Friday, August 28, 2015

Respondus LockDown Browser for Blackboard Tests

Starting Fall 2015, TLT will implement Respondus Lockdown Browser. This new software offers additional test security for Blackboard tests by forcing students to take a test in a secure browser that:
  • Forces a full screen view that cannot be minimized, re-sized or exited until test is submitted for grading
  • Disabled controls for printing, screen grabbing, and right-click mouse menus
  • Restricted links that open links within a test in a new secure window and prevents browsing beyond that page
  • Disable applications such as the Window Start Button, the system tray, and menu bars have been removed.
Respondus-enabled tests are recommended in a proctored environment. Currently, the Computer Testing Center (CTC-Dykes) has Respondus installed on all computers for secure testing in Blackboard. Respondus is also ideal for secure testing in classrooms where students bring their own laptops (and power cords). Instructions for students (to include in your syllabus/course) are provide later in this blog.

Note: You can use Respondus for online, off-site tests, but students could use a second computer, smartphone, or tablet to search for answers or a smartphone to take pictures of the test. So, the additional security only offers an inconvenience in unproctored environments for students who are willing to cheat.

If you are considering using Respondus for additional security in Blackboard tests, please meet with TLT first for assistance and training.


Below are videos from Respondus providing an overview and how to set up Respondus for a test:

Overview of Respondus Lockdown Browser



Setting Up Respondus for an Exam



Notes for instructors:
  • Make sure you have the exam ready and all other test options in place BEFORE enabling the Respondus feature. Adding this feature should be the last thing you do when setting up exams.
  • If you have multiple exams with the same name (i.e. Exam 1), consider remaining the exam first before setting up Respondus to ensure to are enabling this feature on the correct exam. DO NOT change the name of the exam within Blackboard once it has been set up for use with Respondus. It will cause errors.
  • When students try to close the Respondus browser window and do not submit their exam, they will have to provide a reason why they are doing this. For more information about this feature, go to this web link.
  • The Respondus LockDown Browser Building Block publishes a special password to the “password” field for the Blackboard test. This special password, which is used by LockDown Browser, shouldn’t be edited by the instructor within Blackboard (doing so will prevent LockDown Browser from working with the test).
  • If audio/video files are used in an assessment, the media player must be embedded in the question itself. This is the only way that students will have access to the control buttons, such as play, start, pause and stop. (Note that the Macintosh version of LockDown Browser, which uses the Safari engine, doesn't offer the same breadth of support for embedded media. However, embedded MP4 and QuickTime files should work fine.)

What You Need to Communicate to Students

Taking a Respondus Blackboard Test in the CTC (Dykes)

The software is already installed on all the computers in the Testing Center. All students will need to do is:

  1. Log into the computer.
  2. Click on the Respondus icon on the desktop.
  3. Log into Blackboard in this Respondus browser.
  4. Navigate to the course and test, and start the test.

Taking a Respondus Blackboard Test on Their Own Laptop

  1. Make sure laptop's power cord is plugged in before starting a test.
  2. Install the software - Log into Blackboard, click on the 'Resources' tab, and download and install Respondus.
  3. Close all open programs. (Respondus is also make students close active programs prior to running.)
  4. Start Respondus Lockdown Browser.
  5. Log into Blackboard.
  6. Navigate to the course and test, and start the test.
Here is a video link you can include in your course for KUMC students for instruction s on how to install the browser for a test on their computer:
We recommend that you set up a short Respondus test for students to practice and ensure the software works before an actual exam.

What to Include in Your Syllabus

If you plan on using Respondus for Blackboard testing, please consider adding the following text to your course syllabus. Feel free to edit this text:

Using Respondus for Online Exams 
This course requires the use of Respondus for online exams. Watch this short video to get a basic understanding of Respondus and the optional webcam feature (which may be required for some exams). Then download and install Respondus by logging into Blackboard, navigating to the 'Resources' tab, and clicking the 'Download Respondus' link.
To take an online test, start Respondus and navigate to the exam within Blackboard. (You won't be able to access the exam with a standard web browser.) For additional details on using Respondus, review this Student Quick Start Guide (PDF).
Finally, when taking an online exam, follow these guidelines:
  • Ensure you're in a location where you won't be interrupted
  • Make sure your computer is plugged in and has internet connection.
  • Turn off all mobile devices, phones, etc.
  • Remain at your desk or workstation for the duration of the test
  • Respondus will prevent you from accessing other websites or applications; you will be unable to exit the test until all questions are completed and submitted.

An Additional Benefit of Respondus - Minimizes Test Sharing/Copying

Currently, you have the choice to provide students their results, correct answers, and/or feedback after an assessment. Even though it is hard to print these results, students can copy and paste the entire test into a Word doc and then share with other students.

If you have your students use Respondus, not only are they restricted from copying and pasting during the test, but they are also restricted after the test when allowing them to see their results. That is because if you require them to take the exam in Respondus, then they must also review their results in Respondus. This helps reduce the copying of tests and still allowing students to see their results.

Best Practice – Highly Suggested

Consider creating a simple, practice quiz (with complete/incomplete instead of a grade) that you require to be taken with Respondus. Doing so cuts down on 1) any last-minute downloading of the LockDown browser before the first real quiz, and 2) last minute “help” emails from students before the first real quiz.

Additional Resources and Training

There are live 45-minute webinars available from Respondus if you want a live demo and Q&A session. Also, here is a link for a Quick Start Guide for Respondus.

As always, you can contact TLT at 913-588-7107 or tlt@kumc.edu if you have additional questions or need to schedule one-on-one training.

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