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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 Toolbox on the subject authored by Andreas Broscheid and Emily O. Gravett, visit our Assessment, Exams, and Integrity page, and/or request a Libraries consultation.

Challenges and Concerns with Online Proctoring

If synchronous and secure exams are necessary, you 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 Practice Exams to Prepare Students for Online Finals

Practice exams give you and your students a chance to discover technology issues before the exam. They also help to reduce student anxiety about testing, proctoring, or monitoring technologies. For these reasons, practice exams are considered a best practice for online education.

Here are a few tips:

  • Use the same technology that students will encounter during the actual exam.
  • You may include fun or off-topic questions or use the practice exam as a quiz or exam preparation activity.

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 or exams. 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 set up a quiz, test, or exam in Canvas that requires students to use LockDown Browser:

1. Create the quiz, test, or exam in your Canvas course.

2. From course navigation in Canvas, select LockDown Browser. See the three arrows on the screenshot below:

3. A list of quizzes in the course will be displayed.

  • Quizzes labeled with Required will require students to use LockDown Browser.
  • Quizzes labeled with Not Required to not require student to use LockDown Browser.
  • To change the settings, click the down arrow icon and select Settings. Additional options will appear, allowing you to add LockDown Browser and/or LockDown Monitor to your quiz. See screenshot below:

  • Several Advanced Settings are available. 
    • The first setting will prevent students from exiting the browser until the exam is completed. This is sometimes used in testing centers where a proctor can enter a password to exit an exam early.
    • The second setting will allow students to take the exam with an iPad, using the free LockDown Browser app. 
    • The third setting will allow students to access a list of specified web domains during the text.
    • The fourth and fifth settings allow instructors to provide students with a calculator or print function in the LockDown Browser toolbar.
    • For additional information, select the [explain] link that follows each setting.
    • See screenshot below:  

You may additionally require that LockDown Browser be used to view quiz feedback and results. 

Optionally you may create an access code that students must enter to start the quiz. LockDown Browser will prompt students to enter the instructor-provided code before proceeding with the quiz.

Getting help with LockDown Browser

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

Respondus Monitor

What is 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. When Respondus Monitor is enabled for a quiz or exam, students are required to use a webcam and microphone with Lockdown Browser. After the quiz or exam is complete, an instructor can review details, even the recorded videos. 

Challenges and concerns with online 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.

If synchronous and secure exams are necessary, we encourage you to be aware of the challenges and ethical concerns associated with online proctoring, such as data privacy concerns, student discomfort, inability to meet accommodations for student with disabilities, and more.

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. 

Using Respondus Monitor

  1. If this is your first time using Lockdown Browser, make it visible in your course navigation settings.
  2. Settings for Respondus Monitor will appear in the Lockdown Browser Dashboard. This is found on the left toolbar. 
  3. First, create a quiz in Canvas and publish it. 
    • You will find the option to make quizzes through the quiz sidebar.
    • After you select + Quiz, a variety of quiz setting options will appear.
    • You may wish to view the Canvas tutorial for making and publishing a quiz.
  4. Enable Lockdown Browser and Monitor for the quiz. Monitor cannot be used without Lockdown Browser.
    • When viewing the quiz settings, select the Require Respondus Monitor for this exam option. See the two arrows on the screenshot below:
    • You also have the option to allow students to take the exam with a webcam or in a proctored testing lab, if they can access it. If that is the case, select the Either Respondus Monitor or a proctored lab can be used to take this exam option. See the two arrows on the screenshot below:
    • A password will then be required for the exam. We advise making the password you create specific to that one exam.
  5. You will then see the Startup Sequence options, which includes the steps a student must complete prior to the start of the exam.
    • Most settings are optional and can be re-ordered by dragging and dropping them.
    • It is important to think of the privacy of your students when deciding whether to enable these features.  
  6. Click Save and Close to apply the settings. 

Reviewing student webcam videos

If students were required to use Respondus Monitor (webcam feature) with the quiz, you as instructor can access information about the quiz sessions and can review the recorded videos. Note that Respondus Monitor is intended to be a deterrent, so it's up to the instructor to determine the level of review warranted.

To review student webcam videos:

1. Visit the LockDown Browser dashboard in your Canvas course. 

2. Click the down arrow at the left of the quiz title and select Class Results. See screenshot below.

3. You will see a roster of students in the course, along with the date, time, duration, review, priority, and grade for the quiz.

4. Click [+] to expand the section for a student.

5. Details of the startup sequence and the exam session are shown in thumbnails. Click a thumbnail to view the video from the time indicated. Videos can be marked as reviewed. You can also add comments. 

For more information about reviewing webcam videos, view this guide from Respondus

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:

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

Additional resources:

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