The university has secured licensing for LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor, two tools that provide online proctoring support to help ensure academic integrity for exams.
Before deciding to use Respondus to proctor your exams, you may want to consider holding final exams that carry less weight and have more built-in flexibility, e.g. “take-home” exams. You may also want to explore using alternative types of assessments such as group projects, recorded video presentations, etc.
Under conditions of social distancing, students may not have access to an interruption-free space, and they may face challenges to the focused attention needed for time-based online testing. Projects and multiple low stakes take-home tests may better reflect student learning during the current situation.
Important Considerations and Best Practices
- Consider what to do if your students only have a Chromebook as they won’t be able to use Respondus proctoring tools. Respondus requires a computer, laptop, or iPad and access to the internet.
- Consider what to do if your students don’t have a camera or their WiFi is not stable: both requirements for Respondus Monitor to work properly.
- Consider what to do if a student finds that Respondus does not interface well with the access technology they use, like screen readers or voice-to-text software. Be aware that any Letters of Accommodations that stipulate testing accommodations must still be honored, so invite students to reach out to you to discuss how to best implement any approved accommodations in this new format.
- Consider that your students may have privacy concerns about third-party recorded remote proctoring. Respondus is intended to be invasive and take control of the students’ computer during testing. Your students didn’t register for an online course, so you will need to make accommodations for these students.
Recommended Best Practices
Respondus LockDown Browser is straightforward to use, but there are some suggested best practices that will help it go smoothly for your students.
- Do not change the test name – Once you have enabled Respondus LockDown Browser on a test, do not change the name of the test, or Respondus will not work correctly
- Do not change the test password – If you want to set a password for the test, do so via the Respondus LockDown Browser settings and not the Test Settings. Respondus uses the password field to prevent students from taking the test from another browser, and modifying the password in Test Settings will prevent it from working correctly
- Add a statement to the syllabus – Explain to students early that they must use Respondus LockDown Browser for their online exams. Respondus provides a sample syllabus statement you may want to include or modify
- Hold a practice test or quiz – Before students need to use Respondus LockDown Browser for a high-stakes test or a quiz, have them complete a brief practice quiz to demonstrate that they have installed the browser and it is functioning correctly. This quiz can be for a few points extra credit or no points.
- LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Blackboard and restricts what students can do on their computers while taking assessments in a proctored environment. Functions such as copying, pasting, printing, right-click and screen capture are disabled. Access to other applications including messaging, screen-sharing, virtual machines and remote desktops is prevented. LockDown Browser is meant to be used in live proctoring situations.
- Respondus Monitor is an add-on feature for LockDown Browser and uses a webcam to record exam sessions in non-proctored online environments. Video analytics flag suspicious behavior to determine which exam sessions may require review by instructors. Recorded sessions will be available in the LockDown Browser Dashboard in Blackboard for instructors to access.