitra: How do you see this industry scaling in terms of online education as an industry in general. You’re doing mostly the higher education professional education space?

Don Kassner: That space and then we’re getting more and more into professional testing and certification. The industry is still in its infancy. It still has a lot of potential growth out there. It’s still a cottage industry.

Sramana Mitra: Absolutely.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Building a $10M Company Proctoring Exams Online: Don Kassner, CEO of ProctorU
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