Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Remote Proctoring Tools to Support Monitoring/Deterring Potential Academic Integrity Violations

The following tools provide course instructors with support for monitoring students in a variety of assessments that can be particularly beneficial in remote environments. Despite their utility, it is important to note no monitoring tool can unilaterally and automatically determine that cheating has occurred. Regardless of what tool you are using to monitor/deter potential cheating, these reports should not be viewed as proof that cheating has occurred. Instead, instructors are strongly encouraged to view any reports or indicators from these tools as something potentially worthy of further investigation and to combine multiple information sources to make an informed judgment.

Respondus LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor are available in Canvas for faculty to monitor student behavior during a designated exam session via recordings captured through students’ webcams and microphones during exams. These types of remote proctoring tools may function as deterrents against cheating (Alessio et al., 2017). Moreover, evidence suggests no difference in student exam performance between exam conditions with in-person proctoring versus remote proctoring using Respondus tools (Stack, 2015). 

Respondus Lockdown Browser functionality can be added to any Canvas Quiz. Upon opening the quiz, students will be prompted to download the application and take the quiz. This tool is custom browser intended to provide secure testing by allowing access to only those sites/apps (e.g., a Canvas quiz) as designated by the instructor. Additionally, they will be prevented from taking computer screenshots or printing the screen. 

Respondus Monitor is an extension of LockDown Browser. In addition to the functionality of LockDown Browser, students are recorded through their webcams and microphones. Monitor’s algorithms analyze each video and assign it a high/medium/low risk of cheating based on several factors including whether the person in front of the computer changes and whether multiple people appear. Instructors can then review a subset of the videos, e.g., “high risk” videos, if they need/wish to do so.

How-to resources:

It is important to recognize that students may experience heightened levels of anxiety regarding remote proctoring, particularly if video recording is utilized. It is important for instructors to provide information and resources in order to help to address these concerns.  

  • Share this resource to help students understand the system and what the experience will be like.
  • Course instructors are also strongly encouraged to prepare and test any technology that will be used during exams. A best practice for doing this is to assign students to complete a “trial run” of your quiz or exam, using the same tools you will require during the actual assessment and making a few questions for students to complete that involve the same format as you anticipate on the actual assessment.

Respondus provides a way to allow access to other web resources and files. For example, you can provide students with a secondary channel (e.g., a link to a specific Google doc, or to your Piazza instance for the course) to talk with you or your TAs should questions or issues arise during an exam. See also: Instructor Quickstart Guides 

Alternatively, if you use Zoom to “live proctor” your exam, you can assign students to breakout rooms (with 1 instructor/TA per room) so there is an instructional team member monitoring students’ webcams, and then when a student has a question, the student can either ask the instructional team member in the room (if it is not confidential) or leave the breakout (returning to the main room) where the lead instructor is available to answer more sensitive questions.

If you are interested in using Respondus tools, please note the following:

  • Instructors must also be mindful of student equity when requiring the use of any technologies for remote exams. Any and all recording of examinations should be applied consistently to all students in the course.
  • Respondus Monitor requires students have access to a webcam, which some students may not have. If students do not have access to a webcam, they will see an error when they attempt to take the exam and will not be able to complete it. Be sure to check on this in advance. If you need assistance with identifying alternatives for your students, please email  
  • Respondus Monitor cannot be used with students under 16 years of age.
  • Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor may not work with accessibility devices/software such as screen readers. If you plan to use Respondus tools in your exams, ensure that all your students will be able to use them. You may need to work with the Office of Disability Resources to ensure that all your students will be able to take the exam.
  • Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor are not compatible with all platforms (only Mac, Windows, and iPad). If you plan to use Respondus tools in your exams, ensure that all your students have an appropriate device.

Turnitin for detecting the originality of written work.

Turnitin is a tool that you can enable with prose-based assignment submissions in Canvas. (Creating Turnitin assignments within Canvas is most straightforward for you and your students. However, if you do not use Canvas for your course and wish to leverage Turnitin’s functionality, email so we can help set up a direct submission of your students’ work.) Turnitin compares each student’s submission against a broad range of sources (e.g,. Wikipedia, their classmates’ papers, papers submitted by students at other institutions, etc.) and evaluates the difference between your student’s submission and these other sources. Turnitin provides the instructor with a report for each student that identifies the areas of overlap within a student’s paper as well as the source from which it potentially came. Note: Turnitin can also provide this report to students, so some instructors use it as a learning tool to help students understand plagiarism and appropriate vs. inappropriate uses of text. If you opt to use Turnitin, remember these key considerations:

  • The percentage of overlap reported by Turnitin may be attributed to many sources, not all of which point to student plagiarism. For example, if students are required to use some of the same sources or an assignment template, instructors should anticipate a reasonable percentage of overlap. Instructors can use the report generated for each assignment to see whether the overlap comes from citing the same (assigned) source or from plagiarizing another student’s paper. 
  • The Turnitin report that is generated for each student is not “proof” that the student plagiarized (Heckler et al., 2013). Course instructors should use the information provided in the report to further investigate any overlap and then must analyze the student’s work to make an informed judgment.

Moss for detecting the originality of code in programming assignments

Moss (for a Measure Of Software Similarity) is a system for determining the similarity of programs/coding assignments in programming courses. While Moss can detect program similarity, it has no way of knowing why codes are similar. The similarity scores scores are useful for judging the relative amount of matching between different pairs of programs and for more easily identifying unusual amounts of matching/similarity. But the scores alone are not proof of plagiarism. It is up to the instructor to review the code that Moss highlights and make a decision about whether there is plagiarism or not.