LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor Accessibility
LockDown Browser, a custom browser that prevents cheating during an online exam, and Respondus Monitor, a companion product for LockDown Browser that deters cheating by using a webcam, can be incorporated into Canvas quizzes by the instructor. Please be aware that, although these applications can prevent cheating, they can also create barriers for students, especially students with disabilities. Below are some points to keep in mind:
Indicate Where Students Can Get Help
All instructors who use LockDown Browser will need to let all of their students know how they can get help if something goes wrong. Once LockDown Browser and the Canvas quiz have started, the student cannot start another browser, or send an email, or make a phone call or text on their computer without closing LockDown Browser and ending the quiz. Instructors should clearly state their policy on using cell phones during a quiz for emergencies, such as in the syllabus, the quiz instructions, and in the Respondus Monitor additional instructions. Instructors should clearly indicate which days and times they are available to answer a call from a student taking the quiz who needs help, such as allowing a student to retake a quiz after restarting their computer.
Screen reader software, like JAWS and NVDA, reads all text and menu items with a synthesized voice to help students who are blind access the computer, which LockDown Browser is compatible with. But, if something goes wrong, like if the screen reader stops working, the student will not be able to restart the screen reader because LockDown Browser will prevent that. The student will need to close LockDown Browser, which will probably involve restarting the entire computer because they won't be able to use the screen reader, and then contact the instructor to retake the quiz.
Reading software, like Kurzweil 3000, reads Canvas pages and quizzes with a synthesized voice to help students with learning disabilities to read, which LockDown Browser is NOT compatible with. Instructors will need to make a special exception for students who have an accommodation to use reading software, such as allowing the student to take quizzes without LockDown Browser. One solution would be to create a duplicate quiz for certain students, which is described on Disabling LockDown Browser for Individual Students.
Respondus Monitor uses a student’s webcam to check that certain parameters are met and then flags the instructor if they are not met. A blind student may not be able to perform some of the startup sequence events set up by the instructor in Respondus Monitor, such as show ID, environment check, and facial detection. Flags do not end the quiz, but a student may repeatedly get a warning that their face is not viewable. Also, flags do not indicate cheating, which instructors will need to keep in mind when reviewing flags afterward.
Please contact me if you have questions about LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor. Comment below about your experience using these applications, if any of the situations above happened to you and how you handled them, or if you have other strategies to prevent cheating during quizzes.
John Cavano, OTR/L, ATP