Administering exams in a fully online class can present challenges around academic integrity, student accommodations, and limits how students show their work. This can lead to test anxiety for both the student and instructor. Luckily there are some options to consider: online exam proctoring and alternative assessments.

student with laptop

Online Exam Proctoring

Choose this option if you need to administer a traditional exam in the online environment and would like to monitor students for academic integrity during the exam. In order to do a proctored exam in an online setting, some technology is required. Faculty will need to learn how to administer a proctored exam within Blackboard. Students should have access to a device with a webcam (no mobile phones) and a reliable internet connection. Harper College supports two options for online proctored exams:

Respondus Lockdown Browser & Monitor

The test is created and administered in Blackboard. Students are unable to open additional browsers on their machine and students with webcams/mics are recorded during the exam. Please share the Student Guide to Respondus Lockdown Browser with your students when using this option.

  • Respondus is compatible with Chromebooks using the Chrome extension (more information).
  • Respondus is compatible with iPads, although the best experience for a student will be on a laptop or desktop.
  • A webcam is not needed if using only the Lockdown browser but is required if using the Monitor.

To get started see the Respondus Instructor Quick Start Guide.


This is a tool that can be enabled when creating Blackboard exams that provides a virtual test proctoring experience while maintaining a high-level of exam security. For students, Honorlock provides a flexible, 24/7 (if you allow it) testing experience that doesn’t require appointments and is compatible with all computers, including Chromebooks. Honorlock is not compatible with tablets or mobile phones.

Here are faculty features of Honorlock:

  • Full integration with Blackboard
  • Test-taker identity confirmation
  • Device detection technology that looks for internet searching during exams
  • “Search and Destroy” feature that removes your test content from the internet
  • Live proctor pop-ins if questionable testing behavior is detected
  • Flexible ways to log student testing accommodations

What is required by students to take a test with Honorlock?

  • Webcam: integrated or attached webcam device WITH mic
  • Operating System: Windows 10; MacOSX 10.13 and higher; ChromeOS
  • Browser: Google Chrome (minimum version 79)
  • Good internet connection

To get starting using Honorlock, watch this video from Harper Testing Center:

There is a very simple process to help ensure your students are ready to use Honorlock. You have the ability, within the Honorlock LTI, to create a Practice Exam for students to get acclimated with the system and make sure they are prepared for their higher-stakes exams.

For additional information, see these Honorlock resources:


Alternative Assessments

The transition to online teaching may be an ideal opportunity to consider alternative assessments to traditional exams. Alternative assessments such as student presentations, reflective questions, annotated problem solving, and capstone projects may allow you to gauge student learning while also providing students with a relevant and engaging learning experience.

The Academy for Teaching Excellence supports alternative assessments by providing a comprehensive resource list and examples from Centers for Teaching and Learning around the country. The Academy also held a workshop in Spring 2020 that included the topic of Alternative Assessments. Links to the resources and the workshop recording can be found on the Academy’s Online Testing and Alternative Assessments page.

Questions? Need help developing an online assessment? Please submit the Online Instruction Support form and an Academy member will contact you.