Troubleshooting SEM Issues - Students
Article Last Updated March 2022
This article will assist students if they are having issues launching an exam monitoring session using Smart Exam Monitor (SEM). This tool is often used as a requirement to validate remote exam submissions by providing webcam and screen recordings of student completing online exams. For basic instructions for using SEM please view Using Smart Exam Monitor (For Students).
Please note: if you are currently attempting to write an exam and are experiencing difficulty, please contact your instructor immediately to advise them of the situation before trying any of the steps below as they may be able to provide assistance and/or provide a time extension on the exam for you.
Good first steps in trying to resolve any issues are:
Troubleshooting Specific SEM Issues
When exam session descriptions are longer and a user has a small display size, the Take Exam button can sometimes be off-screen. Students can use the Chrome Zoom Out feature to shrink the text until it is visible:
Students can follow these instructions to ensure that they have provided the correct system permissions for SEM to share and record their screen. Also note that you must click on the icon of your full screen for the Share button to become active. Sharing Other applications or specific Chrome tabs is not compatible with SEM.
If you are using a Mac and the error message "Could not start screen capture please try again" is displayed, especially if you have previously used SEM without issue and the permissions have been set correctly, update Chrome to 99.0.4844.83 (effective March 23, 2022).
However, if you are stuck on the old version of Chrome prior to the date above, then you may need to disable and re-enable screen recording permission using the following steps:
- Open System Preferences
Some 3rd party Chrome browser extensions block SEM from operating. Any (or all) Chrome extensions can be disabled by going to chrome://extensions/ and toggling the Enabled slider for each extension. Chrome and SEM can then be re-started.
Students can follow these instructions to ensure that they have provided the correct system permissions for SEM to share and record their screen. It may also be necessary for students to fully clear their browser cache in Chrome and re-launch SEM to ensure the correct access is granted.
A quick step to review the audio and video permissions for a page is by clicking the lock icon at the left edge of the Chrome url bar:
If the video feed is blank, the permissions have been correctly granted, and the correct device is selected and the video still won't load, a full machine restart may also be required to solve this issue as the frequent use of other tools (eg. Zoom) that use the webcam can impact use by other applications.
If the audio check spins and never completes, users can do a hard refresh ctrl-F5 (PC) or cmd+shift+R (Mac) to clear the SEM page cache and re-launch. On Mac, a full machine restart may also be required to solve this issue as the frequent use of other tools (eg. Zoom) that use the microphone can impact use by other applications. Students should also verify that they have not inadvertently muted their microphone.
Windows: Make sure your taskbar is on the bottom of your screen. If it's not, right click on it and make sure "Lock the taskbar" is unchecked, then drag (from any space that isn't an icon) the taskbar to the bottom of the screen. Or, search Windows settings for "taskbar settings" and change the taskbar location from there
Mac: Make sure your dock is on the bottom of your screen, you can change its location by going to Apple menu -> System Preferences ->Dock & Menu bar
Special Note for 2021 and later Macbook Pros with a screen notch around the camera: Make sure Google Chrome is completely shut down by selecting "Quit" from under the file menu. Go to your Applications folder (under the Go menu in finder or pressing CMD-Shift-A), find Google Chrome. Right click on the app icon and select "get info", and check off the setting "Scale to fit below built-in camera." Then relaunch and restart the SEM setup process.
This is normal function - the timer will count down to the designated start time at which point the exam will launch and/or students will be provided with any instructions required for beginning their exam.
Students can extend their monitoring session by clicking Add time at the top right.
Ensure that you have a stable internet connection. If you are out of region and require a VPN service, contact email@example.com. If you are using a VPN service, you may try disabling it.