Do you have an online examination on Blackboard? Do you want to find out whether any attempts at cheating could be identified during your test? We at PriorityLearn do not condone cheating of any kind but for educational purposes, we’ll be outlining some of the activities Blackboard can detect during test-taking.
With the growth of online learning comes concerns about students cheating in their online tests. While some institutions leverage test centers, this is inconvenient for students based outside the location of the institution.
Online proctoring was the solution to this challenge and educational institutions leveraging Blackboard and other learning management systems could now provide a more secure and convenient test-taking environment for their students.
Platforms like Blackboard have taken the step to provide features that enables institutions using these platforms to better administer their online examinations. This article will be looking at some of the features Blackboard has implemented and what they can detect during test-taking.
Can Blackboard Detect Cheating
Let’s dive in headfirst with a general question most students preparing for an online examination would ask. While most students don’t cheat, online examinations in the past saw a higher number of students cheating as the absence of invigilators and the convenient environment and access to information led students who would in most cases refrain from cheating to resort to cheating.
So, in summing up a response to the question of whether Blackboard can detect cheating, our response is simple.
Yes. Blackboard leverages Respondus Monitor and LockDown Browser to prevent and detect cheating during online exams and SafeAssign plagiarism checker to identify plagiarized content. Respondus Monitors accesses the computer’s webcam and microphone to record the exam environment while recording the computer screen.
LockDown Browser also prevents students from capturing screenshots, visiting other websites, accessing other applications, right-clicking, copy-pasting, activating function keys, using shortcuts and multiple displays.
Tools Blackboard Uses To Detect Cheating
While no educational institution is happy with going to extremes to deter cheating, a few cheaters mixed in with the good students could hurt the credibility of an established school’s examinations. As a result, Blackboard as a learning management system employs several tools to serve as a deterrent to cheating in online examinations.
1. Respondus Monitor
Respondus Monitor is a fully-automated proctoring solution built on top of Blackboard’s LockDown Browser for remote proctoring. Just like some of the popular proctoring tools on the market like Honorlock, Proctorio, and ProctorU, Respondus Monitor uses the student’s webcam and monitor during tests to record the student’s examination environment.
The system then analyzes any activities during the examination to provide instructors with the necessary results. Respondus Monitor requires the use of Respondus LockDown Browser which limits access to certain features of their computer.
Not only does Respondus Monitor record the student’s examination environment using the webcam and microphone, but it also records the student’s computer screen for instructors to view once the test is complete.
Leveraging Respondus Monitor enables the instructor or institution to:
- Observe student activity during test
- Capture student ID if required
- Record computer screen
2. LockDown Browser
LockDown Browser is a custom web browser that prevents student cheating during Blackboard examinations by restricting certain activities on the computer. Depending on the specifications of your educational institution, the Respondus LockDown Browser will be used during tests. If so, students will be required to grant permission for the software to access their webcam and microphones.
LockDown Browser opens fullscreen when being used and doesn’t provide any menu options or URL fields for students to utilize like a normal browser. The LockDown Browser will restrict some student activities and computer functionalities including:
- Opening new tabs in LockDown Browser
- Minimizing windows
- Screen capture
- Keyboard shortcuts and function keys
- Running other applications
- No start button
- No system tray or dock
- No second screen or monitor
3. SafeAssign Plagiarism Checker
SafeAssign is a plagiarism prevention tool that can be enabled inside Blackboard to automatically check for plagiarism in student submissions. The software enables instructors to check student assignments and other submissions for plagiarized by leveraging the institution or global database.
This feature presents an easy way for both teachers and students to identify the level of originality in any assignment submission. Simply enable the SafeAssign originality report inside Blackboard for the software to check any new student submissions against the institution’s database, global database, or both.
4. Instructor Live Proctoring
This involves instructors leveraging video conferencing systems like Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams to monitor students during online tests. Students, in this case, do not receive any abnormal activity alerts, although they’re still locked into the testing environment with LockDown Browser.
The Live Proctoring feature for LockDown Browser is intended for small classes as the pre-examination steps for this system would require the instructor’s guide. Additionally, a smaller class would be easier to watch on-screen during a test to easily identify any abnormal behavior.
5. IP Address Restriction
Every computer is assigned an IP address on a network. IP addresses are unique addresses that identify devices on the internet or a local network. IP addresses are the internet’s way of differentiating between the billions of devices it’s connected to, from printers to refrigerators. Anything with an internet connection has an IP address.
Platforms like Blackboard are able to identify the IP addressing of computers accessing parts of their platforms. Blackboard then provides a range of filters that can be leveraged to restrict access to any particular tests. This means only students in particular areas can access an examination. Third parties outside the examination centers of the institutions would be unable to access the test on Blackboard. This feature is essential and useful for testing students in examination centers which can enforce candidate identification.
Can Blackboard Detect Open Tabs
No, Blackboard as an LMS cannot detect open tabs on a student’s browser. This is different for proctored tests as Blackboard’s LockDown Browser restricts various activities and actions including opening tabs, minimizing, right-clicking, copy-pasting, screen capture, and many more.
Your institution would usually inform you beforehand that your test would be proctored in most cases. In the case where the LockDown Browser is used, students would be unable to even access their start menu during tests. This reduces the chances of students cheating during tests and Respondus Monitor records every activity in the exam environment and the computer screen.
Can Blackboard Detect Copy And Paste
Yes, SafeAssign will be able to detect plagiarized content on submission. However, Blackboard’s LockDown Browser disables copy-paste functionality and more during a proctored online examination.
A proctored online examination on Blackboard means the institution will be using either Blackboard’s LockDown Browser or the Respondus Monitor which includes the LockDown Browser. Student activity on their computers will be restricted and monitored during a proctored Blackboard examination as the LockDown Browser restricts usage of various functionalities and only allows the use of the LockDown Browser.
Functionalities like copy-pasting, opening new tabs, right-clicking, minimizing the LockDown Browser window and many more will be deactivated during the examination.
Can Blackboard Detect Cheating Without LockDown Browser
Yes, Blackboard can detect plagiarized content using SafeAssign plagiarism checker. However, Respondus LockDown Browser which is also called Respondus Monitor is required for remote proctoring. As a result, Blackboard can not detect cheating during tests without the LockDown Browser.
SafeAssign plagiarism checker checks delivered assignments and examinations against the institution’s database and global database to identify any forms of plagiarized content. That said, Blackboard cannot detect cheating in an ongoing online examination without the LockDown Browser or other proctoring tools.
Can Blackboard Tell When You Switch Tabs
No, Blackboard cannot tell when a student switches tabs on an unproctored test but the LockDown Browser disables switching tabs in a proctored test.
The LockDown Browser restricts various actions and activities during tests. It’s therefore advisable to ensure that your examination isn’t proctored if you’d like the flexibility of performing other activities on your computer.
What Can Blackboard Monitor
Blackboard can monitor and record candidates’ exam environment through their computer’s webcam and microphone, record computer screen, monitor and restrict right-clicking, minimize, screen capture, new window, and various other actions.
Can Blackboard Detect Cheating Multiple Choice
No. SafeAssign plagiarism detector does not check multiple-choice questions for plagiarism. Most plagiarism checkers and institutions do not check for plagiarism in multiple-choice questions.
Can Blackboard Access Your Camera Without You Knowing
No. Blackboard requests permission from student computers before they can access their cameras and microphones during tests. Blackboard cannot access a student’s camera once the LockDown Browser has been closed. That said, uninstalling the LockDown Browser after your online test would be advisable.
Can Blackboard Access Your Microphone
Yes. Blackboard can only access your microphone after you’ve granted permission to the LockDown Browser when starting a test. This is a requirement in most proctored Blackboard test that uses Respondus Monitor or LockDown Browser alone. Blackboard cannot access your microphone once the test is complete and the application has been closed.
Can Blackboard Access Your Camera
Yes. Blackboard can access your camera only after you’ve granted permission to the LockDown Browser before a test. It can however not access your camera once the browser is closed after a test.
Can Blackboard Detect Screen Mirroring
Yes. Blackboard’s Lockdown Browser can detect screen mirroring during a proctored examination. However, Blackboard cannot detect screen mirroring, or any other activity during an unproctored examination.
Can Blackboard Detect Location
Yes. Blackboard leverages computer IP addresses to reinforce location restriction requirements during tests or for assignments. Schools can restrict the locations from which students are allowed to access Blackboard tests. This means students outside the specified testing area would be unable to access Blackboard test and they’re also prevented from contracting a third party to take the tests on their behalf from another location. This feature is especially useful during tests in examination centers.