LockDown Browser by Respondus is a tool/building block in Blackboard, which is effective at reducing test-taking issues, and promote academic integrity on online exams. As instructors, your email messages from students who report being kicked out of tests will be reduced. Respondus LockDown Browser is a secure, custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Blackboard. Instructors will find the tool in their Bb course, under Control Panel > Course Tools > LockDown Browser (no installation necessary for instructors). When an assessment is started, students are locked into it until they submit it for grading (unless the instructor makes an exception to LDB settings).
New 8/29/14: If your student says they use a Google Chromebook / Laptop – those are NOT compatible with LDB. The Chromebook operating system is mostly a browser itself.
New 10/24/14: If you would like to provide your students with some tips for settings or troubleshooting any issues, here is a PDF for Students you can add to your course.
URL to provide students for download of LDB: Install Link
You can provide a web link to students to install the browser on their home computers. We keep that link updated on the “Blackboard Support” tab once you log into Blackboard. The browser will only be used for test-taking within the Blackboard environment. Or, students can take exams in many computer labs where LDB has been installed on machines on both east and west campus. We have many instructors on campus who use LDB for their online quizzes and they are happy with the tool for academic integrity purposes, and for reducing the “I got kicked out…” messages and phone calls from students.
Finally, the student module in Blackboard has LDB information for students with instructions, tips, and resources for help.
Instructions & Info
Best Practice – Suggestion
Consider creating a simple, practice quiz (with complete/incomplete instead of a grade) that you require to be taken with LDB. 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. For a good look at what LDB is about, watch this LockDown Browser for Instructors video from the Respondus people, which also gives you a view of what students will see. Would you like a sample quiz? Ask the Blackboard team! We have created a generic 5-question sample quiz you can import to your course.
Here’s why we like LockDown Browser:
- Integrates with Blackboard; instructor has the choice whether to utilize LockDown browser for one test or all tests
- Compatible with PC and Mac
- Instructor can still provide links to outside sources to view during exam; however, students cannot navigate to any other website from that link.
- Assessments are displayed full-screen and cannot be minimized
- Assessments cannot be exited until submitted by users for grading
- Task switching or access to other applications is prevented
- Printing functions are disabled
- Print Screen and capturing functions are disabled
- Copying and pasting anything to and from an assessment is prohibited
- Right-click menu options are disabled and function keys are disabled
- Screen capture, messaging, screen-sharing, virtual machine, and network monitoring applications are blocked from running
- The browser automatically starts at the login page for the institution’s course management system
- URLs cannot be typed by the user
- External links don’t compromise the “locked” testing environment
- Assessments that are set up for use with Respondus LockDown Browser cannot be accessed with other browsers.
THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS
- If just a few students are having problems on their own computers, it is likely a configuration/setup issue on their personal computer. The Help Desk or Blackboard Support team can do the troubleshooting.
- If ALL students send you an email because they are experiencing problems logging into the test with LDB, it is likely a LockDown Browser configuration setting. A quick way to check that LDB is still correctly required for the exam, go to the Control Panel > Course Tools > Respondus LockDown Browser. You will see a list of your exams. If you see a red “error” message, click Fix. Do NOT go back to Edit Test Options to change any settings, and from that Edit Test Options area, DO NOT delete the default password or UNcheck the Password Required box. That number is an LDB-generated password that needs to be in place (do not provide that to students and do not delete it).
See this blog post about an optional settings change on the instructor side if students cannot submit an exam in LDB. This is a nice addition to the settings.
A Blackboard Admin will be happy to help you check your settings or do any troubleshooting with students. Contact the Help Desk at 252-328-9866, or the Blackboard Support Team: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com
From one of our instructors:
“I was hesitant about requiring LockDown Browser for the 150 students taking 12 quizzes per semester in my classes. I was concerned that I would be overwhelmed with problems and questions. However, the problems were few and as usual the Bb team would swoop in to help me with any and all of those. The online instructional materials created by the Bb team are very effective. Students taking the few minutes to review those rarely have additional questions about using LockDown Browser. “ KVS
In anticipation of any LockDown Browser help tickets where student gets an error message during a test or does not see submit button – this works like a charm. Unfortunately we have to mention IE.
LDB has similar settings to IE. Even though we do not recommend IE as a browser for Blackboard, IE does need to have compatibility settings turned off. If the user still has IE 7, that needs to be updated to IE 8. Then open a window in IE. Go to Tools > Compatibility View Settings > Disable/remove ALL settings.
Computer Labs on Campus with LDB installations