The following page describes actions you can take to ensure your exams run smoothly. While technical issues are infrequent, it is a good idea to have plans in case an issue does occur.

  • The Best Practices before your exam section describes some recommended settings for Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor. These settings will minimalize technical issues and give you the flexibility to react appropriately should an issue occur.
  • The Problems & Solutions section notes common issues that occur and what you can do to solve them.

Of course, the MGH Institute Helpdesk is here to support you with your exams as well. If you have an issue with an exam and need assistance, please open a help desk ticket or call the Helpdesk at (617) 724-7910.

Best Practices before your exam

To avoid problems on the day of the exam, we recommend that you take the following steps:

  • Set up a one question test quiz to allow students to get comfortable with Lockdown Browser and Monitor and troubleshoot any potential issues. You can make this quiz always available and give students unlimited attempts so they have as many opportunities to work out issues as they need. Make this available at least a few days before the exam.
  • Instruct students to update the Lockdown Browser software a few days beforehand. Instructions on updating Lockdown Browser can be found on the Respondus help website.
  • Instruct students to use the best internet connection available to them, using a private wired or wireless connection whenever possible and avoiding public Wifi or a cellular network if they can. If using a wireless connection, students should sit as close to their router as possible, close all of other applications on their computer and encourage any roommates to avoid using video streaming services (e.g., Netflix, Hulu).
  • Chunk your Lockdown Browser exams into multiple pages when possible. This will help ensure that students are informed if they lose internet connection, since an internet connection is required to load the next page. If all of the questions are on a single page, there are certain cases where a student will not realize they lost connection until going to submit their exam. 
  • If using an enforced time limit, use Allow the student to continue working as the "Exceed Time Limit Behavior" whenever possible.  This provides you and the students the most flexibility should an issue occur. If the time limit is exceeded, the attempt will get marked as late but the student will still be able to finish. Therefore, if a student loses some time due to a technical issue, they can complete the exam and you have discretion over whether an attempt needs to be penalized for going over the time limit.

Problems & Solutions

Problem: When launching Lockdown Browser, students get a message saying “There is a problem with the LockDown Browser settings for this exam. The instructor needs to use the LockDown Browser “dashboard” to enable the settings for this exam.”

Solution: This error typically occurs when a quiz has been copied over from a prior course and an instructor has not accessed the Lockdown Browser dashboard for the new course. To fix the issue, the instructor needs to access the Respondus Lockdown Browser dashboard in D2L Brightspace. Simply visiting the dashboard in the new course will initialize the settings for the exam. Instructors will also want to check to make sure there are no errors listed on the dashboard. If there is an error, a button saying Fix It will appear next to the quiz.  Simply click the Fix It button to resolve the issue.

Problem: Lockdown Browser has frozen or the internet connection has been lost.

Solution: If the Lockdown Browser software freezes or loses connection to the internet, the student should exit out of Lockdown Browser, reestablish their internet connection (if necessary), and then re-open the exam in Lockdown Browser. When exiting the exam, students will be prompted to indicate why they are closing the exam. This exam exit will be logged and available for you to review in the Lockdown Browser dashboard under the Review Early Exits section. D2L Brightspace quizzes auto-save student work, so the student will be able to pick up right from where the internet connection was lost/the Lockdown Browser software froze.

Review Early Exits section of the Respondus Lockdown Browser dashboard

Problem: A student lost time on their exam due to a technical issue and you need to grant them additional time.

Solution: If you are enforcing a time limit, we highly recommend that you set your "Exceed Time Limit Behavior" to allow the student to continue working (see the Best Practices section of this page). If this is set, you will not need to worry about students losing time on an exam due to a technical issue. They will be able to finish and their exam will be marked as late. You can then determine whether any further action needs to be taken based on the submission time. 

However, if you have set your late behavior to either "Prevent the student from making further changes" or "Allow the student to continue working, but automatically score the attempt as zero after an extended deadline", you can grant additional time in one of two ways.

  • If the student has submitted their exam already, you are unable to re-open the attempt. You will need to arrange for an alternate way for the student to complete the exam. A common way to accomplish this is to give the student a second attempt where they only complete the questions they didn't get to on the first attempt. You can then manually add up the points from attempts 1 and 2. You can set up a second exam attempt using Special Access.
  • If the student has not submitted their exam already, you can grant them additional time using Special Access. Within Special Access, you would need to adjust the timing and availability of the quiz. For example, if a student lost 10 minutes of time on a 60 minutes exam running from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM, you would need to give the student special access to have 70 minutes to take the exam and to access the exam from 9:00 AM to 10:10 AM.