Respondus LockDown Browser: Unexpected Benefits and Savings
Most institutions purchase Respondus LockDown Browser as a way to deter the digital cheating that can occur during online testing. But some institutions report additional, unexpected benefits from using Respondus LockDown Browser. Here are the stories of two institutions.
Fewer Technical Support Issues
Taylor University in Upland, Indiana originally looked at Respondus LockDown Browser as a way to enhance the proctoring system in their computer labs. But as instructors began to use LockDown Browser, the solution to an entirely different problem resulted.
Taylor University had been struggling with instructor and student complaints about technical issues during online exams. Gary Friesen, Director of Academic Technology, said their staff would investigate the issues and generally find that they were attributable to user error. For instance, students were using the back arrow in their browser and would inadvertently close out of the test. Other students were accidentally closing the browser and losing their answers. Sometimes students didn’t properly submit the assessment for grading.
“Once instructors began having students use Respondus LockDown Browser, the submission failure rate of online tests dropped to almost zero,” reports Friesen. “This alone was worth the price of LockDown Browser.”
Less Paper, Fewer Proctors
Some instructors give daily or weekly quizzes to keep students current with their coursework. Even when single-sheet quizzes are used, the printing costs for a course can add up quickly. Multiply this by the hundreds or thousands of courses that use paper-based quizzing… well, you get the idea. The fact is, many colleges and universities spend over $1 million annually on printing, a significant portion of which is for tests and quizzes.
Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, Canada, purchased Respondus LockDown Browser to deter students from cheating during online assessments. They were also looking for ways to prevent students from easily printing and copying tests, thereby offering some protection for questions that instructors spend so much time creating.
Linda Young, Manager of Learning System Services, reports that Respondus LockDown Browser gives teachers more confidence in online testing. As the use of online testing increases, Fanshawe College is seeing a reduction in the use of printed quizzes. “This benefit and cost savings was entirely unexpected.” says Ms. Young.
Some institutions also report that fewer proctors are needed in computer labs and testing centers that use Respondus LockDown Browser. That’s because Respondus LockDown Browser prevents students from opening other applications during an online test, eliminating the use of Instant Messaging, Google, or other such programs. When there are fewer ways to cheat on an online exam, fewer proctors are needed.
Increased Faculty Use of Online Testing
Taylor University and Fanshawe College are both seeing greater uptake in online testing. Gary Friesen feels the increased usage at Taylor University is attributable to greater confidence by faculty in online testing. “Professors were frustrated over technical failures that would occur during online assessments. LockDown Browser has solved this and the usage has been steadily increasing over the past two years.” In fact, Gary reports that usage of online testing has nearly doubled during that time.
At Fanshawe College, there was early skepticism that Respondus LockDown Browser could actually prevent students from breaking out during an online assessment. So Linda Young challenged her co-op students, from the School of Information Technology, to find an exploit or way to break out of an online assessment. “We figured that an IT student would have the greatest skills for exploiting the locked testing environment,” she explains. “If these students couldn’t break out, then instructors would be confident that other students couldn’t do it either.” And sure enough, “they couldn’t,” says Linda. “That was a challenge we were glad the students failed.”
Today, approximately 6,000 assessments are delivered monthly via Fanshawe College’s course management system. This number is growing as teachers gain confidence in the benefits of online test delivery.
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