Faculty Guidelines and Best Practices for Using Proctored Examinations

Before opting to use a proctored examination, please consider possible alternatives first.  The University System of Georgia (USG) has recommended the following: "Faculty are being strongly encouraged to assess student performance continually using low-stakes tests and assignments rather than relying on a few high-stakes timed exams." During the spring of 2020, eCampus prepared this advice regarding alternatives to proctored exams: https://www.usg.edu/assets/keep_teaching_usg/documents/Proctored_Exam_Alternatives.docx

To help consider possible alternatives, Jamie Landau, Director of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) facilitated a webinar, Flexible and Alternative Assessments to Online Proctored Exams. This webinar presents options for evaluating student learning online by clarifying the purpose of exams, aligning learning objectives with formative/summative assessments, and identifying different pedagogy for culminating a unit or course. Select the link to view a recording of the webinar:  Flexible and Alternative Assessments to Online Proctored Exams.

If you still need to schedule a proctored examination, please consider your students’ situation.  Some proctored exam alternatives may cost students additional money.  VSU’s preferred practice is that students should not have to pay extra for their examinations.  Additionally, if you are considering a virtual proctored experience, you should survey your students' hardware and access capabilities on Day 1 of your class, before making a final decision on proctored exams.  Not all students may have the necessary hardware or internet connection.

In order to provide a no-cost alternative for students, VSU has purchased a license for Respondus Monitor. 

Respondus Monitor Tips and Best Practices

Respondus Monitor is a fully automated proctoring solution that enables students to take online exams at any time of the day or night, without pre-scheduling. It is an add-on to the Respondus Lockdown Browser, that serves as deterrent to students using secondary computers, phones, calculators, textbooks, or receiving assistance from other students. Respondus Monitor is suitable for low or medium-stakes exams that require student monitoring.

Students use an internal or external webcam to record themselves during an exam. A "startup sequence" guides them through requirements selected by the instructor, such as showing identification or making a short video of the exam environment. Only the instructor can review video recordings and the results of the proctoring session.

Powerful analytics are used to detect suspicious behaviors during an exam session. Video segments with potential exam violations are flagged for the instructor, with an overall risk level assigned to the exam session.

After a student has taken an exam, instructors can review sessions to check for any suspect behavior. Additional information regarding Respondus Monitor can be found at http://respondus.com/products/monitor/.  Note: Respondus Monitor creates a video for the instructor to review at a later time. It is not a remote live proctoring program.

Watch the short video describing and how to set up an exam to use Respondus LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor: https://youtu.be/7J1K8-R20ao

About Respondus Monitor

Respondus Monitor utilizes the Respondus LockDown Browser. Therefore, students do not have to download any additional software to take monitored exams. Respondus Monitor offers the following benefits for instructors:

  • Serves as a deterrent to students using unauthorized testing aids
  • Records both audio and video, allowing instructors to monitor student behavior or use for oral exams
  • Instructors can request students to check ID and their surroundings.
  • Instructors can view results of exam sessions within BlazeVIEW, and do not have to log into a separate website
  • Respondus provides thumbnails taken at random intervals, enabling instructors to scan for any suspicious behavior quickly
  • If the instructor spots suspicious behavior, they can watch the video and flag any suspicious activity.
  • Videos are available to instructors for at least a year.

Using Respondus Monitor – Instructor Resources

These resources will help instructors quickly learn how to use Respondus LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor.

Best Practices for Using Respondus Monitor

  • Communicate to students at the onset that your course requires Respondus Monitor for one or more exams.
  • Poll students to determine if they have the technology required to use Respondus Monitor. If students do not have the appropriate technology, they can explore checking out equipment with the New Media Center or travel to a location with internet access.
    • Webcam: Internal or External
    • Microphone
    • System Platform: Windows, MAC, or iPad
    • Broadband Internet Connection
  • Provide a link within your course for students to download Lockdown Browser.
  • Ensure your exams using Respondus Monitor run smoothly by incorporating a practice quiz.
    • Create an ungraded practice quiz that requires the use of Respondus LockDown Browser, Respondus Monitor, and a webcam. Have students take this quiz on a date (at least 2-3 days) prior to the first proctored exam.
    • Leave the practice quiz available for the duration of the course, with unlimited attempts so that students can check their setup from a different computer.
  • Direct students to use the Help Centerbefore each exam. With LockDown Browser open, log into the course and select the Help Center button the toolbar. From there, run the Webcam Check and the System Check to make sure everything is working correctly. If a problem is indicated, students can search for a solution in the Knowledge Base. If your students require additional assistance, advise them to submit a ticket to Respondus at https://support.respondus.com/support/index.php?/Default/Tickets/Submit/RenderForm/2. Students can share the response from Respondus to document any problems.
  • For students who are unable to meet the system requirements to use Respondus Lockdown Browser and/or Monitor, such as students with technical problems or limitations, faculty may need to set up an alternative proctored testing solution (perhaps through the VSU Testing Center or through an instructor-proctored exam through Collaborate Ultra or Teams).

Sample Syllabus Statement and Recommended BlazeVIEW Announcement

Using LockDown Browser and a Webcam for Online Exams

This course requires the use of LockDown Browser and a webcam for online exams. The webcam can be built into your computer or can be the type that plugs in with a USB cable. Watch this short video to get a basic understanding of LockDown Browser and the webcam feature. A student Quick Start Guide is also available.

System Requirements

  • Windows: 10, 8, 7
  • Mac: OS X 10.12 or higher
  • iOS: 10.0+ (iPad only). Must have a compatible LMS integration. Details.
  • Web camera (internal or external) & microphone
  • A broadband internet connection
  • Respondus LockDown Browser must be installed on the computer you will be using to take the quiz. For instructions on how to install the Respondus LockDown Browser, see the Respondus Student Guide.

NOTE: Respondus LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor will not work on Chromebooks or other non-Windows/Mac devices.

Download and install LockDown Browser from this link:

https://download.respondus.com/lockdown/download.php?id=172232681

To ensure LockDown Browser and the webcam are set up correctly, do the following before you begin your exam:

  • Start LockDown Browser
  • Locate and select the Help Center button on the LockDown Browser toolbar.
  • Run the Webcam Check and, if necessary, resolve any issues.
  • Run the System & Network Check. If a problem is indicated, see if a solution is provided in the Knowledge Base. If you require additional assistance, submit a ticket to Respondus at https://web.respondus.com/support/
  • Exit the Help Center, login to BlazeVIEW and locate the practice quiz in this course named [NOTE TO INSTRUCTOR: CREATE A BRIEF PRACTICE QUIZ AND INSERT NAME/LOCATION OF QUIZ].
  • Upon completing and submitting the practice quiz, exit LockDown Browser.

When taking an online exam that requires LockDown Browser and a webcam, remember the following guidelines:

  • Ensure you're in a location where you won't be interrupted
  • Turn off all other devices (e.g., tablets, phones, second computers) and place them outside of your reach
  • Clear your desk of all external materials not permitted — books, papers, other devices
  • Before starting the text, know how much time is available for it and that you've allotted sufficient time to complete it
  • Remain at your computer for the duration of the test
  • If the computer or networking environment is different than what was used previously with the Webcam Check and System & Network Check in LockDown Browser, rerun the checks before starting the test
  • To produce a good webcam video, do the following:
    • Avoid wearing baseball caps or hats with brims
    • Ensure your computer or tablet is on a firm surface (a desk or table). Do NOT place the computer on your lap, a bed or other surface where the device (or you) are likely to move
    • If using a built-in webcam, avoid tilting the screen after the webcam setup is complete
    • Take the exam in a well-lit room and avoid backlighting, such as sitting with your back to a window
  • Remember that LockDown Browser will prevent you from accessing other websites or applications; you will be unable to exit the test until all questions are completed and submitted
  • Visit the Respondus Technical Support website for assistance with LockDown Browser or Monitor products, or use the Live Chat for assistance while testing with Respondus Monitor.

Other Available Proctoring Options

  • In person proctoring: Students could be allowed to take their proctored exam (s)—either online or on paper--at a testing center in their community or here at VSU.  Costs for this option usually require a fee between $15-$40, and students must make their own arrangements.  VSU’s Office of Testing has some limited availability for students in VSU fully online courses, and the test (s) can be administered at no charge.  However, because of social distancing requirements, the Center can only accommodate 10 test-takers at a time who must register in advance. Faculty can check with the Office of Testing for seat availability either by emailing testing@valdosta.edu or calling 229-245-3878.

    If faculty have students who are registered with our Access Office, that office will also have some capacity to work with students who need additional time or other accommodations for tests.

  • Virtual via various webconferencing licenses: VSU has licenses to two platforms that you can use to proctor one-on-one or small-groups (multiple windows may be problematic). These resources are used synchronously and are free to students. The exam can be online or on paper.
  • Blackboard Collaborate Ultra - can record and upload to BlazeVIEW course, whiteboard available - maximum of 4 students can be viewed.
  • MS Teams - allows one to take control of student’s computer to put in password; can record and upload to OneDrive - Maximum of 8 students can be viewed.