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Security for In-Class Webwork Exams

Security for In-Class Webwork Exams

by Danny Glin -
Number of replies: 1
Here at University of Calgary we have been using Webwork for in-class exams for several years. The IP-based restrictions allow us to ensure that students are in the appropriate computer lab at the appropriate time to write the exam.
The challenge we have been faced with is limiting access to the other resources on the computer (i.e. other programs and other websites) while they are writing their exam.
Our solution was to build a trusted environment which consists of a service running on the PCs and a firewall/proxy server. These two things serve to limit access to a fixed set of programs and internet addresses prescribed by the instructor for the duration of the exam.
On the whole this has been successful. The service prevents students from opening any program other than a web browser (and possibly the windows calculator if requested), and the proxy server prevents them from visiting any website other than the Webwork pages. The problem is that this requires installing our own software on all of the machines, and having them behind our firewall.
I'm curious if anyone has any other solutions to allowing students to access Webwork while simultaneously preventing them from accessing anything else.
Has anyone tried anything similar?
In reply to Danny Glin

Re: Security for In-Class Webwork Exams

by Lars Jensen -
Hi Danny,

We do something similar to secure our labs. Our lab has windows machines, so we have created a special windows user account we use for any student taking an exam. For this particular user, we have loaded the attached registry file. It defines firefox.exe as the shell (instead of explorer.exe). As a result, there is no Desktop, no start button and no task bar, etc. "Nothing" works except firefox. Finally, we use the firefox extentions ProCon Latte to restrict firefox to a whitelist of sites (or a single site), and kioskfox to disable firefox menus and shortcuts.