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Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor - Getting Started Guide (Instructors)

This article provides comprehensive information about the Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor, tools for administering secure online examinations. LockDown Browser restricts users from accessing other applications or functions during an exam, while Monitor records the user's activity during the test via webcam and microphone. The article encourages instructors to consider the necessity of digital proctoring, suggesting alternative assessment methods and pedagogical strategies that could reduce student stress and anxiety. It offers detailed guidelines for instructors who choose to use the tools, including steps to secure departmental approval, notify students, schedule training, set up assessments, and provide feedback. The article emphasizes transparency, student support, and the flexibility to adapt based on students' needs or technical issues.

What is LockDown Browser and Monitor?

LockDown Browser is a custom web browser that controls digital environment during online examinations. It restricts students from navigating away from the testing page, accessing other applications, or performing certain functions, such as copy-paste or print screen, during an examination.

Monitor, on the other hand, works in conjunction with LockDown Browser and utilizes a student's webcam and microphone to record their activity during the examination period. It uses AI algorithms and facial detection to identify potential anomalies or behaviors that might be out of the norm.

Monitor is optional functionality that relies on LockDown Browser. Support for LockDown Browser for Instructors is provided by Respondus.

For More Information

Before You Begin

Avoid Using Proctoring Where Possible.

Take stock of your specific needs and weigh the benefits and potential drawbacks of proctoring. While digital proctoring can aid in maintaining academic integrity, it should be complemented with other pedagogical strategies to reduce stress and anxiety among students. Proctoring increases student anxiety which can negatively impact student success.

For each assessment, is a proctoring tool necessary or can the desired outcomes be achieved using alternative assessment methods?

Sometimes, making changes to quizzes can have a positive impact on academic integrity without adding a new tool to the mix.

  • Configure the quiz to show one question at a time.
  • Shuffle multiple choice answers.
  • Use a question bank to provide different questions to different students.
  • Ask qualitative, open-ended questions that demonstrates synthesis of knowledge, not just recollection.

Using different kinds of assessments can provide a superior experience for students that results in deeper, more meaningful learning.

  • Use open-book quizzes in-combination with open-ended questions to encourage students to apply their knowledge through a more active learning activity, rather than through fact recollection.
  • Design assignments to be completed through a course project with frequent check-in points, activities that require showing their work, along with frequent, meaningful interaction with the instructor or subject matter experts.
  • Leverage group projects where each member is required to demonstrate their work for credit, along with peer review.

Learn more about augmenting proctoring, or foundational information on how to redesign your course: Digital Proctoring - Alternatives to Proctoring Software

For additional information about alternatives to proctoring, contact the CETL Support Commons.

Use the Right Tool for the Job

If you decide that proctoring is necessary, there is no one single combination of technologies that fits all needs, and you should consider using the least technology needed to meet your need in the interest of reducing complexity. Refer to Digital Learning Environment - Computer LockDown and Proctoring Software Options for a comparison of available proctoring solutions and use only what is absolutely necessary.

Define Alternatives for Proctoring

UWM strongly encourages instructors to provide alternatives for students who are unable to participate in proctoring due to technical reasons. Federal law, state statute and UW System policy guarantee students with accessibility needs receive reasonable accommodation to participate in courses which may involve bypassing proctoring. Additionally, UWM also encourages instructors to develop alternatives to using digital proctoring when it comes to accommodating students with complex and stressful life circumstances where the impact of proctoring can be "the straw that broke the camel's back".

Always have a plan B, and start simple.

Getting Support for Respondus LockDown Browser

How to Begin Using Respondus LockDown Browser and (Optionally) Monitor

Step 0: Obtain Departmental Approval and Request for LockDown Browser

  • Consult with your department chair or designated departmental/school staff to secure funding for your courses to use LockDown Browser. LockDown Browser is not funded centrally; to use LockDown Browser, your department will be billed for usage.
  • In Canvas browse to the course you wish to use LockDown Browser in. Then click on UWM Canvas Tools and request for Respondus LockDown Browser.
    Canvas - External Tools - Request for a Tool to be Added to My Course
  • When you request for LockDown Browser, you will be asked to provide times to meet with a CETL or school/college consultant to discuss the use of proctoring in your course. You will also be asked for a billing contact for your department.
  • You will receive an email when the work is complete, and LockDown Browser is installed in your course.
    Note: CETL is in the process of migrating some business workflows to Neurons, UWM's IT ticketing system. CETL email requests may come from helpdesk@it.uwm.edu or dlesupport-auto@uwm.edu

Because billing must be re-assessed, and available technologies may change, instructors must request for LockDown Browser for every course it is needed, every semester. You will only be asked to meet with a consultant once a semester, and depending on the climate you may not need to re-meet every semester. 

Step 1: Notify Your Students and Update Your Syllabus

A key part of using digital proctoring in your course is being transparent to your students. Students are likely to be concerned about privacy, integrity of their systems, may feel stressed, and may have justifiable reasons to not use proctoring. You can make the use of digital proctoring smoother by following best practices.

Import the Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor Adoption Kit

To help jump-start your use of LDB and Monitor to support your students, and to help you obtain support, download and install our Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor Adoption Kit.

  1. Login to Canvas
  2. Click Canvas Commons in Canvas Navigation.
    1. If you are asked to authorize, accept the authorization.
  3. Search for "UWM | LDB Adoption Kit"
  4. Click the "Import/Download" button on the right.
  5. Search for and select your course. Then, click "Import into Course" at the bottom of your course list.

Alternatively, you can download the module and import it into your course.

Step 2: Schedule Training and Review Support Resources

Respondus offers online webinars, training videos as well as short Q&A sessions with training staff. Responduses training staff can answer questions about implementation, how the service works, and how to best use the service.

In your Canvas Course with LDB enabled, click the "Respondus LockDown Browser" link in your courses navigation. Then, click the "Guides and Support" tab. Lastly, look under "Connect with a Respondus Trainer".

Step 3: Set-up a Test Assessment

By using a test assessment, you can help students understand the experience and expectations of using a digital proctoring tool. It can help you and your students discover hiccups.

Offer a test quiz at least one week before your first proctored assessment. You may wish to incentivize taking the test quiz. In the test quiz, ask your students to confirm everything is working, and accept feedback from your students on their comfort level, and concerns. 

Additional Information

Step 4: Configure Your Other Assessments

  • Use the same settings for your assessments that you used for the practice quiz.
  • You should also ensure your students know whether you are using a Classic Quiz or a New Quiz.
    Note: UWM support staff discourage the use of New Quizzes unless there is an instructional need to use it.
  • If your students are unable to download Respondus LockDown Browser, contact the CETL Support Commons for a direct link for you to share.

Step 5: Debrief Your Students and Arrange for Makeup Exams

  • To support your students and relieve stress and anxiety, re-cap the results of the assessment with your class.
  • Address any technical issues which may have appeared during the assessment.
  • Take advantage of the discussion to re-visit course subjects and concepts which may have been challenging for your students.
  • If, through discussion, you uncover circumstances that suggest a makeup exam, and additional assessment, or a complete re-offering of the assessment is necessary, take the time to inform your students and be transparent as to why, and what you hope to achieve. Regardless of the scale and scope, offer opportunities for your course to re-vist concepts and apply knowledge.

For More Information

Digital Proctoring - Tips for Providing Feedback to Students and Planning Makeup Exams

Step 6: Provide Feedback to Respondus

If you find issues with LockDown Browser, or you have constructive feedback to improve the product and provide additional functionality, you are encouraged to submit feedback to Respondus by submitting a ticket to their support service. 

Do You Have a Strategy or Best Practice to Share?

Contact the CETL Support Commons. Information shared with CETL is also shared with the UWM Help Desk, UWM Libraries, support in the Schools and Colleges, and other teaching and learning professionals. Best practices may be used in future training materials, may be converted into a Knowledgebase article, or may even become the topic of professional development.

For More Information

For information on Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor, refer to the Respondus Support site.

For assistance developing assessments, and re-designing your course to minimize the use of proctoring, and to develop alternatives, contact the CETL Support Commons.

If you encounter issues with campus technology, have questions about the availability of LDB in computer labs, and other concerns, contact the UWM Help Desk.

Note: This article was prepared with the assistance of ChatGPT, and also uses information from Respondus and other UW System institutions with permission.



KeywordsLockDown Browser, Respondus Monitor, digital proctoring, online examinations, academic integrity, pedagogical strategies, student stress, departmental approval, student notification, training, assessments, feedback, accessibility, alternatives to proctoring   Doc ID129870
OwnerDavid D.GroupCETL
Created2023-07-20 11:20:55Updated2023-08-16 11:38:05
SitesUW-Milwaukee Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
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