Online Teaching Tip: Using Respondus Lockdown Browser to Deter Cheating on Online Tests

As was mentioned in a previous Online Teaching Tips, with ANY quiz, test, or exam there is a chance a student will cheat, even in a face to face class.  But the temptation is often greater in an online class because there is no one watching.  With Respondus Lockdown Browser (RLDB) you CAN watch them, so the experience is more like taking a test in class. I want to be clear, NOTHING will deter a determined student from cheating, it will only make it more difficult.  In addition, RLDB only works with the OAKS Quizzes tool and not with any other publishers’ sites, third-party sites, or Akindi.

How does RLDB work?

LockDown Browser® is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment (a student’s computer) within OAKS Quizzes.  It has two tiers of restrictions to help secure your online test:

  1. Lockdown Browser only – this method locks the student into the quiz/test and prevents them from going anywhere on the computer or web, from taking screenshots, or from recording their screen.  It cannot prevent them from checking their phones or getting help from others in the room. 
  2.  Lockdown Browser + Webcam (Respondus Monitor) – this method locks the student into the quiz/test and prevents them from going anywhere on the computer or web, from taking screenshots, or from recording their screen. It also requires them to have a webcam on throughout the entire test, show their picture with a picture ID and show their testing area.  When the test is finished, you can look at the videos of anyone flagged as suspicious.

    *If you select this option and see a prompt that indicates you need to contact the administrator if you are interested in using it, just click Continue to Respondus Monitor.  You do not need to contact anyone to use this. 

So if you need more security, select option 2, if you need just a bit of security, choose option 1.

Pros and Cons of RLDB


  • It secures the student’s computer so they cannot go to the web or your OAKS class to search for the answers.
  • It allows the instructor to “watch” the students take the test after the fact.
  • It helps ensure that the person taking the test is the actual student.


  • It doesn’t work on Chromebooks, only on Macs, Windows, and iPad machines.
  • It requires an application be loaded before the test can be taken so students should be informed of this in advance.
  • It can instill a feeling, amongst the students, that you don’t trust them which can harm community building efforts within the class.

Important Best Practices

  • Students will NOT have access to Insert Stuff,  Insert Image, or Insert Quicklink options when taking a quiz so if you are using those questions types that require any of those options then you cannot use Respondus LockDownBrowser. 
  • Students need to be aware that they will have to download and install Respondus LockDown Browser and possibly disable certain settings (e.g., remote sharing) and apps (e.g., screen capture) before attempting the quiz. Knowing this, students should NOT wait right before the deadline to attempt the quiz, as this process may take 5-10 minutes or longer. A statement/warning should be included in OAKS, as well as in your syllabus. 
  • Consider letting students complete a practice quiz, with Respondus LDBM enabled, before their first graded quiz. Alternatively, you could enable Respondus LDBM on your Syllabus Quiz. 
  • Consider using this only for high-stakes tests and not for every quiz, test or assessment.

[button link=”” newwindow=”yes”] Watch our tutorials to learn how to use RLDB[/button]

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