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dwillmore
Community Champion

Controlling Test Environments with Software - Lockdown Browser

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Hello,

I have just been tasked with looking into software solutions that control what a person does on their computer for a period of time.   Testing on campus using the student's personal computer is the need case.

If we are not looking at a proctored solution, the only software solution that I can think of is the Respondus Lockdown Browser.   Does anyone know of competing solutions?

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kblack
Community Champion

Hi David - I agree with Laura philosophically, but I'm sympathetic with the position that you're in because we were faced with something similar on several fronts. I don't have an answer to competitors (though Laura's article listed a few others!), but allow me to point out that the Lockdown Browser alone is not sufficient for a non-proctored solution such as what you are looking for. While the Lockdown Browser will indeed prevent the students from opening up another application on their computers, if they are not being proctored there is absolutely nothing to prevent them from whipping out their smartphone, tablet, etc., etc.  

So unless you are in a situation where you can enforce what students can take into an exam room with them (having a TSA agent around might help, as well! 🙂 ), Lockdown Browser alone will not help. We did look into their non-proctored solution (Respondus Monitor), but the pricing was pretty steep. And indeed, as Laura suggests, that's the one where a camera is recording everything.

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laurakgibbs
Community Champion

Not a solution to the problem but instead reposing the problem:

Online Courses Shouldn’t Use Remote Proctoring Tools. Here’s Why. | EdSurge News 

You might find something in the comments to Matt Reed's post at IHE from last night (and I shared Jill's article there too...)

Online Testing | Confessions of a Community College Dean 

kblack
Community Champion

Hi David - I agree with Laura philosophically, but I'm sympathetic with the position that you're in because we were faced with something similar on several fronts. I don't have an answer to competitors (though Laura's article listed a few others!), but allow me to point out that the Lockdown Browser alone is not sufficient for a non-proctored solution such as what you are looking for. While the Lockdown Browser will indeed prevent the students from opening up another application on their computers, if they are not being proctored there is absolutely nothing to prevent them from whipping out their smartphone, tablet, etc., etc.  

So unless you are in a situation where you can enforce what students can take into an exam room with them (having a TSA agent around might help, as well! 🙂 ), Lockdown Browser alone will not help. We did look into their non-proctored solution (Respondus Monitor), but the pricing was pretty steep. And indeed, as Laura suggests, that's the one where a camera is recording everything.

dwillmore
Community Champion

Ken and laurakgibbs‌,

I agree completely with both of you here.  At this moment I am playing the soldier's role of 'do or die' and nothing more.  The lockdown browser discussion is concerning student computers brought into a classroom for face-to-face proctoring for our nursing program.   The exams being proctored are for standardized tests that have to be taken by nursing students.  The nursing faculty seek a means to control what the students have access to when they take these tests.  As I have said in previous posts, if a student wants to cheat badly enough they will do so.  It becomes a game of espionage and counter-espionage. 

I am not a fan of multiple-guess testing and the usual variations of that question type, but many of our faculty love this type of assessment and will never be moved to assess in any other way.  As I stated above, many standardized tests involve the same assessment types.

After a skim of the article, Laura shared, I find that I agree with much of what was said.  Laura always advocates, rightly so I think, a move away from a GPA mentality for a more formative assessment of student accomplishment and retention in any given field.  This is especially true in higher education, but the reality is that we are not there yet in academia or business.

kblack
Community Champion

Hi David - Yes, and we're especially not there in the medical-related programs like Nursing, which tend to want to give students a similar experience to what they will have on their professional exams! The Lockdown Browser purchase we made was precisely because of our Nursing program as well as our Physician Assistant Studies program. I have to say it has generally been performing just fine, and in fact a few faculty from other disciplines have used it, as well. I'll be interested in hearing how everything goes for you.

And don't get me wrong: if faculty feel like this type of exam is the one they need to give for whatever reasons, sure, they should give the type of exam that they truly believe is best. But if, on top of that, they are not able to trust their students, then THAT is a serious problem. Because the surveillance thing is not even an assessment issue, but a trust issue.

If you give students a really hard memorization exam, you are conveying to them a message that it is important to have this material memorized; I get that. Not my style of exam, but at least it conveys a real challenge to the students, a challenge that might inspire them to memorize a ton of stuff.

But if you are using elaborate surveillance technology to monitor them, the message you are conveying is: I don't trust you. And that is a really terrible message to convey IMO.

Robbie_Grant
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @dwillmore ,

Were you able to find an answer to your question? I am going to go ahead and mark this question as answered because there hasn't been any more activity in a while so I assume that you have the information that you need. If you still have a question about this or if you have information that you would like to share with the community, by all means, please do come back and leave a comment.  Also, if this question has been answered by one of the previous replies, please feel free to mark that answer as correct.

 

Robbie