Safe Exam Browser

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New feature
in Moodle 3.9!

The quiz has built in settings to allow secure exams using the Safe Exam Browser. Safe Exam Browser is offered under a Mozilla Public Licence. The application is available for Windows, macOS and iOS as open source software.

Safe Exam Browser

Features

Scope and functionality

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 quiz Extra restrictions on attempts > Browser security "Full screen pop-up with some JavaScript security" 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.

  • 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.
  • Safe Exam Browser 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 Safe Exam Browser or to switch to other user accounts on the computer. The possibility of taking screen shots is disabled.
  • The clipboard is cleared when starting and quitting Safe Exam Browser.
  • 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.

In order to enable students to take an attempt with Safe Exam Browser, it is necessary to hand them a Safe Exam Browser configuration file which contains the rules applying. This Safe Exam Browser configuration file can either be generated using the Safe Exam Browser config tool (the documentation can be found under https://safeexambrowser.org/windows/win_usermanual_en.html#configuration) or directly within Moodle.

If done within Moodle, on a quiz page, students are offered some choices. They can – depending on your settings – either

  1. Download the Safe Exam Browser. This button redirects to the configured download location for Safe Exam Browser, default is https://safeexambrowser.org/download_en.html.
  2. Launch the Safe Exam Browser, which applies the settings and sends the students to the quiz starting page.
    Note: The "Launch Safe Exam Browser" button to start the quiz in Safe Exam Browser from another browser works with Safe Exam Browser 3.0.1 for Windows and Safe Exam Browser 2.1.5pre2 for macOS onwards only. For other Safe Exam Browser versions, please use "Download configuration" and then open the downloaded config file, which will start Safe Exam Browser into the quiz.
  3. Download the Safe Exam Browser configuration file.
  4. Return back to the Moodle course.

SEB Students-options.png

Different measures assure that the Safe Exam Browser used for taking the quiz is in fact using the correct configuration and no modified or manipulated Safe Exam Browser can be used.

A Browser Exam Key or multiple Browser Exam Keys can be set to validate the SEB version(s) used by students to access the quiz, and to assure that the Safe Exam Browser client is correctly configured/secured for that specific quiz.

Another possibility is to use the Config Key. Then, during the quiz, Moodle sends its responses with a Config Key custom HTTP request header, which is combined with the URL of the HTTP request into a SHA256 hash. The following minimum versions of the Safe Exam Browser are required for use of the Config Key feature: macOS – 2.1.5pre2, Windows – 2.4, iOS – 2.1.16.

Safe Exam Browser settings

Require the use of Safe Exam Browser - Set whether students can only attempt the quiz using the Safe Exam Browser. The available options are:

  • No: Safe Exam Browser is not required to attempt the quiz.
  • Yes – Configure manually: No template for the configuration of Safe Exam Browser will be used. You can configure Safe Exam Browser manually.
  • Yes – Use an existing template: A template for the configuration of Safe Exam Browser can be used. Templates are managed by the Moodle Administrator. Your manual settings overwrite the settings in the template.
  • Yes – Upload my own config: You can upload your own Safe Exam Browser configuration file. All manual settings and the use of templates will be disabled.
  • Yes – Use SEB client config: No configurations of Safe Exam Browser are on Moodle side. The quiz can be attempted with any configuration of Safe Exam Browser. You hand the Safe Exam Browser config file over to students by other means, like you did with Moodle ≤ 3.8.

Yes – Use an existing template is only shown when there really are templates to choose from. If no administrator or manager has uploaded any template and set at least one to Enabled, the option is not shown.

Safe Exam Browser config template - Choose a template for the configuration of Safe Exam Browser to apply. This setting is only shown if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Use an existing template and when there really are templates to choose from. If no administrator or manager has uploaded any template and set at least one to Enabled, the option is not shown.

Show Safe Exam Browser download button - Set whether a button for Safe Exam Browser download will be shown on the quiz start page. Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually, Yes – Use an existing template, Yes – Upload my own config or Yes – Use SEB client config.

Show Exit Safe Exam Browser button, configured with this quit link - In the according field you can enter a link to quit Safe Exam Browser. It will be used on an "Exit Safe Exam Browser" button on the page that appears after the exam is submitted. Clicking the button or a link to the same URL placed wherever you want to put it, it is possible to quit Safe Exam Browser without having to enter a quit password. If the field is left empty, then the "Exit Safe Exam Browser" button does not appear and there is no link set to quit Safe Exam Browser. Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually.

Ask user to confirm quitting - If enabled, users have to confirm quitting of Safe Exam Browser when a quit link is detected. Note this setting does just affect quitting with the quit link and doesn't affect quitting with the "Quit" button, Ctrl-Q or the close button in the main browser window. Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually.

Enable quitting of SEB - Set whether users can quit Safe Exam Browser with the "Quit" button in the Safe Exam Browser task bar or by pressing the keys Ctrl-Q or by clicking the main browser window close button. Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually or Yes – Use an existing template.

Quit password - Here, it is possible to provide a password which is prompted when users try to quit Safe Exam Browser with the "Quit" button, Ctrl-Q or the close button in the main browser window. If no quit password is set, then Safe Exam Browser just prompts "Are you sure you want to quit Safe Exam Browser?". Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually or Yes – Use an existing template.

Enable reload in exam - Used to allowing page reload during a quiz (reload button in Safe Exam Browser task bar, browser tool bar, iOS side slider menu, keyboard shortcut F5/cmd+R). Offline caching might break when the user tries to reload a page without internet connection. Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually.

Show SEB task bar - Set whether users are shown the Safe Exam Browser task bar. Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually.

Show reload button - Set whether users are shown the reload user interface element in the task bar bottom right corner. Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually and Show SEB task bar is set to Yes.

Show time - Set whether users are shown an element in the task bar with the current time. Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually and Show SEB task bar is set to Yes.

Show keyboard layout - Set whether users are shown an element in the task bar to choose the keyboard layout. Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually and Show SEB task bar is set to Yes.

Show Wi-Fi control - Set whether users are shown an element in the task bar to choose the Wi-Fi. Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually and Show SEB task bar is set to Yes.

Enable audio controls - Set whether users are shown an element in the task bar to change the audio volume. Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually and Show SEB task bar is set to Yes.

Mute on startup - Set whether the audio volume is initially mute when Safe Exam Browser launches. Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually and Show SEB task bar as well as Enable audio controls is set to Yes.

Enable spell checking - Set whether spell checking is enabled in Safe Exam Browser. Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually.

Enable URL filtering - Set whether URL filtering is enabled in Safe Exam Browser. Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually.

Filter also embedded content - Set whether URL filtering applies to embedded content, too, in Safe Exam Browser. Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually and Enable URL filtering is set to Yes.

Expressions allowed - Insert a set of simple expressions URL are tested against and allowed for accessing during an exam. Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually and Enable URL filtering is set to Yes.

Regex allowed - Insert a set of regular expressions URL are tested against and allowed for accessing during an exam. Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually and Enable URL filtering is set to Yes.

Expressions blocked - Insert a set of simple expressions URL are tested against and blocked for accessing during an exam. Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually and Enable URL filtering is set to Yes.

Regex blocked - Insert a set of regular expressions URL are tested against and blocked for accessing during an exam. Can only be set if Require the use of Safe Exam Browser is set to Yes – Configure manually and Enable URL filtering is set to Yes.

Allowed browser exam keys - Insert allowed Browser Exam Keys for versions of Safe Exam Browser that are permitted to access this quiz. If no keys are entered, then Moodle does not check Browser Exam Keys. Can only be set if "Require the use of Safe Exam Browser" is set to "Yes – Upload my own config" or "Yes – Use SEB client config". When using the option "Yes – Upload my own config", you have to re-download the configuration file from the attempt quiz page (using the button "Download Configuration") and use that file to calculate the Browser Exam Key in each SEB version you want to allow for this quiz. These re-calculated Browser Exam Keys you need to copy-paste into the "Allowed browser exam keys" field (each key on a new line). The reason for this is that Moodle changes the Start URL setting value and formatting of the configuration file you initially uploaded to the quiz settings, therefore the Browser Exam Key changes. This doesn't apply when using the option "Yes – Use SEB client config". Remember that using the Config Key, which Moodle automatically calculates, is much easier.

What setting prevails

If there's two different values for e.g. "Enable quitting of SEB" in the template and the user interface, the value in the user interfaces is taken more into consideration. That means that a value not set/left empty does reset a value in the template.

This table shows the combinations.

Setting In template In Moodle Combined Config
Enable quitting of SEB yes yes yes
Quit password 123
 
Enable quitting of SEB yes yes yes
Quit password 123 456 456
 
Enable quitting of SEB no yes yes
Quit password 123
 
Enable quitting of SEB no yes yes
Quit password
 
Enable quitting of SEB no yes yes
Quit password 456 456
 
Enable quitting of SEB no no
Quit password
 
Enable quitting of SEB yes yes
Quit password
 
Enable quitting of SEB yes yes
Quit password 456 456
( "–" means not set)

Site administration settings

Administrators can access Safe Exam Browser access rule configuration options by expanding Administration > Site administration > Plugins > Activity modules > Quiz > Safe Exam Browser access rule and manage Safe Exam Browser configuration templates under Administration > Site administration > Plugins > Activity modules > Quiz > Safe Exam Browser templates. To restrict members of the faculty of being able to manipulate some settings, do apply capabilities to the roles.

Templates

Here, the administrator, manager or other persons with the required capabilities manage the Safe Exam Browser configuration templates which are presented to choose from when configuring a quiz.
In order to appear as choice options, templates have to be enabled.
The table gives an overview of the templates and whether they are available as choice as well as whether there are currently in use in some quiz.

SEB Manage templates.png

General settings

Auto-configure SEB
If enabled, users who navigate to the quiz using the Safe Exam Browser will be automatically forced to reconfigure their Safe Exam Browser.
Show Safe Exam Browser config links
Choose whether to show links for the user to access the Safe Exam Browser configuration file when access to quiz is prevented, and if so by which protocol, seb:// or http://.
Safe Exam Browser download link
The URL for downloading the Safe Exam Browser application.
Quiz password required
If enabled, all quizzes that require the Safe Exam Browser must have a quiz password set.
Display blocks before starting quiz
If enabled, blocks will be displayed before a user attempts the quiz.
Display blocks after finishing quiz
If enabled, blocks will be displayed after a user has finished their quiz attempt.

Capabilities

The following capabilities relate to the Safe Exam Browser quiz settings: