KB1236 - Online Test Security Features in Moodle (Safe Exam Browser)

There are two ways of adding extra layers of security to your online tests in Moodle - using the Safe Exam Browser or using Moodle's older built-in test security features. We'll cover both in this guide.

Safe Exam Browser (SEB) is a lockdown browser that allows teachers to restrict student access to external websites, system functions or other applications while they are taking an assessment online. SEB supports teachers to deliver improved and secure online assessments in Moodle by turning the computer into a secured workstation. You can use SEB with any Moodle Quiz. Moodle HQ has an intro video giving an overview of SEB.


How it works

To use SEB you need to configure it from the settings in your Moodle Quiz. See this Knowledge Base article if you need an overview on setting up a Moodle Quiz.

There are two situations where you may choose to use Safe Exam Browser to deliver quizzes in your Moodle courses: from the students' home (or other off-site location) and from a VCC campus computer lab.

1. From Home

In cases where students will be using their own devices for taking online exams, you will need to ensure that they have downloaded and installed the Safe Exam Browser on their computer. SEB currently works in Windows, MacOS and iOS operating systems. Please note that SEB will not work for students who wish to complete online tests using an Android phone or tablet.

Depending on your settings, students can be prompted to download SEB when they try to access a Moodle Quiz that uses the SEB. However downloading and installing the SEB prior to the test will save time, and will allow students to launch the installed browser when the time comes to take the test. 

  • Pro tip: Create a practice quiz using SEB so students can test that they have correctly installed and can use the tool prior to attempting a graded test.

2. On Campus

Safe Exam Browser is pre-installed on the computers in the VCC labs.

  • Important: Before scheduling an exam on-campus we strongly recommend that you test that SEB is working as expected in the venue where your students will be taking the test. This will give us time to troubleshoot any issues before the date of the test.


How to configure your Moodle Quiz to use Safe Exam Browser

Using SEB is an option when you create a Moodle Quiz

In this example, we have a Quiz in our Moodle course and we want to use the SEB:

  1. Open the quiz settings and scroll down to the section labelled 'Safe Exam Browser'. 
  2. Under 'Require the use of Safe Exam Browser' select 'Yes - Configure manually'. 
  3. If you set the option 'Show Safe Exam Browser download button' to 'Yes', students will see a 'Download Safe Exam Browser' button when they start the test from Moodle - this may be confusing, so we recommend that you leave this option as 'No'.  

    If your students will be completing the exam off-site, you will need to provide a link to the SEB download page ahead of time, and remind your students that they must download SEB before they can take the test. This is why we recommend that you create a practice quiz. For on-campus tests we also want to hide this button, since the browser will already be installed on the computers in the VCC labs.
  4. For the simplest setup, leave the other options as they are and scroll to the bottom of the page to save your settings. If your exam has more complex requirements (e.g. you want to allow students access to a few selected websites), contact eL Support and we will work with you to configure your test.

Safe Exam Browser settings page

What the Students will see

The student clicks on the quiz link to start. They now have three choices - Launch Safe Exam Browser, Download Configuration, and Back to course.

Safe Exam Browser options when starting a Quiz attempt

The student clicks the 'Launch Safe Exam Browser' button. A popup window appears (enabling popup windows is a necessary step for students to take prior to attempting a Moodle Quiz using SEB - it's covered in the Student Guide to using SEB that we have created and that you can add to your Moodle courses. If we select 'Always allow moodle.vcc.ca to open links of this type in the associated app', we won't see the popup window the next time we try to launch a Moodle Quiz in SEB on the same computer.

Browser permissions request popup window

SEB will launch. The student will be asked to enter their VCC username and password, after which they will be taken to the Moodle Quiz launch page, this time within the SEB. The student can then click 'Attempt quiz now' to begin the quiz.

Attempt quiz message

After completing the test the student clicks 'Submit All and Finish', as with any Moodle Quiz.

To exit SEB and return to the Moodle course in their usual browser, they select the Terminate Session button at the bottom-right of the SEB window, or use the keyboard controls (CTRL-Q on a PC, CMD-Q on a Mac).


Making a Moodle Quiz more secure without using SEB

There may be occasions when you can't use SEB. Moodle has some built-in security settings that can be used.

  1. Open the quiz settings and scroll down to 'Extra restrictions on attempts'.
  2. Under Browser Security select 'Full screen popup with some JavaScript Security'.
  3. Scroll to the bottom and click Save to save your settings.

extra restrictions


Article ID: 855
Tue 10/13/20 3:34 PM
Thu 11/17/22 11:16 AM