Software to help prevent cheating on Bb tests

UVM is currently piloting a tool called “Respondus Lockdown Browser” that can prevent students from opening other windows on their computers while taking a test in Blackboard. We have until May 13, 2017 to evaluate this tool so we’re looking for faculty to help us by trying it in their courses this semester.

What is the Respondus Lockdown Browser?

The Respondus Lockdown Browser is a stand-alone browser replacement that restricts student access to UVM’s Blackboard server. During an assessment, all other applications and websites are closed and inaccessible to students. For example, students will not be able to open Word documents, instant message, email, or use sites such as Google, Wikipedia, or access other parts of the course.

It is important to keep in mind that no system is 100% secure. While this tool is a deterrent, it does not offer complete protection against academic dishonesty. Students taking an assessment could still use their mobile devices, another computer, or interact with the person sitting next to them. With this in mind, remote delivery of a locked down exam may not be as effective as one delivered in a proctored environment.

Supporting students during an exam is also easier in a physical proctored environment. You can reset a student’s attempt if their computer crashes during an exam in class. If the student experiences network problems, power failures, or other problems while taking the exam at home, they may not be able to complete the exam. In such a case, you would have to decide whether to reset the attempt at a later date.

Pilot timeline

This pilot will run until after the final exam period closes. On May 13, the tool will be turned off in Bb and no further exams will be able to be deployed or taken using the Lockdown Browser. During the summer, we will review the results of the pilot and evaluate its potential for implementation. If the results are favorable and funding is available, a license will be purchased and the Respondus Lockdown Browser will be available for Fall 2017.

How to get started

We want to be sure you receive the most up to date information on this tool in case there are new updates, bug fixes, or other important details released after the pilot starts. With this in mind, we are asking that you confirm your interest in this by contacting us at blackboard@uvm.edu. Once we hear from you, we will send you a list of best practices and steps to deploy a locked down exam in your course.

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