Academic Integrity in the Online Testing Environment

As faculty prepare their assessments (called quizzes in Canvas) to be delivered online, we are frequently asked for help with preventing cheating by students. There is no way (in class or online) to guarantee that students aren’t cheating, but there are various ways you can make your quizzes more secure.

Our advice covers three aspects:

  1. Ensuring students are aware of the College’s Academic Dishonesty Policy
  2. Creating Canvas quizzes with settings that maximize security
  3. Utilizing a custom browser (Respondus LockDown) that locks a testing environment within Canvas

Geneseo’s Academic Dishonesty Policy

computer with checklist

Students should be made aware of Geneseo’s policy related to academic integrity. In the Canvas Commons, faculty can find the document Student Success Resources at SUNY Geneseo, which offers statements to include in course syllabi. One of the paragraphs directly references academic dishonesty:

Academic dishonesty includes cheating, knowingly providing false information, plagiarizing, and any other form of academic misrepresentation.  College policies and procedures regarding academic dishonesty are available at

Canvas Quiz Settings

Canvas quiz settings can be configured to enhance security. Some educators feel that locking down a quiz too tightly can hinder student learning, so be sure to think through the goals of the quiz before configuring its settings. The Canvas blog article Quiz Settings to Maximize Security offers several ways to secure your quiz:

  • require an access code or limit quiz availability
  • establish a time limit
  • create question groups to randomize quiz questions
  • show one question at a time & lock questions after answering
  • shuffle answers
  • restrict access to correct answers

Respondus LockDown Browser

LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Canvas. Respondus is installed on students’ personally owned laptops.

lockdown icon

When students use LockDown Browser to access an assessment in Canvas, they are unable to print, copy, visit other websites, or access other applications. Once an assessment is started, students are locked into it until it’s submitted for grading. For a complete list of features, visit the Respondus website at

For details on using LockDown Browser with your quizzes, visit the Self Help guide at

To discuss using these techniques in your class, contact the Canvas support team via our online service desk or email Weekdays between 8am-4pm, you can also call the Canvas Hotline at 585-245-6000.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *