What is Respondus?

Respondus® is a third-party tool you can use to create, manage, and print tests in Blackboard. You can create tests offline with a familiar Windows environment.

More on the Respondus website

ULTRA: Secure assessments

When you create an assessment in the Ultra Course View, you have many options to promote academic integrity and honesty in student submissions. However, online submissions allow students to submit work outside of a physical classroom. Students may have the opportunity to refer to disallowed materials when drafting submissions. Academic integrity can be difficult to protect without additional tools.

You can deliver assessments in a secure browser to make sure students aren’t influenced by external sources when drafting and submitting attempts.

Secure assessments are delivered using tools provided by Respondus. If this integration is available at your institution, you can find the Respondus Dashboard in the Settings area of both assignments and tests in the Ultra Course View. The Respondus Dashboard is also available in the Books & Tools menu.

In the test or assignment settings, select LockDown Browser Dashboard under Assessment Security. If the integration isn't available at your institution, this message appears: Assessment security is disabled because the service is unavailable. Contact your institution administrator for assistance.

On the dashboard, a list of all assessments in your course appears. Find the assessment you want to update. Choose to deliver the assessment using Respondus LockDown Browser alone, or include the Webcam.

Certain assessment settings won’t work when you enable a secure assessment. You can add a timer, randomize questions and answers, allow multiple attempts, align goals, etc. You can’t collect offline submissions or assign groups for a secure assessment.

You don’t need Respondus tools to view submissions, grade work, or provide feedback. Grading and feedback workflows for secure assessments are identical to grading and feedback workflows for assessments without this setting.

More on grading an assignment

More on grading a test


LockDown Browser advanced settings

After you enable Respondus LockDown Browser for an assessment, additional options appear.

By default, the setting Require LockDown Browser to view feedback and results is checked. You can also:

  • Lock student into the browser until exam is completed. Students won't be able to exit the exam until they complete and submit their work. You can provide an optional password for students or other course members who you want to provide an exception.
  • Allow students to take this exam with an iPad. If this setting is not selected, students must complete the assessment on a desktop computer.
  • Allow access to specific external web domains. If you want to allow students to access certain websites while they work on the assessment, you can specify those under this setting.
  • Enable Calculator on the toolbar. Allow students to access a digital calculator while working on the exam.
  • Enable Printing from the toolbar. Allow students to print the assessment while it's open.

Respondus Monitor webcam settings

To further verify that students aren't referring to materials while working on an assessment, you can require Respondus Monitor. Respondus Monitor uses the student's webcam to record their activity during their session. You can use the recording to verify the student is taking the exam alone and that they're not using physical materials such as written notes.

After you enable Respondus Monitor for an assessment, additional options appear. Respondus Monitor starts with a sequence of instructions and verification checks. You can customize this sequence and edit instructions for the student. You can include or exclude these steps in the startup sequence:

  • Webcam Check. This step is enabled by default and can't be turned off. The Webcam Check verifies that the student's webcam is connected and transmitting video as needed.
  • Student Photo. You can require the student to take a photo of themselves before they begin the assessment.
  • Show ID. You can require the student to show their identification before they begin the assessment. This is useful for large courses where you or another grader may not be able to associate a student's face with their name.
  • Environment Check. You can ask the student to record a short video of their surroundings to confirm that they have no notes, books, or other devices nearby to help them with their submission.
  • Additional Instructions. As a final step, you can include specific instructions to let the student know your expectations for the proctored assessment.

Additionally, you can allow other applications on the student's computer to access the microphone during the assessments. This option can be useful for foreign language assessments or speech courses. You can also choose to access the recording from other devices.


Student view of secure assessments

On the Course Content page, students can see the tools they need to open secure assessments and submit attempts. When a student opens a secure assessment, the Details & Information panel appears to provide more information about the grade, number of attempts, and other settings you’ve selected. The student selects View assessment and LockDown Browser launches in a new window. If you required Respondus Monitor, the startup sequence begins.

If the student hasn’t yet downloaded the tools and tries to open the assessment, a message appears to show where to find them. The student won't be able to begin the attempt without downloading Respondus LockDown Browser.

Students also need Respondus tools to view submitted attempts for secure assessments.

LockDown Browser prevents a student from accessing any other materials, including internet browsers or other software, while the assessment is open. The student can’t refer to external information or copy material from these sources while working. Within the LockDown Browser window, the assessment appears like any other Ultra assessment. Students can save drafts of their work and return at later points to continue work or submit.

More on how students take secure assessments with Respondus