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What is Browser Lockdown Software?

A browser lock is an automated proctoring solution to help deter and prevent cheating on online exams by automatically restricting access to websites and other browsers and disabling keyboard shortcuts and functions. Browser lockdown software is a good starting point to proctor online exams, but they’re only one piece of the puzzle to prevent cheating and protect academic integrity.

How does browser lockdown software work?

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

What can browser lockdown software see?

Generally speaking, browser lockdown software can see if a test taker attempts to access another browser tab or computer application and if they attempt to use keyboard shortcuts.

Can browser lockdown software detect cell phones?

A browser lock does not detect cell phones and other secondary devices, such as a tablet. Most test takers have secondary devices and while their primary device may be proctored by a browser lock, they can easily access the internet from another device to look up test answers during an exam.

When does a browser lock flag a test taker?

They can be flagged during an exam for several reasons such as accessing other browsers and computer applications, and attempting to use keyboard shortcuts such as print, copy, and paste.

Can browser lockdown software see or hear?

Browser lockdown software can’t see or hear because it does not require a webcam or microphone. If online exams aren’t monitoring video and audio, test takers can use study resources such as textbooks or get help from someone in the room. 

Can a browser lock verify ID?

It isn’t possible to verify ID when only using a browser lock. No webcam is required, so the proctoring system cannot verify that the person taking the online exam is the one getting credit.

Can browser lockdown software detect screen-sharing and multiple monitors?

Yes, most browser locking software can detect the attempted use of multiple monitors or screen-sharing on the primary device.

Are browser locks accessible?

Browser lock accessibility depends on the service or application being used. It’s important to check the browser lock’s VPAT to see if it meets your needs and guidelines and if it also integrates with your existing LMS.

Is browser lockdown software enough to protect your exams?

Probably not.

They check the box as a first line of defense to protect academic integrity but it’s pretty easy for test takers to cheat using a browser lock – such as using a cell phone to look up test answers or even having a friend complete the exam for them.

Click below to learn more about the pros and cons of browser lockdown software

Alternative online proctoring solutions

Browser locks provide a basic foundation to protect academic integrity, but there are other aspects of academic dishonesty to address, such as using a cell phone to look up answers, taking the online exam with another person in the room, or even another person taking the exam for them. 

Aside from a browser lock, there are three alternative proctoring solutions:

  1. AI proctoring
  2. Live proctoring
  3. Blended proctoring

AI proctoring (automated proctoring)

AI verifies identity and then records and monitors the proctored online exam. Once the proctored exam is complete, someone reviews the session and provides a report to the instructor.

What are the pros and cons of AI proctoring?

AI proctoring is convenient because exams can be taken at any time and live proctors do not have to be present. However, AI proctoring can miss some types of academic dishonesty, reviewing the session is time-consuming, and cheating is only addressed after the online exam.

Live proctoring

A live online exam proctor watches test takers taking exams in real-time. The online exam session is also recorded for later review.

What are the pros and cons of live proctoring?

Live proctoring is valuable because it provides the same benefits of proctoring an in-person exam but the proctor is also responsible for simultaneously watching several test takers, which can make it easier to miss academic dishonesty. Scheduling can also be difficult because test takers have to schedule their proctored exam ahead of time and at a time that aligns with the exam proctor’s schedule. Additionally, live proctoring can increase exam anxiety because test takers know they’re being watched at all times.

Blended proctoring

Blends the benefits of AI proctoring and live proctoring. AI proctoring software monitors the online exam and alerts a live exam proctor if it detects potential academic dishonesty. The live proctor can then review the situation in an analysis window before intervening.

What are the pros and cons of blended proctoring

This method of proctored testing may provide a less intimidating and non-invasive exam experience for test takers because they aren’t being constantly watched by a live proctor and flagged for irrelevant issues. Scheduling is also easy because test takers can take their proctored exam at any time, 24/7/365.

Protecting academic integrity when browser lockdown software isn’t enough

Protecting academic integrity is a complex and ongoing effort. There are initial defenses, such as browser lock exams, to deter and prevent cheating. However, with ever-changing technology, you need advanced proctoring features to make sure your online exams are secure.

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