Nexford University is a US-based higher educational institution that offers 100% online learning to students around the world by providing quality and affordable education. The university aims to achieve its mission by using AI technology to automate workflow and to create modern and relevant content in order to match current market needs. As the Technology Enablement Manager, Hesham Allaa is responsible for managing the infrastructure, security, and technology tools at Nexford. He is also tasked with the change management of technology-related issues. One of Nexford’s main objectives is to obtain DC accreditation in the US, which requires learner identity verification, which is achieved through proctoring assessment services provided by Rosalyn AI. Nexford saw a great opportunity in contracting with Rosalyn as it would allow for the university to transition from a student reliant proctoring approach to AI technology use. Hesham Allaa specifically noted that the “AI detecting vision movement of the learner and making sure that there (are) no apps or any tools opened during the exam…that they (students) are not using mobile (devices)” is a more efficient way to help with the desired accreditation application.
Nexford is an upcomer in the virtual higher education realm. As of 2021, Nexford achieved the following with great success:
Nexford acknowledges that the traditional, brick and mortar approach to learning is antiquated and no longer suits the needs of the higher educational learners. Through affordable, accessible, progressive opportunities, Nexford offers pathways to degree completion.
In 2022, Nexford was in search of DC accreditation. At that time, Nexford’s assessment proctoring systems involved a student reliant recording, in which the learner was responsible for presenting themselves holding a government issued I.D. prior to accessing an exam. While the recording provided the university with student identification prior to the assessment, the exam itself was not proctoring in real time. Nexford lacked control to determine whether or not a student would use external sources during the presentation. This method created a myriad of issues for the university including low quality recordings (creating difficulty in learner i.d. verification), learner’s lack of instruction completion, non-supported video formatting with the learning management systems, and a drastic increase in instructor workload during assessments. In the end, the accreditation board did not accept this method of proctoring, thus Nexford sought out support in implementing an approved proctoring system.
The selection process for a new proctoring system for Nexford was multifaceted. Alaa discussed various “deal-breakers” when choosing a proctoring company. He emphasized the importance of LMS (Canvas) integration, as well as consolidating the amount of work required for the professor when initiating the proctoring system during an assessment. He said “One of the key aspects of our efficiency…is that we try to make our model better by (allowing) the professors to focus only on grading and academic stuff…they don’t need to have to do a lot of things to make the proctoring happen… especially if the professors are not tech savvy.”
Ultimately, Rosalyn met the call from price point to integration tools. Alaa spoke to the smooth transition as Rosalyn was chosen as the new assessment management programing to be used at Nexford. He talked about the highlights of the systems including that “the professors (and the students) don’t have to do a lot of maneuvering or (follow) complicated steps to start the assessment.” Alaa also appreciated the “the availability of having a trial…a reasonable time of trying the tool before committing to it.” Certainly Nexford considered multiple vendors before selecting Rosalyn. Alaa affirmed that the timely demo delivery and the free product training provided drove the rationalization that Rosalyn, indeed, was the correct choice. He continued “One of the key points I see in Rosalyn is that the team is great...the team on the level of support (and) the communication with the team is very easy.”
Nexford University serves a diverse student population on a global stage. The programs offered are designed to be accessible to those who otherwise may not have the opportunity to pursue a degree in higher education. The student body is diverse, with students of different ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds, bringing a range of experiences and perspectives to the virtual classroom. Nexford considers a point of distinction their commitment to accessible learning. While reliable internet access is considered essential for students, especially those attending a virtual university, high speed internet connection isn’t always a guarantee for Nexford students. Alaa confirmed this reality. “The main issues we have with our learners (are) mainly internet connections.” Fortunately, Rosalyn satisfied this criteria also, “The fact that Rosalyn is a growing startup and we are going through this journey with the team, developing the features, (and) having quick reach to the team regarding issues…I think this is one of things that keeps us working with Rosalyn so far,” said Alaa. Nexford is still in the beginning stages of integrating Rosalyn into their academic courses. Alaa noted that Nexford intends to remain with Rosalyn for the foreseeable future and looks forward to witnessing both businesses mature simultaneously.
Formal data is still being gathered concerning student satisfaction with the Rosalyn integration on Nexford assessments. While it is understood that putting additional restrictions on learners doesn’t typically induce feelings of excitement, the “no news is good news” philosophy applies to the student population. Nonetheless, Alaa spoke to an 85% success rate for students who did not face any issues during a Rosalyn proctored assessment. Admittedly, most of the issues that did arise were based on poor internet access. Alaa assumed that the success rate with a Rosalyn assessment would likely be closer to 95% if internet access concerns were not a factor.
Concerning the faculty, Alaa discusses the technological preferences for most Nexford Professors. He says, ”The professors want everything to be in one place…they don’t like to go through different tools and platforms. The academic teams generally feel that now we are in more control of the proctoring assessment compared to the virtual recording option we had before.” Alaa proceeded to explain that the improved proctoring system with Rosalyn will help Nexford to achieve the needed DC Accreditation. After inquiring about the level of difficulty when onboarding new professors on how to utilize Rosalyn, Alaa confirmed that it has been a simple process in training the professors and making them aware of potential issues. Referencing Rosalyn’s support team, Alaa reported that, “...it is very great, very good support….All the team members we have dealt with are very good at listening to the customer.”
As a business, Rosalyn does not assume perfection. Through excellent product feedback gained from the interaction with Nexford and Alaa directly, we are reaffirmed in our commitment to customer satisfaction. Alaa requested to collaborate with Rosalyn to develop instructional videos to be used for student training purposes.
Conclusively, Nexford is content with Rosalyn as a vendor. When asked why Nexord does business with Rosalyn, Alaa responded by saying “I do business with Rosalyn because we needed the proctoring tool for our accreditation process. And we have compared many vendors, across the market, and we found that Rosalyn is the best fit for us at the current phase we are in…Rosalyn is (a) very promising proctoring tool with great potential. It will give you the main things you need from a proctoring tool. It may have some enhancement and work that needs to be done to be (a) more mature tool but the team is great and I think they are on the right path to achieve this.”