Setting a test for completion using the Respondus Lock Down Browser

What is the Respondus Lock Down Browser?

Respondus Lock Browser is a customised browser that restricts the testing environment within Blackboard. It stops students from; printing, copying, browsing to other web sites or using any other application on the computer during the test. This specialised browser also removes the browser “back button”, which is purported to be the highest cause of incorrect test submissions (see below). Please access the Respondus web site for a full feature list.

This browser is installed in all Student PC labs on the Aston campus. It is NOT installed on staff desktop computers as standard. If you wish to try it out please contact the ISA desktop support representative in your school or the ISA help desk.

Respondus and Blackboard

In order to force a student to use the Respondus browser whilst sitting a test, you must enable it in the Respondus settings within the relevant Blackboard module.

Why use it?

There are a number of reasons why Respondus can be useful other than “locking” the computer from being able to access other applications, as described above.

  1. When a user tries to close the Respondus browser they are shown a warning that they are closing the browser, which they must then confirm to continue with the action. This helps to reduce user error of accidentally closing the browser window.
  2. In conjunction with a setting on the Blackboard test, it is possible to set a password to stop a user leaving the test prematurely. This can help to further reduce the risk of the browser being closed accidentally.
  3. Commonly, when a student is sitting a test that shows one question per page, the student will click the browser’s back button intending to navigate to the previous question. When they do this they navigate back to the page where the test was launched from, therefore leaving test and often losing any unsaved answers they may have entered. The Respondus browser does not have a back button and so again minimises the risk of this user error.

Please be mindful that, if a calculator is required for a test, you will need to make sure that your students have access to a physical calculator, during the test and not rely on Respondus to make the on-screen calculator tool available.