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Respondus LockDown Browser Instructor Quick Start Guide

WHAT IS RESPONDUS LOCKDOWN BROWSER?

LockDown Browser is a custom browser that secures the testing environment in Blackboard Learn. When students use LockDown Browser to take a Blackboard test, they are unable to print, copy, visit other websites, access other applications, or close a test until it is submitted for grading. Tests created for use with LockDown Browser cannot be accessed with standard browsers, either.

LockDown Browser functions much like a standard browser, but some options have been removed or work differently. The list below highlights some of these differences.

  1. Modified Toolbar - the condensed toolbar includes only Forward, Back, Refresh, and Stop functions.
  2. Test Mode - tests are shown full-screen and cannot be minimized, resized, or exited until submitted for grading.
  3. Disabled Controls - all printing, keystroke combinations, screen grab, function keys, and right-click menus have been disabled
  4. links to other web servers will open in a new secure window and prevent browsing beyond that page
  5. Blocked Features and Applications - the Start button (Windows), system tray, and menu bars have been removed.

BUILDING BLOCK INSTALLATION

The “Respondus LockDown Browser Building Block” must be installed by the Blackboard system administrator. If the system administrator has made the Building Block available for all courses, then the Respondus LockDown Browser tools will appear under the Course Tools section of the Control Panel.

If the Building Block has been installed by the system administrator but it doesn’t appear in your course, follow these steps to make it available.

  • Log into your course and expand the Control Panel.
  • Expand the Customization menu and click Tool Availability.
  • Click the Available checkbox beside the Respondus LockDown Browser row.
  • Click Submit to enable the Building Block for your course.

PREPARING A TEST

To set up a test in Blackboard that requires students to use LockDown Browser, follow these steps:

  • Make sure the test has been deployed in the Blackboard course.
  • From the Control Panel in Blackboard, locate the Course Tools section and select the link Respondus LockDown Browser.
  • A list of deployed tests will be displayed.
    • Tests labeled with “Required” require students to use LockDown Browser
    • Tests labeled with “Not Required” don’t require LockDown Browser.
  • To change the settings for the test, select Settings from the context menu to the left of the test title and select the desired option.

Optionally you may enter a test password that students must enter to start the test. LockDown Browser will prompt students to enter the instructor- provided password before proceeding with the test.

  • Several Advanced Settings are available:

 

    • The first setting will prevent students from exiting the browser until the exam is completed. This is sometimes used in testing centers where a proctor can enter a password to exit an exam early.
    • The second setting will allow students to take the exam with an iPad, using the free LockDown Browser app.
    • The third setting will allow students to access a list of specified web domains during the test.
    • The fourth and fifth settings allow instructors to provide students with a calculator or print function in the LockDown Browser toolbar.
    • For additional information, select the [explain] link that follows each setting.
  • Click Save and Close to apply settings.

HOW THE INTEGRATION WORKS

The LockDown Browser integration relies on the “password” feature for Blackboard tests. This feature is also what prevents a regular browser from accessing a test that has been set up for use with LockDown Browser. It’s not important to fully understand how this works, but the following details are important:

  • 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 the instructor wants students to enter a password before a test is started in Blackboard, the password must be entered during the “Preparing A Test” step described above.
  • Do not change the name of the test within Blackboard once it has been set up for use with LockDown Browser.

INSTALLING LOCKDOWN BROWSER

Koç University has a unique URL for the installer. LockDown Browser must be installed to each computer (Windows or Mac) being used to take a test.

This download link is unique for Koç University and can be used by faculty or students

  • Follow the onscreen instructions to install. 

TAKING A TEST

From a student’s perspective, this is how LockDown Browser is used to take a test.

  • Locate the “LockDown Browser” shortcut on the desktop and double-click it. (For Mac users, launch “LockDown Browser” from the Applications folder.)
  • If prompted to close a blocked program (e.g. screen capture, instant messaging) choose Yes.
  • Log into the course, navigate to the test and select it.
  • If the student is required to use a webcam to record themselves during the test, a Startup Sequence will guide the student through a webcam check and other items required by the instructor.
  • If the instructor requires a test password, a new window will appear asking for the Exam Password. Enter the password and click Begin Exam.
  • The test will then start (Note: If the instructor settings permit a student to close the browser during an exam for emergency purposes, the student will be prompted to enter a reason for exiting. The reason is displayed to the instructor in the LockDown Browser Dashboard). 
Prior to the first test, have students complete a practice test that uses LockDown Browser to make sure they have installed it correctly. 

WHAT IF A STANDARD BROWSER IS USED?

If the settings for a test require that LockDown Browser be used, it cannot be accessed with a standard browser. In fact, you can easily confirm that a test has been properly set for LockDown Browser by following these steps using a regular browser.

  • Open a regular web browser.
  • Login to the Blackboard course as a student.
  • Navigate to the test and open it.
  • You will be asked to enter a password for the test, as shown below:

Because LockDown Browser uses a special password that will be unknown to students, they will be unable to access the test with a standard browser (Even if the instructor elects to use a password like “apple” that must entered at the start of the test, the password won’t work on this page. The password will only work if LockDown Browser is being used).

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