When it comes to proctoring online exams, a lockdown browser can help to a degree, but they lack features to truly protect your exams. A browser lockdown is a no-frills way to check the box of proctoring exams.

This article will show you what a browser lockdown can and cannot do and provide additional proctoring solutions to solve for areas that a lockdown browser may miss.


What is a lockdown browser?

Lockdown browsers help prevent cheating on online exams by automatically restricting access to certain websites and alternative browsers on a student’s computer. They also disable keyboard shortcuts and other functions that might be used to gain an unfair advantage. 

Here’s what a lockdown browser can do:

  • Restricts access to other websites, browsers, and applications
  • Disables keyboard shortcuts and functions such as printing, copy and paste, and screen capture
  • Removes toolbar and menu options such as browser refresh, back, forward, and stop
  • Blocks the ability for students to minimize the browser display screen
  • Prevents students from exiting the exam until they submit it

While a browser lockdown checks the box as a baseline tool for institutions that proctor online exams, they’re only a small part of the picture for schools and faculty who seek to preserve academic integrity.

Why a lockdown browser alone isn’t enough 

The lockdown browser features highlighted above will help prevent cheating, but there are significant things it cannot do:

Lockdown browsers can’t see the student 

While a lockdown browser can “see” if a student attempts to access another browser tab or computer application or if the student attempts to use keyboard shortcuts, it doesn’t offer the benefits of video proctoring, which uses the student’s webcam to view them during the exam.

Video proctoring often involves recording the student’s exam session for later review by the proctor and instructor. Video proctoring is especially useful because it allows ID verification and can tell if a student is using unauthorized resources or if another person is in the room.

Cannot detect voices or audio

A browser lockdown can’t hear when a student may be talking on the phone or asking a friend for an answer to a test question.

Some online proctoring software monitors the exam session and goes beyond simple audio detection by listening for specific keywords or phrases, such as “Hey Siri” or “OK Google.”

A browser lockdown can’t verify student ID 

Student ID verification before a proctored exam has become a priority and a basic browser lockdown can’t solve this. With no video proctoring capabilities, lockdown browsers aren’t able to verify student ID. 

Director of Learning Technology at Polk State College, Cody Moyer, summed it up perfectly, “If we can’t verify that our students are the ones who are completing the work, and all of our quizzes are out there on the internet where anyone can look up the answers, what kind of quality is that degree?”

Lockdown browsers can’t detect cell phones

A student can simply use their cell phone or another device to look up test questions and answers on the internet. But this weakness can be solved by multi-device detection software, as we’ll discuss in the next section.

Browser lockdowns lack the human touch of online proctoring that students deserve

Because a browser lockdown is only an automated proctoring solution, there’s no human touch involved to help support students during the exam. We know that exams can cause anxiety and that technical issues can happen during the test and that’s where a human proctor can help students successfully complete their exams. Proctoring services that combine AI test monitoring with human proctors are the best of both worlds.

Online proctoring options when a lockdown browser isn’t enough

The good news is that Honorlock provides a browser lockdown as a part of our standard proctoring features, but it also provides many more features and benefits such as:

  • Video proctoring 
  • Detecting cell phone use and voices 
  • Blending AI test monitoring software and live proctors
  • Verifying student ID
  • Reducing unauthorized use of your test questions and content on the Internet 

Advanced video proctoring

Early forms of video proctoring were unsettling for students because many didn’t appreciate having a proctor’s face hovering on the screen during the entire exam. 

Honorlock’s video proctoring capabilities allow:

  • 60-second ID verification
  • Room scans to make sure that no other people or test resources are present 
  • Detection of possible acts of academic dishonesty

Honorlock can detect cell phone use during proctored exams

Honorlock proctoring software can detect when students use a cell phone, tablet, or laptop to access test bank content during an online exam.

The proctoring software also captures a screen recording of specific websites that the student visited to provide evidence in the event of a violation. The recording can be reviewed by the instructor to determine if academic dishonesty occurred.

Verifies student ID in 60 seconds

Our remote proctoring software completes ID verification in about 60 seconds by capturing the content on the student’s ID along with their photo to make sure the student taking the online exam is the student getting credit.

Detects voices with Honorlock proctoring software

Honorlock’s smart Voice Detection feature listens for specific keywords or phrases to identify students who may be talking to another student or using Siri or Alexa to get the answers to test questions. If the proctoring software detects potential academic dishonesty, it alerts a live test proctor to enter the exam session to intervene and redirect the student.

Helps protect your test questions and answers from unauthorized use on the Internet

You’ve probably heard of students finding and sharing test questions and answers on test banks and homework-help sites. Maybe you’ve even seen your own test content on the Internet. It’s frustrating and it’s quick and simple for any test-taker. 

However, if instructors choose, Honorlock proctoring software searches for leaked test questions, answers, and content and can also request the removal of the material by filing DMCA copyright takedown notices.

Blends AI test monitoring with live test proctors

Honorlock was the first online proctoring service to combine the benefits of automated proctoring with those of a live test proctor. 

What is Honorlock and how does it work?

Our easy to use online proctoring software monitors the exam session for potential academic dishonesty and alerts a live proctor to join the student’s session in real-time if it detects any issues. 

This blend of AI and human review delivers a less intimidating proctored testing experience for the student because they aren’t constantly watched.

Choose to proctor online exams a better way

A lockdown browser checks the box as a first line of defense against academic integrity but with all its shortcomings, choose to proctor online exams a better way with Honorlock. 

Our approach to online proctoring creates a non-invasive and fair testing environment that benefits the student, instructor, and institution.

Want to see Honorlock in action? Schedule a demo.

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