How to Give Students Tests: Respondus

Respondus is an exam proctoring application offering two important functions. The Lockdown Browser locks down browsers during in-person and remote exams, and Respondus Monitor provides proctoring, via video recording, for remote exams.

Note: Respondus Monitor automatically uses the Lockdown Browser function, so remote exams will have both.

Information on Respondus Lockdown Browser (LDB) and Monitor

Some general notes about using Respondus Monitor  (for video monitoring of students in the Respondus LockDown Browser during distance exams):

  • To use Respondus Monitor, you will need to have your course support specialist turn it on for you in the classroom

  • Any course using Respondus Monitor should also have a simple/ungraded Practice Quiz set up so that students can test their system compatibility with Respondus before the actual exam (ideally 2-3 days before the exam, in case they do have technical issues)

  • Faculty should provide explicit instructions about what resources students are allowed to use (if any) and what should be cleared out of their working space before they complete their Environment Check in Respondus Monitor

  • There will be standard instructions on using the platform provided in each classroom that has Respondus Monitor turned on for students

Respondus FAQs

Many of you are likely familiar with Respondus LockDown Browser (LDB) — a browser that students download to their computers and use to access the quiz or exam that you have set up in Blackboard. This browser disables outside access to any outside materials on their computer or on the web while they are taking their assessment.

Respondus Monitor is a remote proctoring feature within Respondus LDB that enables video monitoring along with the lockdown browser. With Monitor, students are still unable to use outside materials during the exam and they are recorded while they complete the exam to ensure that they are not using personal notes or receiving additional assistance.   This 5-minute video about preparing an exam using Respondus Monitor and LDB should  give you a clear idea of how the platform works and is meant to function.

Repondus allows us to set up the assessment up so that the student can access a particular resource or website. It is a possible, but complicated, process, so we ask that you provide the Course Support Team enough notice to set up the exam this access. Please email [email protected] at least 4 days before the exam is set to begin. 

No exam solutions – including in-person exams – can hold all students accountable for adhering to academic integrity policies. However, Respondus Monitor does have a few features that would make it more difficult for the student to violate these polices. 

  1. First, students are recorded. As part of the setup, students are required to do an “environment check” so that the faculty member can view the materials in the student’s environment. For this reason, it is important to be explicit about what is and is not permissible in students’ environments during the exam. However, remain thoughtful and flexible when it comes to those expectations, considering that not every student may have access to an uncluttered, clear, quiet space to take an exam.

  2. Second, students are unable to just exit the program once they begin the exam. The Respondus LDB also locks a number of shortcut keys (screen capture, copy/paste, etc.) so that they can’t be used, and if they try to leave the exam manually, they are asked to give a reason. Any student who leaves the exam intentionally by exiting the browser will be recorded in Respondus as having done so.

  3. Finally, Respondus surveys the internet for browser workarounds. The team at Respondus also continually scours the internet for instances of students sharing potential ways to work around the browser. Any time they are made aware of an opportunity for that, they work immediately to address it and push out a new version to all users.

We recommend setting a timer and selecting the option to submit the exam once the time has lapsed. These rigid parameters around the overall length of the exam should assist with ensuring academic integrity.

We do not recommend using “Force Completion” setting. Force Completion says “Once started, this test must be completed in one sitting.” While useful for in-person sessions, it can cause major issues in online classrooms as it does not account for any disruption in internet connectivity that may occur during an exam. If students’ internet connection lapses, they will have their quiz or exam automatically submitted, regardless of how much time is left or how many questions are unanswered.  

Leaving this setting turned off will instead allow any student who still has time on their exam to log back in through Respondus LDB and continue with their exam, though the clock on the exam will have continued counting down. If they saved questions as they went along, however, all their answers should be saved.  

So if students lose access to the exam, they do lose out on time as the clock keeps counting down, but they will not have to completely restart their exam.

Making edits to your exam or the general settings in Blackboard should not cause any issues in Respondus. To be certain about this, quickly review the Respondus Dashboard in the Blackboard classroom (found under Course Tools > Respondus LockDown Browser) will let you know if there are any issues that were caused as a result of your change. If a syncing issue has occurred, there will be a “Fix It!” button next to the exam name. Clicking that button should resolve the issue for you.

In the Blackboard classroom, under Course Tools, there is a link for Respondus LockDown Browser. When you click that link, the Respondus Dashboard will open and allow you to “Continue to LockDown Browser.” When you click the dropdown menu next to the test name, you can select Class Results, and see all attempts from the students ranked by their review priority — the system automatically scans and flags issues in each student video and then shows you which videos may need to be reviewed by you. Videos should appear in this dashboard within 5-6 hours of the students completing the exam but can take up to 24 hours during times of high usage.

Videos are stored on Respondus servers for a total of 5 years and will remain available in the Respondus Dashboard as long as the course is active and available in Blackboard.

While we understand and empathize with these concerns, using Respondus Monitor is not something students can opt out of if the course uses it for exams (unless they have special accommodations that state otherwise). If they have additional questions, you can direct them to Respondus’s Privacy Policy.