Using SEM with ExamLock - For Instructors
Article Last Updated November 2021
Using Smart Exam Monitor with ExamLock for Exams
Update November 2021: An issue has been reported where students using SEM and ExamLock in combination encounter a black screen or their ExamLock becomes non-responsive during their attempt. This seems to occur only on Windows and often on devices with a touchscreen display. Black screens sometimes resolve themselves after a short duration but if they persist, students can sometimes restore function by alt-tabbing until ExamLock is the active application.
For added security while administering remote exams, you can use ExamLock in conjunction with Smart Exam Monitor (SEM). Smart Exam Monitor records a student's webcam, screen, and audio while automatically flagging potential academic misconduct; ExamLock automatically shuts most other applications, forces students into a full-screen mode to prevent them from navigating away from the exam, and blocks screenshots.
The starting point for this setup is to have the exam built using the eClass quiz activity, ensuring not to enable a start time, end time, or duration, and to add a password to protect the quiz (under the 'extra restrictions on attempts' heading.) This password should not be communicated to students as that is the protection mechanism to prevent early access. Further details and instructions for setting up a quiz/exam in eClass are here.
Instructors may also want to review (and/or share with their students) the following video walkthrough of a student set up for SEM + ExamLock. This video was created and enerously shared by Dr. Karsten Loepelmann from the Department of Psychology. In addition, this webinar demonstrates how to set up the 2 tools in an eClass course.
Once you have your quiz set up you will need to add the ExamLock external activity to your eClass site through the Activity & Resource chooser. You can find more details on getting started with ExamLock here. Make sure you hide the ExamLock activity from students - even if click on it they will not be able to see any information but it may confuse students into thinking that is how they start their exam.
The basic setup instructions can be followed without any modifications. Take note of the 5-digit code shown when the ExamLock session is created - that code will be needed when you create your session in SEM.
New in January 2021: ExamLock sessions have a specific setting to make them compatible with SEM:
Important note: If the eClass quiz is hidden or not available to students because of access restrictions on the day of the exam, they will not be able to access it in ExamLock and this can cause stress and confusion during exam startup. Quizzes can be set to "Available, but not shown on course page" (recommended) or shown with instructions clarifying the delivery mechanism (and protected by the password.) Stock instructions that include links to student-facing help articles and which instructors can paste into their quiz description field are: "This exam will be taken using the ExamLock application and will require students to self-monitor using Smart Exam Monitor."
Smart Exam Monitor (SEM) Setup
SEM can be added to your eClass site from the Activity & Resource chooser. You can follow the basic instructions for setting up SEM in your course but take note of the following necessary settings to change:
- The monitor desktop option is not required for ExamLock exams as that application locks the student's environment; leaving it on would generate a high number of false positive flags and the screen is recorded either way. (The option is turned off by default when 'ExamLock' is selected as the exam type.)
- The "Recording Duration" for Smart Exam Monitor is only the amount of time SEM records the attempt, it has no impact on the duration students have to write the exam in eClass or ExamLock. The time limit should be specified in the ExamLock session and will countdown from when each student starts their attempt. Students have the ability to add additional recording time if it begins to run out before they will finish their attempt but nevertheless it is good to set the record duration for a bit longer than the exam length in case students have technical issues.
Student Exam Process
Students will not be able to start their SEM attempt or obtain the ExamLock password prior to the start date/time that is set in SEM so you can go ahead and open the exam to students prior to the exact start time. If students complete the validation process prior to the start date they will see a timer stating how long until the exam starts. They will not be able to see instructions or passwords on this page.