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Suggestions for Making Online Quizzes Secure

Designing, delivering, and managing course assessments involves balancing academic integrity, accessibility, and security, particularly in remote settings. Emphasizing one factor may complicate the others; for instance, increasing accessibility could heighten plagiarism risks. Similarly, adding security measures might impede quiz accessibility. Finding the right balance tailored to students and testing goals is crucial. Consider employing security tools like Respondus LockDown Browser or Respondus Monitor cautiously, only after implementing other safeguards.

Making Online Quizzes Secure

Before considering the use of one of the Respondus options, you should consider these methods that further reduce the risk of cheating. Each approach below provides another layer of security, and employing one or two of these items can often provide sufficient security for most assessments.

  • Have a Policy:
    Include a statement in your course that cheating is not tolerated, how it will be managed, and be precise in what behaviours you consider to be disallowed.
  • Communication:
    Be clear with students that you have access to quiz logs which provide insight into the students’ browsing behaviour while taking quizzes.
  • Question Types:
    Consider replacing multiple choice and true/false question types with more challenging types, like Essay, Formula, Numerical Answer, or Fill in the Blank. There are many such types available in MyCanvas.
  • Weighting:
    Make electronic quizzes a small proportion of the grade, and reduce the incentive to cheat by allocating a lesser weight.
  • Digital Devices:
    Maintain a no-device policy during quizzes.
  • Quiz Passwords (MyCanvas quiz setting):
    A quiz password prevents students from accessing the exam until a password has been supplied. Quiz passwords can be typed by the proctors themselves (for added security) or conveyed to the student at the start of the exam.
  • Attempts Allowed (MyCanvas quiz setting):
    By only allowing one attempt for a quiz, students won’t be able to determine the questions in the quiz, look up the answers at a later time, and then retake the quiz.
  • Randomize Options (MyCanvas quiz setting):
    Answer choices to multiple choice and multi-select questions can easily be randomized. This setting is selected at the time a quiz is created.
  • Question Randomization (MyCanvas quiz setting):
    Question randomization ensures that the question order is different for each student. To create a randomized quiz, you need to build your questions in a Question (Classic Quizzes) or Item (New Quizzes) Bank first, then create a question group in your quiz, and draw the questions from the bank into the quiz.
  • IP Restriction (MyCanvas quiz setting):
    If quizzes are being delivered from a central location, the IP address (or a partial address) for those computers can be specified, thus preventing access from other locations.
  • Availability Dates and Times (MyCanvas quiz setting):
    This setting restricts the availability of the quiz to a specific date/time range. Carefully consider the time allowed to do a quiz, considering the complexity or difficulty of the questions.
  • Proctors:
    Having students take an exam in a room being monitored by a proctor is a major deterrent to most forms of cheating. Alternatively, monitoring a remote class from within a MS Teams or Zoom session can also be effective.
Considerations When Choosing to Use Respondus

Integrating tools like Respondus can deter cheating but also complicates quiz-taking. Technical issues may arise during session initiation or afterward, and some students may opt out of using such tools altogether. Anticipate that requiring Respondus may lead to some students not taking the quiz and establish policies for addressing these situations and providing accommodations.

In the case of Respondus Monitor:

  • The pre-quiz set-up procedures can be intimidating and stressful for some students, already apprehensive because of the quiz.
  • Student may not have a webcam on their computer, disallowing them to take the quiz.
  • Student may not have sufficient Internet bandwidth. They may pass the pre-quiz setup but the session recording fails when the connection becomes unstable.
  • Student may be unwilling to allow a recording of their face, a requirement of using Monitor.

Also, it needs to be understood that Respondus LockDown Browser and/or Monitor is not a total solution to ensure academic integrity. For example:

  • Students working from remote locations could use two computers at once (one for taking the exam under LockDown Browser, the other for accessing other applications).
  • Students can use cameras and phones to capture and share screen content, send text messages, or refer to external resources.
  • Respondus Monitor will not flag all suspect behaviours. To get a more complete accounting of the student’s behavior during the quiz, you may need to watch the student videos in their entirety.



What options can I set in a quiz?

How do I use the Moderation page in New Quizzes?

How do I view a quiz log for a student? (Classic Quizzes)