During the last few month Stefan Schneider from the university of Giessen an our team at ETH Zurich developed a software for secure exam called "Safe Exam Browser". The open source software comes with a moodle extension. Please visit
for further information.
We are very interested in remarks, hints and questions.
no information gathering from google.
that's the most interesting part for the online-exam software "safe exam browser". and it's not jsut safe or not, as it's about authorized or not.
but i don't understand, it just builds the such restricted environment for moodle, or can be used for any other online exams, such as questionmark perception or quizcreator? and could the authorized environment feature be done in further moodle? thanks for interesting software anyway.
in a next step the extension of moodle should also control if the quiz gets launched with an authorized (secure) browser and prevent students from taking the quiz with a normal browser.
As Brigitte wrote, SEB is under open source and can be used with various system. But at the moment we have an integration to Moodle and Ilias only.
I'm having problems to understand your second question.
could the authorized environment feature be done in further moodle?
What do you mean with "authorized environment feature"?
thanks thomas and brigitte, the software is great to try.
however, could the restriction be done in moodle, or as moodle part? and my another question about "authorized environment feature" means, could the ip blockin'/specified sites be built in moodle without requiring a special browser? i just think, maybe we can do this by adding something in moodle.
We are using SEB in the following scenario: during the exam season at our university the professor can choose to do the final exam of his course in a lecture room on paper or reserve computer labs (which are used by students to do their homework during the term). Thus with this browser you do not have to install a test center used only a few days a year. With SEB common computers can be locked down (no browser, no chat, no memory stick, but - if desired e.g. Mathlab ). This isn't possible within a common browser.
we have the same need in our university and SEB will help us
using the default Moodle quizz is not safe because:
1- students can acess different resources (SEB solve this)
2- students can ask their friend to login with them during the exam (using the same login) and answer for them.
Doe's SEB solve the 2nd point ?
thx for the good job
What is your solution for 2) in pen-and-paper exams?
At the OU, when you go to an exam (paper or online) you need to take along photo-id, and that is checked during the exam.
How can you check that the student sitting in the exam room is logged in using their own account, not someone else's? Use the quiz option to display the student's picture (and name) on-screen during the attempt.
How can you check that no-one else is logged in as that student at the same time? Analyse the Moodle logs, which tracks IP addresses for every action.
Is this 100% secure? No. Nothing is. It is, however, pretty good.
thanks Tim for your answer.
we are verifying identity during the exam and who is logged in.
the problem is: we can have 2 different persons from different places logged with the same username to the exam.
Checking the moodle logs: yes we are doing that some times but we can't verify for every students (may be I will develop a program for that ).
if we can have the possibility to refuse 2 different connection at the same time to a quizz (based on the IP address) it will be great.
We work with out network guys so that each room (or group of rooms) have a unique IP.
Moodle quiz only accepts that IP (or range of IPs). So it's "impossible" for a user to take the quiz while at home or at the bar.
If the second connection you refer to is also at the room you should see it through ID check
hope it helps
As Tim said, nothing is 100% secure but can be just harder.
in our university we have more then 3000 students to connect at the same time. Ech one have his own laptop. We use wifi to connect them. During exams they will use their laptop some time.
having a private connection using wifi is quite impossible and any one in the next room can have access.
That's why I'm thinking that a software like SEB can verify and prohibit 2 different access at the same time with same username.
that will solve a BIG part of the problem for us.
There is a plugin, or patch, to restrict simultaneous log-ins floating around. I don't know where, but I have seen it mentioned in the moodle.org forums in the past.
The danger to be aware of is when the student's computer or browser crashes, leaving you in a state where Moodle still thinks they are logged in (so won't let that user account log in again), but actually they are not. Then the student is stuck not being able to complete the exam.
I have used unique login auth plugin but the concurrent session issue doesn't solve non repudiation issue as:
Student may pretend to be doing the quiz while the quiz is being attempted by his friend. User screen is not automatically refreshed to logout page till he refreshes his page or clicks
This doesn't generate any alert or mechanism to block profile based on concurrent login. Has anyone made changes to incorporate single login during quiz
I want to use Safe Exam Browser (SEB) in my moodle quizzes. Also i had done something related to this.still i don't know where to i go for this.
First of all, I planned to use safe exam browser for moodle quiz.so that i was installed a plugin
"Safe Exam Browser quiz access rule" from Moodle plugins directory ( https://moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=quizaccess_safeexambrowser ). After that i configured a moodle quiz with SEB.
Also manually i was installed a SEB installer for windows from " http://sourceforge.net/projects/seb/files/seb/SEB_2.0.1/SafeExamBrowserInstaller.exe/download " .
Actually i don't know what to do with this and how to integrate this to moodle quizzes.
Anyone pls help me to do this ...( * sorry for my poor English)
I am looking for tools that enable students to do more self-assessment and self-reflection. I think that is a better direction for development of Moodle.
We do use quizzes and tests in our school, but the quizzes are used for practice (multiple retries accepted, goal is 100%) and the test-taking labs allow students to bring in notes from their classes. So we do not need a "secure" environment. Seems to me that asking students to memorize large amounts of data rather than synthesize/analyse data is the wrong approach to education.
Frankly, I have seen too many interviews for employment where the "assessment" was just as inappropriate with the obvious scary results....
We keep saying we want people to be able to be able to think outside the box and be able to do critical analysis, and then we teach and reward neither.
Shut your mouth, sit in your corner and recite you declensions....
Nevertheless I live and work in a "real world university" and I do appreciate the what is provided by this extension. We have had the requirements (and still have) to provide such a secure environment as described. I'm sure that the developers did meet these questions, too. We won't change the educational system quickly. I do not see the sense in saying - okay than do it on paper I won't provide you with the. At least teachers & students do have simple advantages by e-Assessment (i.e. time-saving or integration with other systems).
So I wouldn't vote to official integrate it in Moodle but I'm glad I do have this extension. I have no idea if in the end we will reallay use it as there are other complications in ther German educational system concerning e-assessment - but we will have a look at it.
I am looking at what options are available for deploying a practical solution to running summative e-assessment, from initial research gathering Moodle and a secure web browser appear to provide a very strong platform for invigilated, summative assessment.
Naturally nothing replaces good invigilation, however a tool which prevents (or makes harder) the ease of cheating in an exam is to me, a great improvement.
Not all insituations can use the IP Network tool, in fact, for us it's currently impossible - so we're looking at other methods/systems.
On the face of it this piece of software runs very well and it is glowing in front of other software in the market of which I have only found (so far):
- Respondus: Locked Down Browser (and Moodle integration)
- QuestionMark Perception: Lockdown Browser (and probably QMP implimentation too)
- Prevent as much unwanted distraction as possible (ie. lock down keys, prevent searching, right clicking, loop-holes etc...)
- Prevent Messaging systems (Moodle Messages for example)
- Integrate into Moodle
- Work in our setup with minimal change
I am facing some problems in SEB. How I will configure the SEB with Moodle 1.9.4. Is it possible to access the SEB from Moodle Quiz?
My requirement is, I want to install the SEB in the hosting server where the Moodle install, then I needs to access the SEB using Moodle from online.
Please go through the attached document. I think you can understand my requirements and let me know your suggestions.
Thanks in advanced.
I am new in using moodle.I have implemented moodle in SIES college of management studies(Navi Mumbai). For final subjective exams for our courses ,I colud find out lesson activity in moodle. But exam doesn't stop after timer goes off i.e student are allowed to continue(Of coures their timing are recorded). Can any one highlighrt this issue.Can SEB used with lesson module to conduct subjective exams?
Prof Monali Mavani
Looking through Moodle's SEB code, I wonder if (as also stated in MDL-19145) the quiz_check_safe_browser() function could/will be implemented in a more secure way.
Actually, by simply looking at the code, I could very simply use some browser allowing to "act as if it were SEB", and be recognised by Moodle as SEB.
Are the developers of this code portions planning to correct this ? I'm of course assuming this is a security flaw, but maybe I missed something.
You seem like 'a man in the know'.... I'm very interest in this safe exam browser. From what I understand it's software installed on the computer of the person taking the exam. Restrictions are made on the web-browser so the 'sitting' cannot navigate elsewhere.
This software also restricts other features of the Opperating System on the 'sitters' computer, like disabling other browsers?
To ensure the sitter is taking the exam based on what they have learnt, other than what they can find/scim/look through, whilst they are taking quiz/exam is very imporant. If the sitter knows they can find the information, many will inevitably do so (i.e. cheat). This completely forefits to purpose of exam type assessments ass the sitter is not answering based on what they have learnt, but how resourceful they are at finding relevant information at the time of a quiz/exam. So, for me, this is a very important feature I believe Moodle SHOULD have and would like to see it fully intergrated if possible in to Moodle 2.
I'm only just starting out with moodle 2, i'm trying to create a platform for my customers/members for a Marine Engineering e-learning website. Due to the complex nature of engineering it's vitally imporant for me that my members learn effectively, can recite exact spec's and remember lots of equations. If my members can effectively 'cheat themselves' the emphasis on 'learning' is watered down, and is more like an emphasis on 'researching'. I want to ensure learning is acheived and I want to be able to measure this. You see if tests and quizzes are left open-ended then how can I gaurantee that my members are 'picking up the informatioin' ?!
Anyway, all I really want to know is : Is this Safe Exam Browser plugin ready for production use? It seems from what i've read there are quite a number of issues with this software.; And does it only work on Windows and Mac OS's ?
Marine Engineer - Not Web Engineer
The Safe Exam Browser (SEB) has been around for a while now so I would say it is ready for production use.
By enabling the SEB for your site, it adds the option in the quiz security settings to require the SEB to be used to take the quiz. Instructors would just have to set that for each quiz they want to use it with and they are done.
My university has recently enabled the SEB for our site but we make very specific recommendations. We advertise the SEB as something that can be used in proctored computer labs only. The reason being that if you had users at home installing the SEB onto their computer, yes it would block all applications and other browsers from being able to be used on that computer but the user could just have another computer or smart phone with him/her to look up answers.
So we inform instructors to have their computer techs install the SEB onto their computer labs, set the SEB to be required for the quiz in the quiz settings and also set an IP range in the quiz settings for further security. The SEB will do the job of blocking all other applications and the proctors can focus on making sure their are no phones out, tablets, etc. So I see the SEB as a complement to proctors, not a full blown replacement.
For more information on the SEB, see their official website - http://www.safeexambrowser.org/news_en.html
Well, first we have to have the semantic debate about what you mean by 'cheating'. After all, you were presented with a problem, and so it seems you Googled a bit, and then you found a site where there was someone you hoped would tell you the answer. Does that make you a cheat? Or does that mean you have excellent 21st century leaning skills? So, really, it comes down to what you are trying to achieve with the quizzes you set. In an attempt to sound like I know what I am talking about, I might mention Bloom's taxonomy at this point.
I can't say I am an expert about SEB. Marty has already given you a good answer. If you feel that this sort of 'anti-cheating' technology is helpful for your teaching, then SEB is one of the more sound technical solutions available.
I will note that in Moodle 2.2, these sorts of technical restrictions on attempts were made into a sort-of plugin (mod/quiz/accessrule) so that makes it more easy for different people to experiment with different implementations, if they want to. (See http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Quiz_access_rules for more info if you are a developer.)
Thanks to both yourself and Marty. Marty's explaination did help and confirmed it's practical use in a learning establishment in the 'real-world'. So firstly i'm very glad to see it ready for use and currently in production with a least one university
So again, thanks to both of you for your input.
Although I must say Tim, your comment about semantics don't really even apply here.
I'm not taking a test or exam, I am not evaluating my own knowledge in any kind of measured way, I am simply at present in the process of 'researching', nothing more. I've read technical documents, reviews, investigated in others' opinions and I believe asked the right questions (not just here btw). So, the term 'cheating' does not apply to my ability to find reference materials.
If a person takes a test, they should not have access to other resources that will provide them with the answers. The whole point of an exam is test 'A PERSONS' interporation and retention the information learnt; and to prove this by taking a test based on my knowledge and experience - NOT to take a test whereas I find answers based on my '21st century researching abilities' using the technical tools availalbe to me; these tools should not even be made available to me to enable the 'researching' part. From what I understand the SEB browser removes the capability of the 'tool' I would use to research or access documents that can provide answers to me........ Now I have a feeling you'll mention again about Phones, books etc etc but as you see in Marty's situation these are controllable. Besides this the very definition of 'cheating' does apply if a person takes a test/exam and is referencing any on-hand materials, it's cheating and that's that (unless it's an open book test of course). The SEB browser I realise only restricts one method of cheating, not all.
Fortunately I'm familiar with Blooms Taxonomy, so I don't feel so stupid .
I do apologise for my rant, it just really gets my goat when a simple term like 'cheating' is distorted to be something it is not. However I do understand the associated issues with remote testing. All one can do is attempt to deal with the issue(s) effectively and it looks like SEB is at least taking a step in the correct (and positive) direction IMO.
All the best
I take your point, and I can also appreciate a good rant for its own sake.
However, I still disagree with your claim that a test can only be a test of memorised knowledge. Even you mention open-book exams in passing, although from a learner's point of view they are always a very much a mixed blessing. Anway, all online quizzes at the OU are open book (They are all part of the continuous assessment part of the course, not the final exam.) And they are typically good tests of the student's understanding. Indeed, with most of our continuous assessment the goal is not so much to measure the student (althouth they do get marks) but rather to force them to engage with the material to increase their understanding, and get feedback on their performance.
We are thinking of starting to use Moodle in exam conditions, but the the security requriements are very similar to paper exams. Have a supervised environment; restrict what the student can take into the room; etc.
Given all the discussion on security for quiz, I had concluded that OU use this feature on a regular basis.
It is interesting that you are using quiz almost the same way that I use them in my "regular classroom courses".
The main part of the grade come from regular exams which are built mostly using questions from the Moodle quiz.
P.S. Even if I don't know how to classify them , I have known for quite a long time that students have a better grade on the questions that are on their moodle ( or pre moodle ) quizz...
"If a person takes a test, they should not have access to other resources that will provide them with the answers."
I have spent a huge amount of time creating hundreds of test questions and I deliver most of them in an environment where I expect the students to use whatever resources are available and their ingenuity can come up with to find the answers.
Hi Thomas, I first time visited this website and read about SEB. I instantly downloaded the latest version of SEB (SEB Windows 1.8.2). However, when I tried to install it, I encountered the problem. I have attached the error message. Can you please guide what should I do now? Looking Forward...
The description says:
- The window cannot be closed until the test is submitted.
I can't make this happen. Is there a setting for it? Right now students can quit a quiz, look up an answer and then get back in where they left off. Attempts are set to one.
Just to resuscitate an old thread, is anyone presently using this tool with Moodle 2.3 or above? I am looking at options such as QuestionMark Perception Lockdown Browser, Respondus Lockdown Browser and this one, SEB vs the standard Quiz security settings. We wish to use one of these options for formal "exams" or summative examinations, that are worth up to 40% of the course marks. About 60% of students are distance mode, while some sit on campus. Does anyone have advice as I need to make a formal case to a committee that overseas the institutions LMS systems (University of New South Wales). Thanks!
That is a very timely question. Just this morning I am nervously watching the logs on a new OU Moodle server where a handful of students are taking the the first online exam we have run on Moodle. We have done lots of testing to convince ourselves it will work, but I will still be more relaxed come lunchtime (I hope ).
Anyway, having looked at the various options, we decided to use SEB, but we are not using it yet. Allow me to explain.
There are basically two choices for which computers you use for these exams.
- Bring the students into a computer lab that you control, where you have installed and configured the secure browser; or
- Have the students install the secure browser on their own laptop. This is often referred to as BYOD (bring your own device).
SEB was originally built with scenario 1 in mind. In that situation, it works really well. We tried with the latest version 1.9.1.
The problem is, we need to use scenario 2. In an in-house pilot (OU staff taking an exam as if they were a student) too many people had difficulties installing 1.9.1 on their own laptops. Also, there are security issues with that.
Now the SEB already know this, and have been working for a while on SEB version 2, which is designed to address scenario 2. That they have planned looks like a really good solution, but it is not finished yet.
So, for our current exams, which just involve a very small number of students, we are using a combination of scenario 1, students come to an OU exam centre and use our computers, and scenario 2 with students being very closely monitored (e.g. disabled student with special dispensation to take the exam at home) and just using an ordinary web browser, not SEB.
One thing to watch out for with any secure browser solution. It is all very well for the browser software to lock-down the student's computer. But when they are finished, is their computer completely unlocked? And what about exceptional situations like the computer crashing and being rebooted without properly quitting the secure browser, or running out of power? SEB copes well here. At worst you have to run the browser again and then quit it again property. Other browsers we tried sometimes left the student's computer in a mess. Not acceptable.
The one option that you don't have on your list is EExam http://www.eexams.org. That is not suitable for using with Moodle, but it is an approach worth knowing about. http://www.transformingassessment.com/events_13_march_2013.php