Cheaters Beware: New LockDown Browser prevents cheating on online exams

Some of LockDown’s features include disabling right-clicking menu options, keyboard shortcuts and function keys; removing the browser menu and toolbar, leaving only Back, Forward, Refresh and Stop; and support for multiple languages, such as Spanish, French, Italian, German and Portuguese. (Screenshot of website)

UConn has acquired a site license for an anti-cheating implement called the LockDown Browser, according to CETL Husky Support. “Students are unable to print, copy, go to other websites, access other applications or close a test until it is submitted for grading,” according to Husky Support.

Hengameh Vosough, Team Lead for the ITS Learning Management System, said through email that instructors can choose to require LockDown Browser for taking a test, and that it locks down the testing environment within a learning management system, like HuskyCT.

Robin Miller, associate clinical professor at the School of Nursing, provided an account of using LockDown in her class via email.

Miller said that during an exam, a student’s computer froze, prompting her to post her exam into a Microsoft Word document and send it to herself in case she lost her progress on the exam. Miller realized just how it easy it was for students to take material from online exams and share them with other students, or even post them on websites.

“I like Lockdown Browser very much since students cannot copy and paste,” Miller said. “And they cannot minimize the screen to look up any questions. One of the cheating issues that students reported to us was that students were minimizing their screens to pull up the class PowerPoints.”

Some of LockDown’s features include disabling right-clicking menu options, keyboard shortcuts and function keys; removing the browser menu and toolbar, leaving only Back, Forward, Refresh and Stop; and support for multiple languages, such as Spanish, French, Italian, German and Portuguese.

According to Miller, cheating sometimes does still occur when using the browser.

“Some students will still look at others’ computer screens, but I still watch students taking the exam and I randomize all the exam questions so that does help,” Miller said. “ And there are many other ways that we hear that students cheat. I have only seen a couple of students look at another's screen but cannot prove that they were cheating.”

Additionally, using LockDown does have its downsides, according to Miller.

“Lockdown Browser does malfunction at times—it may be HuskyCT, the internet or the students' computers, but sometimes the screen freezes,” Miller said. “If we don't set ‘force completion’ on our exams, students can get out of the program, go back in and then continue where they left off, if there is enough time left on a timed exam.

“The other thing that happens at times is that Lockdown Browser will have an update without a forewarning,” Miller said. She works around this by requesting that students arrive 15 minutes early before an exam so they can start the browser, in case there are any updates or technical issues.


Connor Lenz is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at connor.lenz@uconn.edu.