Respondus LockDown Browser

LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment for tests taken in Blackboard. If you enable LockDown Browser for a Blackboard tests, students will be unable to copy, print, access other applications, visit other websites, or close the test until it is submitted. LockDown Browser functions much like a standard browser, but some options have been removed or work differently. 

For example, the toolbar is modified to only include Forward, Back, Refresh, and Stop functions. Students cannot enter a web address to go to another site, and they cannot open other tabs (unless a link to another site is included within a test question). The browser is displayed full-screen and cannot be minimized, resized, or exited until the test is submitted. In addition, all printing, keyboard shortcuts, screen capture, function keys, and right-click menus are disabled. 

The Respondus LockDown Browser is available for use in all Blackboard Courses and Organizations and in both the Original Course View and Ultra Course View

Accessing and Enabling Respondus LockDown Browser

Original Course View

Once you have created and deployed a test in your course, you can configure it to require the Respondus LockDown Browser by going to Control Panel > Course Tools > Respondus LockDown Browser.

In Original Course View, if a student tries use a regular browser to access a test that has Respondus enabled, Blackboard will notify them that they need to use Respondus to access the test.

Ultra Course View

As you are creating a test in your course, you can access the Respondus LockDown Browser dashboard by clicking the settings in the right panel of the test builder.

In Ultra Course View, if a student tries to use a regular browser to access a test that has Respondus enabled, Blackboard will display a button to open the assessment in Respondus LockDown Browser. When students click the button, Respondus will either prompt students to install the browser (if it is not yet installed), or it will open the Respondus LockDown Browser, automatically log the student in to Blackboard, and present the test.

Respondus Monitor 

Respondus Monitor is a proctoring solution that is built upon the Respondus LockDown Browser. Monitor adds an automated proctoring service that uses a student’s webcam and industry-leading video analytics to prevent cheating during online exams

Students use a webcam to record themselves during an exam. A "startup sequence" guides them through requirements selected by the instructor, such as showing identification or making a short video of the exam environment (i.e., their desk and surround area). Only the instructor can review video recordings and the results of the proctoring session.

Powerful analytics are used to detect suspicious behaviors during an exam session. Monitor AI analyzes the video for anomalies (e.g., student looking away from the screen excessively, student leaving the computer, or multiple faces appearing in the frame) and also analyzes the student's interaction with the exam to compare question-by-question with other students who took the same exam. Video segments with potential exam violations are flagged for the instructor, with an overall risk level assigned to the exam session.

The University has a site license for Respondus Monitor through June 2021, so it can be used at no cost students. Frequent online training sessions are available and highly encouraged for any faculty considering use of Respondus.

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 test nameOnce 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 modify 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
  • Provide information on technical requirements for students - Respondus LockDown Browser requires that students use a Mac or Windows computer to take their exam; Chromebooks are not supported. In addition, Monitor requires that students have a webcam.
  • 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

Installation

Students

Students will need to download and install Respondus LockDown Browser on their own computer to use it, by clicking the link below.

Respondus is compatible with Windows and Mac computers, and can also be used on an iPad via the Respondus iPad app. 

University Computers

If you need to install Respondus LockDown Browser on university computers where the user will not have administrator access, such as a computer lab, contact us at citl@niu.edu for instructions. There is a different version of the software for installation in these environments. It is also packaged in SCCM for managed installations.


Last updated: 5/22/2020