Companies That Profit From Rutgers Contracts Sponsor Online Learning Conference

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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Verificient Technologies and Pearson, two education technology companies that do business with Rutgers University, contributed a combined $12,500 to sponsor a recent online education conference organized by the school on January 11 and 12.

The Rutgers Online Learning Conference featured speakers, presentations and lectures on online and hybrid learning, technologies used for delivering online classes, and the social and economic impact on in-person vs. online and hybrid classes. 

Verificient and Pearson were not the only Rutgers vendors to contribute to the conference.

A majority of the contributing companies, nine in total, donated $2,500 each to the conference. Among them were ProctorU, which a contract with the Rutgers Camden School of Nursing in Spring 2012, Barnes & Noble College, and Canvas.

Verificient Technologies, the makers of anti-cheating software used by Rutgers, put in $5,000 towards the conference, making the company a "Visionary" contributor.

The $5,000 secured a number of perks including a table at the event, two complimentary registrations, and a 10-second static ad displayed on any one of the conference's three monitors. 

As we reported, Verificient created and patented ProctorTrack, a form of software which uses remote-monitoring technology to collect audio and video of students while they take an online exam. ProctorTrack also documents the web activity of students, takes a voice sample, and scans their ID, face and knucles. 

The software was hastily introduced to online classes in the Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts at the beginning of the Spring 2015 semester, though a contract was not signed between the two parties until August 2015.

According to the contract, students using ProctorTrack are required to pay a yearly "onboarding" fee of $3, plus $29 per class.

Students who declined to use the software in favor of in-person proctoring had to pay $17 per test, plus $2 for each additional hour afterwards.

Rutgers and Verificient officials did not disclose the exact number of students who downloaded the software to New Brunswick Today.

However, in an April NY Times article, Verificent CEO Tim Dutta estimated that the number was in the thousands for just the Spring 2015 semester alone.

Rutgers has since expanded its use of the software to online classes in the School of Social Work and the School of Management and Labor Relations.

Pearson put in $7,500 towards the conference, making it a "Bleeding Edge" contributor.

The $7,500 earned Pearson perks like a 45-minute workshop, a full-page ad appearing in the conference book program, four complimentary registrations, a table at the event and a one-minute promotional video displayed on the monitors. 

Rutgers entered a contract agreement with eCollege, a Delaware-based subsidiary of Pearson, in October 2012.

eCollege in a software platform that allows instructors to administer online classes through providing a course management system that incorporates content management and live video conferencing. 

A total of 23 different Pearson software products are provided to the university under the agreement.

Most notable of the products are Exam Guard, another anti-cheating program.  ExamGuard locks down the student's operating system on a laptop or desktop computer, allowing access only to the exam.

Reporter at New Brunswick Today

Award-winning, multimedia journalist with experience in digital first and print-media. Daniel has covered local, state and regional issues, and utilized photography, social media and has written in-depth articles to produce high-quality work.