You are looking for a remote proctoring service, of which there are many
Unfortunately, these are usually enterprise level services which your university would have to contract for.
I also use in class programming quizzes which I think are equivalent to what you mean by practicals. And I'm also trying to adapt to the new reality with a course that was never intended as an online course, and would have been set up differently if it had been.
The assignments are short, simple programming concepts like constructing a basic loop within a fixed period of time. In some years I have had the students email me their completed script, but for the past few years I have had them upload their script to the course LMS (my school happens to use Canvas). In the LMS, the assignment is constructed as a quiz. They open the quiz, see a question which is created as a "File Upload Question" (i.e., the "answer" is a file uploaded by the student), copy starter code to their programming environment, complete the script, save it, and then upload their answer.
My university has provided us access to a remote proctoring service that can do what you are looking for. Note that I am not endorsing any particular commercial service, nor did I have a hand in my university's selection. Therefore, I am not naming the service we use. A variety of such services exist, and can be easily discovered through a search engine with "online remote proctoring" or something similar as your search term.
These services usually integrate with the major LMSes (Blackboard, Canvas, etc.) and may offer the following features, which can be configured for each quiz/assignment:
- Video recording
- Audio recording
- Screen recording
- Logging all web traffic
- Forcing all browser tabs other than the quiz tab to close, and preventing opening other tabs (note, this is easily defeated if the student has a second browser installed, so I don't know how useful this is if you don't also have screen recording or web traffic logging turned on)
- Identity verification (such as through an school ID card, video captured)
- Live proctoring provided by the service
Auto-submission when the time limit is reached (your other request) is built into the LMS. Note, however, that the students are not coding in a web IDE, so in my setup an auto-submitted assignment is just blank, because it means the student didn't attach their completed script file in time.
The problem with such a solution is that most (all?) of these are enterprise level solutions which an institution subscribes to rather than an individual. So if you don't already know whether your university has a subscription, you may well not. (But maybe in the flurry of announcements that have been generated this got lost in the mix? Check with your department chair and/or your university's ed tech support.) If you want to use such a service and can't find one that allows individual faculty to subscribe, and your university doesn't have such a service, your only hope (other than coming up with an alternative assignment or an alternative way of evaluating the submissions) is to convince the university to get something going fast. Your voice alone won't accomplish this, but this would be something to mention to the instructor you TA for, or your department chair. If several chairs wanted this, maybe it is something the university could do. On the other hand, enterprise level contracts often take months to hash out and implement, so this may be unrealistic (unless current circumstances make people move faster).
Some students in my course (roughly 20%) have raised privacy concerns about being videoed while taking the quiz. I'm not 100% certain that this qualifies as a privacy concern, as I warned the students ahead of time and told them to be conscious of their backgrounds prior to starting the quiz, but at least one student has said that it is a continual distraction to be aware of the video and their surroundings. The service we use also has a facial recognition component which a student objected to, although I do not have the identity verification feature turned on (it's a small class and I can see who is taking the quiz). A software which can control your web browser and monitor web traffic can also be characterized as spyware.
If you have any concerns about these features, you shouldn't go this route. If you don't have concerns about these features, your students may nonetheless say "This isn't what I signed up for." If your university doesn't have such a service, it's possible it had been considered already and was rejected or is being held up because of these privacy concerns.
Obviously, if my course was designed as an online course from the beginning, this would all be different, because either:
- The students would have been made aware from the beginning that a remote proctoring solution was being used, and could choose to take an in person course or a different online course if they had objections to remote proctoring; or
- I would have designed a different set of quizzes/assignments or a different manner of evaluation where I was less concerned about outside assistance.