An anti-cheating browser
Respondus LockDown Browser, or simply LockDown Browser, is a custom web browser that enables you to discourage cheating while students are taking their online exams. Developed by Respondus, this strict program does exactly what its name implies and locks down your browser usage. It disables copying, printing, accessing other programs, and visiting other websites while you’re still not finished with your test. The restrictions will only lift once you’ve submitted your answers for grading.
Focus on answering
This browser is designed to invalidate any attempts at digital cheating when your exams have to be taken online. For one, your window will be displayed in full-screen and cannot be minimized until you finish, forcing you to focus on your test only. With this, the browser menu and toolbar options are also removed—except for the Back, Forward, Refresh, and Stop functions. Copying and pasting are immediately turned off. Even the right-click menu options, function keys, keyboard shortcuts, and the task-switching feature are disabled.
However, these aren’t the only features unavailable when the browser is running. It can also block more advanced methods of cheating, such as using Virtual Machines, remote desktop software, screen-sharing, screen-capturing, screen recorders, instant messaging programs, programs with timers or alerts, and exploiting the browser cache. Furthermore, online assessment sessions set up to be used with this browser can’t be opened with other browsers, essentially dissuading anyone accessing the tests with a less-secure browser.
For school use
Another great feature is that it integrates seamlessly with software like Blackboard, Brightspace, Canvas, Moodle, Sakai, and Schoology. It’s a recommended third-party tool to be paired with learning management systems (LMS) as it helps in decreasing paper waste and slow processing time for grades and results. Students can download this on their personal computers with the school-provided link if they’re allowed to do tests at home. However, this isn’t meant to replace your school’s default web browser, as it does not have all the functionalities that most possess.
The browser has a free 2-month trial available. Its pricing offers annual licenses that provide unlimited use and 200 free seats of Respondus Monitor. This program is partnered with LockDown browser. It is also a fully-automated online proctor that adds a webcam feature. This is great for take-home exams that can be done at any time of the day. The students will need to set up their webcam for this, but it functions just like any webcam application and will automatically shut down once they’re done.
Not always reliable
All in all, Respondus LockDown Browser is a handy tool for schools to use, whether it’s for major tests or online assessments. There are some issues to be had, however, such as the occasional platform incompatibility—the browser can be used on both PC and tablet—and the user interface looking bland and uninspiring. Together with Respondus Monitor, the whole set-up can also feel like an invasion of privacy with the need to do an environment check using your webcam.