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Guide to Hybrid & Online Teaching at JMU

Respondus Lockdown Browser and Proctoring

We recommend prioritizing authentic forms of student assessment driven by course learning objectives.

On this page:

Authentic Assessment and Test Proctoring Software


We recommend prioritizing authentic forms of student assessment driven by course learning objectives. Assessments of this kind can include take-home, open-book, or open-note exams, final projects, or other demonstrations of learning. These assessments can easily be made asynchronous to reduce the likelihood of technical issues, decrease test anxiety associated with mediated and timed exams, and to more accurately assess course learning objectives. To learn more about authentic assessment and grade integrity in online environments, please review the CFI Teaching Toolkit on the subject authored by Andreas Broscheid and Emily O. Gravett, visit our Assessment, Exams, and Integrity page, and/or request a Libraries consultation.

If synchronous and secure exams are necessary, faculty can use Respondus LockDown browser and/or Respondus Monitor. However, we encourage you to be aware of challenges and ethical concerns associated with online proctoring, including:

  • Difficulty in meeting accommodations for students with disabilities
  • Concerns with privacy and the possibility of racial and gender bias inherent in facial recognition software
  • Student discomfort with displaying their home environments
  • Inability of some students to meet hardware and bandwidth requirements
  • Increased test anxiety
  • Data privacy concerns students may have when asked to install proctoring software that can access their webcams
  • Challenges students may have in finding a suitable (quiet and uninterrupted) environment in which to take the test without falsely flagging them as cheaters
  • Requirements in some proctoring systems for showing a state ID that may not match a student’s preferred name or gender identification (Please note that JMU’s security mitigations for Respondus Monitor requires that instructors ask students to use their JACards in lieu of driver’s licenses or other forms of photo ID)

More information on these concerns is available in Shea Swauger’s Our Bodies Encoded: Algorithmic Test Proctoring in Higher Education.

Use Respondus Lockdown Browser


Respondus LockDown Browser™ is a secure browser for taking exams in Canvas.

It does not require a webcam or constitute “proctoring” software. It does, however, prevent students from copying and pasting, going to another URL, printing, or accessing other applications during an assessment. If a Canvas exam requires that Respondus LockDown Browser be used, students will not be able to take the test with a standard web browser. LockDown Browser does not work with Chromebooks.

If you plan to require or recommend the use of Lockdown Browser, we highly recommend you create a practice exam for students so they can test the technology and practice using it before taking the actual exam. This will help minimize technical problems, confusion, and anxiety during an exam

If you are recommending that students use Respondus Lockdown Browser, please make sure they have the most recent instructions for downloading it, available on our student Guide to Hybrid & Online Learning

Respondus LockDown Browser should only be used for Canvas tests. It should not be used in other areas of Canvas. To learn more about creating an exam with Respondus LockDown Browser in Canvas follow this Quick Start Guide from Respondus or this set of instructions with screenshots.

To get help with Respondus Lockdown Browser, contact the Libraries' Learning Technology Services team by calling 540-568-5312 during our support hours or by emailing

Use Respondus Monitor

Respondus Monitor is an online test proctoring software system integrated into Canvas. It is an additional feature of Lockdown Browser that uses a webcam to provide synchronous test proctoring. 

Although we recommend the use of authentic or alternative forms of assessment in online or hybrid classes, if you need to create an online proctored exam and the lower-tech approach of self-proctoring through WebEx or Zoom is not possible, Respondus Monitor may be helpful.

As shared in a September 25th memo from the Registrar and Provost’s Office, Guidance for Final Exams, Fall 2020, “diversity and inclusion concerns… should be carefully weighed before choosing to use algorithmic proctoring platforms.” The memo also states:

Where synchronous and/or secure online final exams are necessary, faculty are encouraged to use the functions currently available within Canvas. These include time limitations, random item order, multiple forms of tests, quiz log, the Respondus LockDown browser, and other features. 

Tips for faculty planning to use Respondus Monitor:

  1. Include information about Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor in your syllabus, such as something like this:
    • "This course will use the Respondus Lockdown Browser, including Lockdown Monitor, for some tests or exams. The only acceptable form of identification to use with Monitor is your JMU JACard. You will need to download Respondus Lockdown Browser and permit the computer to enable Respondus Monitor to connect to your webcam. Your computer needs both a camera and a microphone. Follow these instructions to download Respondus Lockdown Browser. Note that Respondus Monitor is compatible ONLY with Windows, Mac OS, or iPad devices. Monitor is not compatible with Chromebooks, Linux, or Android devices. If you do not have the necessary computer, webcam/camera, and microphone, please let me know as soon as possible."
  2. Create a back-up assessment plan for students who don't have the required equipment, including a webcam, microphone, and compatible computer or device. The compatible computers/devices include Windows, Mac OS and iPad only. Monitor is NOT compatible with Chromebooks, Linux or Android devices. If you need help creating a back-up assessment plan, please request a consultation with a Libraries expert.
  3. Provide a back-up assessment plan for students who are registered through the Office of Disability Services for accommodations. 
  4. Allow a trial test or exam to give students a chance to set up the webcam properly and try using the Respondus software. Plan for set-up time for exams proctored with Respondus Monitor. 
  5. For recordings and video conferencing involving observing clinical sessions, telemedicine activities, discussing patient information, etc., please refer to subject-specific  HIPAA guidelines.

For additional Respondus Monitor information and support:

Use DIY Proctoring to Meet Student Accommodations


Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor make providing accommodations from ODS difficult or impossible. If you must proctor an exam for a student with accommodations, an alternative approach may be necessary.

WebEx or Zoom can be used for do-it-yourself online proctoring. A WebEx or Zoom meeting session through Canvas can display student videos during the exam. Visit our Zoom and Webex pages for more information on scheduling and recording Zoom and Webex sessions.

Note: for online self-proctoring with WebEx or Zoom, the students will need to have a webcam. This will need advanced setup time before the exam. 

For recordings and video conferencing involving observing clinical sessions, telemedicine activities, discussing patient information, etc., please refer to subject-specific HIPAA guidelines

Find more topics in this guide on the A-Z Page List or in the menu.