Safe Exam Browser
Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 3.8. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version of Moodle may be available here: Safe Exam Browser.
Safe Exam Browser (SEB) can work with Moodle to control what a student can access during a Moodle quiz attempt. There are two options for how to activate SEB support in Moodle. One is the built-in support, which must be enabled in Settings > Site administration > Development > Experimental > Experimental settings. This adds the choice 'Require Safe Exam Browser' to the 'Browser security' field on the quiz settings form. The second option is more secure: Install the quiz access rule plugin in Moodle. It will give you the option to copy-paste a hash key (called "Browser Exam Key") generated from SEB settings and the application code signature into the quiz settings. Only students using an approved version of SEB and the correct settings will be able to access the quiz.
Safe Exam Browser is offered under a Mozilla Public License. The application is available for Windows, macOS and iOS as freeware.
Safe Exam Browser is a customised web browser, available for Windows (7, 8.1, 10), macOS (starting 10.7, recommended 10.11 or newer) and iOS (9.3.5 or newer). The application must be downloaded and installed on the device that the student uses to attempt the quiz. The restrictions placed on students are similar to those in the pop-up window case, but because Safe Exam Browser is software running on the student's computer, it can do a much more effective job of restricting their actions. If you select this option:
- Students will only be able to attempt the quiz if they are using Safe Exam Browser.
- The browser window won't have a URL or search field and back/forward navigation and reload can be disabled.
- SEB cannot be closed until the test is submitted.
- Switching to other applications is disabled by default, but it's possible to allow to use specific third party applications during an exam.
- Shortcut keys such as Win+Tab, Alt+Tab, Ctrl+Alt+Del, Alt+F4, Print Screen, Cmd+Tab are disabled or cannot be used to close SEB or to switch to other user accounts on the computer.
- The clipboard is cleared when starting and quitting SEB.
- The browser context menu is disabled.
- Specific web sites/pages/resources can be configured to be accessible during an exam, using a URL filter.
- Spell checking and dictionary lookup is disabled, but can optionally be allowed.
Basic Usage Workflow
Here is a basic workflow for integrating Safe Exam Browser into a Moodle quiz experience:
- Teacher downloads and installs Safe Exam Browser onto their local computer
- Teacher configures the quiz to require the Safe Exam Browser. This setting is located at Extra restrictions on attempts > Browser security > Require Safe Exam Browser
- Teacher configures and saves a .seb file for students to download and open. The .seb file contains a destination URL for the browser (this could be the address of the Moodle installation, or the specific URL of the Moodle quiz, or some other relevant URL) and any other Safe Exam Browser settings the teacher wants to enforce on the students' quiz experience.
- Windows: Teacher uses the SEBConfigTool.exe program (distributed as part of the Safe Exam Browser package) to configure and save the .seb file (Windows configuration information)
- Mac OS: Teacher opens the Preferences window of Safe Exam Browser to configure and save the .seb file (Mac OS configuration information)
- Teacher uploads the .seb file to the Moodle course page (or distributes it via another method)
- Student downloads and installs Safe Exam Browser on their local computer
- Student downloads and opens the .seb file to go to the Moodle site and take the quiz.
Upgrading Safe Exam Browser
When you upgrade the Safe Exam Browser software, the Browser Exam Key value will change and you will need to update the settings in the Moodle quiz with the new value. Otherwise, your students may not be able to open the quiz. See this forum post.
Chrome OS and Safe Exam Browser
Safe Exam Browser is currently only available for Windows, Mac and iOS. In order to lock everything down, SEB has to do a lot of operating-system-specific things. This is why it is only available for certain systems.
See this article about three ways of using Chromebooks for student assessments: Chromebooks are a secure platform for administering student assessments, and when setup properly, these devices meet K-12 education testing standards. With Chromebooks, you can disable students’ access to browse the web during an exam in addition to disabling external storage, screenshots, and the ability to print.
See this forum thread about Secure Quiz using Chromebook Kiosk App and User Agent.
See this blog about Secure Browser for testing on Moodle using Chromebooks or Win/Mac.
iLearn Secure Browser for Chromebooks
See this forum post about Top Tech Tools to Build a Learning Platform.
Securing a Moodle Quiz on an iPad
- Safe Exam Browser is also available for iOS and can be used to securely lock an iPad (and iPhone or iPod Touch) during a Moodle quiz. From version 2.1.13, the Browser Exam Key check is supported as well.
- The Respondus LockDown Browser which carries out similar controls also works on iOS. See https://www.respondus.com/products/lockdown-browser/ for details.
- See this blog by Gavin Henrick about Securing a Moodle Quiz on an iPad.
- MDL-19145 Moodle extension for Safe Exam Browser tracker issue
- Using Moodle New open source online-exam software available (with moodle-extension) forum discussion