Respondus Lockdown Browser

Frequently Asked Questions

Proctored testing enables the university to ensure the academic integrity of assessments and to comply with federal regulations that require universities offering online and distance education to verify student identity. Traditional face-to-face classes that aren't conducive to testing in the classroom typically rely on testing facilities for live, in-person proctoring of exams.

During the social distancing of COVID-19 and the closure of testing facilities throughout the world, online proctoring offers an alternative to in-person proctored testing. This is a common practice of online and distance learning courses and is used by universities throughout our state university system and the nation. Though instructors may use a variety of alternate assessment strategies, they may also rely on online proctoring to ensure the security of tests offered to online students in different locations. Online proctoring helps prevent academic honor violations such as:

  • Use of a false identity,
  • Unauthorized collaboration,
  • Use of unauthorized materials, and
  • Copying or distributing test items to others.

Being displaced during the COVID-19 social distancing period may put you in a situation where online proctored testing is difficult or impossible. Depending on your living situation, you may not have access to reliable internet, computer hardware, or a private space where you can test uninterrupted. Communicate any limitations or obstacles you have with online proctored testing to your instructors so they can work with you. Students experiencing a financial hardship related to acquiring the appropriate technology should contact

No. The university's agreement with Respondus for online test proctoring does not allow Respondus to sell student information to third parties. As mentioned above, our contract with Respondus has specific legal requirements for the protection of student information that supersede Respondus' standard Terms of Service and bind Respondus to all of the protections supplied by FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act).

Respondus uses an encrypted and secured connection during the exam. All videos and photos are stored in Respondus' platform. Their system runs in a secure, private cloud within Amazon’s AWS cloud platform in US data centers.

Respondus has defined data retention periods of 5 years, after which all student-related data is automatically purged, unless the university requests an extension of a particular student’s data related to an academic integrity case.

All data, including photos and video, is stored in an encrypted format on isolated storage systems within Respondus’ private cloud in Amazon’s AWS US data centers. They are SOC 2 Type 1, US Privacy Shield and GDPR compliant.

Only key staff within Respondus will have access in order to provide quality control and support for USF instructors. Those accessing student data are bound to the FERPA and privacy requirements required by the USF/Respondus master service agreement.

Respondus does not employ any technologies to allow detection of secondary devices connected to a student’s local/home network used during the proctoring session. No agents or applications are downloaded to these secondary devices to initiate any type of surveillance activities. Other users connected to the local/home network during a student’s Respondus session can process personal or confidential information concurrently without fear of the student’s Respondus session monitoring or eavesdropping on secondary device activities. In addition, the application does not have the capability of intercepting local/home network communications from devices connected during the student’s session.

Instructors make the final assessment about whether suspected cheating has taken place during an exam session. Only students engaging in unusual activity during an exam are flagged and reviewed. If an instructor reviews the video and determines that the student did not violate USF's academic honor policy, no action is taken. However, if an instructor determines that the student violated the academic honor policy, that instructor will follow the appropriate channels for academic honor policy violations.

You are welcome to uninstall the Respondus LockDown Browser application after your test is complete if you're not completely comfortable keeping it on your computer.

Adapted from the Florida State Distance@FSU FAQ page.

See Student Privacy Statement for additional information on Respondus’ privacy policies.