Respondus Monitor and Lockdown Browser for JMU Instructors: Authentic Assessment and Test Proctoring

JMU Libraries recommends authentic forms of student assessment. Assessments of this kind can include take-home, open-book, or open-note exams, final projects, or other demonstrations of learning that best align with course learning objectives.

In an online learning environment, these assessments can 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 and hybrid environments, please review the CFI Teaching Toolbox on the subject authored by Andreas Broscheid and Emily O. Gravett, and/or request a Libraries consultation with a Libraries’ instructional designer.

Challenges and concerns with online proctoring

If synchronous and secure exams are necessary for online/hybrid courses, you can use Respondus LockDown Browser and/or Respondus Monitor. If you do this, please share our Using Respondus to Take Exams page with your students, and let them know that when they take a test in Canvas that requires the use of the LockDown browser, they can use any of the Libraries’ public workstations.

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 (Note: 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.

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