Alessia
Forster

How to secure online tests with Hexnode UEM?

Alessia Forster

Jul 14, 2021

9 min read

In our world of constantly changing technology, we know how valuable education is. It acts as an asset for the young minds, evoking curiosity about the outside tech-centric world they are a part of. But, education in itself isn’t self-sufficient; you need various practical tools and evaluation techniques to leverage its effectiveness. I’m sure your mind has now started showing you a presentation of all your great, good, not so good and even some bad exam memories. I think we all share a common emotion when it comes to exams, an aversion that has diffused into us knowingly or unknowingly! But now, when you look back, though the outcome of these exams always had an element of variability, its effect has always remained constant- providing students with a clear-cut idea of their progress and helping them enhance their weak areas. It’s here that a UEM plays a vital role in creating a secure environment for conducting online tests.

Though exams still manage to secure a place in the educational curriculum, it has embraced various changes brought forth by technology. Now online exams have begun replacing the conventional paper-based in areas we had least imagined. Fortunately, this advancement proved to be a boon during the pandemic rescuing the educational sector from the complete standstill they would have experienced otherwise.

Some benefits of online tests

Offline exams are often difficult to conduct
Offline exams are often difficult to conduct
 

If given a choice between online and offline exams, it’s no doubt that the vast majority will opt for online exams. This is because online exams have a lot of benefits over conventional pen and paper-based exams.

Some of these include:

  • It saves a lot of time as there is no time wasted in exam processes like paper distribution and time-consuming evaluations.
  • It saves money spent on the exam sheets and venues and cuts off the students’ travel expenditure.
  • More environment friendly as there is less paper and printing involved.
  • Reduced administrative burden related to organizing and running exams and subsequent distribution and collection of related sheets.
  • Flexibility to take exams anywhere, eliminating geographical barriers.
  • Easier to mark and issue results and even provide these results immediately if required.
  • Each student can get a random set of questions set up by a group of collaborators, increasing the efficiency of the whole process.

Are online tests really a walk in the park?

Online exams also have their own set of challenges
Online exams also have their own set of challenges
 

Online tests have a lot of advantages over their conventional counterparts. However, they also have their own weak areas.

Some of the challenges that organizations face while conducting online tests for their students are:

  • Uninterrupted internet connectivity is necessary, which may not be available to all the students.
  • Keeping a check on students and ensuring that they are not using the internet or other resources to assist them is not easy.
  • Ensuring that the students are strictly adhering to the exam rules is easier said than done.
  • Security and privacy concerns associated with student data collected.
  • Communicating with candidates regarding the various aspects related to the exams can be difficult.


Though it may not be possible to eradicate all of these issues, we can take measures to curb the most challenging ones on the list.

Conducting online tests in a protected environment isn’t easy, but there is a way out!

Hexnode makes it easier to conduct online tests
Hexnode makes it easier to conduct online tests
 

Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solutions have become integral components of most organizations. With this software in place, it’s easy to check the various device aspects like security, app and data management. Hexnode helps you keep vulnerabilities at bay with the help of various security configurations like passcodes, encryption, web-content filtering, app blacklisting/whitelisting, among others.

For a normal device, all these features are enough for concrete security, but, in the case of a device where online tests are conducted, despite these measures, students may find loopholes. For example, they may access important exam-related information from these devices invalidating the results of the conducted exams.

So, an all-encompassing solution binding all the devices, both organization-deployed and the students’ devices (BYOD) used for taking the test, and capable of restricting all unwanted applications in an exam perspective, can be beneficial. There can’t be a better solution capable of serving this purpose effectively than the kiosk mode.

Securing online tests with kiosk

Have you heard the term kiosk before? Well, let me modify that question; have you ever used any of the self-services like the one offered at a restaurant whereby you are allowed to bypass the counter and order and pay for your meal? I’m sure that the answer is a ‘yes’ now. Well, that is a kiosk.

Kiosk software is designed to lock your device into a kiosk mode intended to meet specific purposes and restrict all the other device functionalities. So, let’s have an overview of how we can use Hexnode’s kiosk modes for securing the online test experience.

Single app kiosk

A single app kiosk allows you to lock your device into a single app and block all the other device functionalities. Now you can lock your device to the appropriate exam application, thus preventing the users from exiting them or accessing any other apps not related to the examination.

The process

  • Navigate to the Policies tab, choose an existing policy, or create a new one by selecting the New Blank Policy.
  • After giving the policy an appropriate name, choose the Kiosk Lockdown option.
  • Select Single App under the required platform and click on Configure.
  • In iOS, you can further decide the extent of restrictions required with the help of Advanced Kiosk Settings or User Enabled options as per the requirements.
  • Further, you can select the Policy Targets and select the required devices or groups and save the policy to lock your targets into the required application almost instantaneously.


Background apps

An Android kiosk offers you an additional perk; it helps you add apps in the kiosk mode without making it directly accessible. The users can’t tamper with these applications as they are not directly accessible from the kiosk screen. Instead, it requires the kiosk app to invoke them for the user to access it. With this feature, some important applications required during exams, like a calculator, can be added in the background, which may be invoked by the user as and when needed.

Multi app kiosk

With the help of a multi-app kiosk, you can easily lock your device to a set of applications. With this kiosk in place, you can access multiple exam-related applications, which may be required from an exam perspective.

The process

  • Navigate to the Policies tab to choose an existing policy or create a new one by selecting the New Blank Policy.
  • Then choose the Kiosk Lockdown option after giving the policy an appropriate name.
  • Select Multi App under the required platform and click on Configure.
  • You can then add local apps, public store apps or even app groups as per the requirement.
  • Further, you can select the Policy Targets and select the required devices or groups and save the policy to lock your targets into the required applications.

Web app kiosk

In a web app kiosk, you can add a URL as an app. It allows you to lock your device into single or multiple websites as per your requirements. This is particularly useful when your exam is hosted online, and all the functionalities required by the students are available within that platform.

The process

  • Navigate to the Apps tab and select +Add Apps. Add the required web apps by adding the URL and other required details
  • Navigate to the Policies tab to choose an existing policy or create a new one by selecting the New Blank Policy.
  • Then choose the Kiosk Lockdown option after giving the policy an appropriate name.
  • Select the single app or multi-app as per your requirement and choose to configure.
  • Further, you can click on Add App to select the required web apps and associate the target devices and save the policy to lock your device to the kiosk mode.

Autonomous single app kiosk

Autonomous Single App Mode (ASAM) on iOS devices allows an app to lock itself down and release from the single app kiosk mode on its own. With this, you can add an app in the foreground without any notification or application interrupting them. Here you need to add ASAM supported in-house, store or VPP apps from the Hexnode inventory or public store for the policy to work effectively. Now the students can attend the exams through these special kiosks in a timed manner and even exit the application once the exam is finished.

The process

  • Navigate to the Policies tab and create a New Blank Policy from under the New Policy.
  • Select the Kiosk Lockdown option and select Autonomous Single App Mode under iOS Kiosk Lockdown.
  • Further, click on Configure and add the required applications.
  • Now associate the target devices, device groups, users, user groups or domains and save the policy to lock your device to a kiosk.

Kiosk mode plays a significant role in providing a secure environment for conducting online exams. From onboarding to locking your device to a kiosk, everything is easily done with Hexnode. Further, a kiosk also enhances the efficiency of the examination process by allowing students to access only those applications necessary from an examination perspective.

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Alessia Forster

Product Evangelist @ Hexnode. Take life as it comes. One day at a time.

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