Have you ever been tempted to open up a new tab during a test on Canvas? Don’t worry – many people have!
With the world wide web at your fingertips – and no one looking over your shoulder – it can certainly be hard to resist navigating away from an especially tough or boring quiz.
But can you get away with it? Or does Canvas track tabs and otherwise monitor your activities?
Read on to find out!
Can Canvas Track New Tabs?
Let’s get right to it: no, Canvas cannot detect whether you’ve opened up a new tab, application, or web browser while taking a non-proctored test.
However, if your school added proctoring software, like Respondus Monitor or Proctorio, they can detect and even prevent new tabs.
When a test isn’t being proctored, all instructors can access a student’s session information and action log for a quiz.
This Canvas feature isn’t designed to detect any cheating or anything, though – it’s meant to help them investigate any problems a student may have during the test. Sometimes, it can even give them more insight into their quiz questions.
Can Canvas Detect Switching Between Tabs?
No, Canvas can’t track switching between tabs either! But again, this is only in non-proctored tests. Proctoring software can also limit and disable activities like switching tabs.
If you try to switch tabs during a Canvas test that is being proctored by something like Respondus Monitor, the browser will see this type of activity as suspicious.
It will assume that you are trying to look up the answers on the web and flag you for it. You’ll then be returned to the original tab with your test questions.
So, unless you’re entirely sure that your Canvas exam isn’t being monitored by proctoring software, it’s a good idea to stay on the testing page. It’s best not to take any chances, especially if you’re just switching to another tab for non-test-related purposes. You don’t want to be labeled a cheater if you’re not one!
Can Canvas Detect Screen Sharing or Screenshots?
This question may not be about Canvas tracking tabs, but it has the same answer: no, Canvas can’t detect screen sharing or even screenshots.
It has no way of tracking what you’re doing outside their testing page – at least, on its own. But once again, it can with the right proctoring software.
Respondus Monitor and other proctoring tools can restrict computer activities during tests. For example, its LockDown Browser can prevent you from using shortcut keys, taking screenshots, and running other applications when it’s active.
It can even use your webcam and microphone to record your testing environment, allowing your instructor to view anything it has marked as suspicious.
Can Canvas Detect Copy and Paste?
The answer to this one is kind of a yes/no situation. While Canvas cannot detect the act of copying and pasting text, it can flag you for plagiarism – no proctoring software is required!
Instead, institutions can integrate anti-plagiarism software in Canvas, which many seem to do. And it makes sense – there is so much information out there on the web that they can’t be expected to recognize every instance of plagiarized content themselves.
While you can technically copy and paste content straight from the internet and onto the Canvas platform, you must be careful. Odds are that a plagiarism checker like UniCheck will flag it, and many schools have strict policies against copying someone else’s content and trying to pass it off as your own.
If you do find something on the web that you’d like to include in your Canvas test, the best thing you can do is paraphrase the text to make it your own. Sure, it may add a few extra minutes to your testing time, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
What Can Instructors See on the Canvas Session Information and Action Log?
While there is a lot that the platform cannot detect on its own, instructors can get some insight into your quiz activity via the session information and action log on Canvas. With these, instructors can see the following action log statuses with timestamps:
- Viewed (and possibly read) a question: This shows up when a student is on the quiz page but has yet to answer the question.
- Answered a question: This is just what it sounds like – it demonstrates that a student has responded to the question. In some cases, this can show up multiple times for the same question, which means that either the student changed the answer or the autosave feature on the quiz triggered it.
- Stopped viewing the Canvas quiz-taking page: If a student opens a new tab, closes the current tab, or navigates to an entirely different program, this will show up.
- Resumed: This displays when the student has come back to the quiz.
As you can see, instructors can tell if you’ve navigated away from the quiz-taking page in one form or another and how long it took you to return. However, this doesn’t mean that they can specifically tell what pages or programs you’ve viewed or that you’ve even navigated away at all. For all they know, you simply closed the browser tab!
So, unless you’re taking a proctored test, you don’t have too much to worry about, as Canvas itself can’t really monitor your specific actions during the allotted time. But before you go opening up all kinds of tabs or something on your next Canvas quiz, make sure you are 100% certain that it is non-proctored – you don’t want to be flagged for any suspicious activity.
Best Practices for Taking Canvas Quizzes
With online proctoring software and plagiarism checkers on its side, it can be challenging to try and take advantage of completing your Canvas test online. So, if you really want to ace that next quiz, here are some tips to help you do so:
- Plan ahead. While you may want to leave your quiz to the last minute to get some extra studying, you don’t want to rush through it to submit it in time. Make sure you’re giving yourself the full allotted time for each test.
- Verify that you have a reliable internet connection. If your wireless or data connection goes in and out, you may miss out on valuable test-taking time. Opt for a wired connection for best results.
- Make sure your computer is ready to go. Close any software and applications before beginning your quiz – you don’t want something popping up and interrupting your concentration. Also, avoid starting software updates right before your quiz, as downloading and installing may slow down your computer.
- Take the practice test whenever possible. Not only will this help you prepare for your quiz, but it will also help you identify if there are any issues with your testing environment.
The Bottom Line
While Canvas can’t detect any suspicious activity on its own, it certainly can with the help of other programs. Proctoring software can track new tabs, switching between tabs, screen sharing, and screenshots, while plagiarism checkers can tell whether you’ve copied and pasted someone else’s content from the internet.
So, while it may be tempting to try and use some of these methods during your next Canvas test, the best advice we can give you is: don’t! Unless you’re 100% certain that they don’t, many institutions use plagiarism checkers and proctoring software, and the repercussions regarding suspicious activity are often not worth the risk.
Instead, try implementing some of the best practices for taking Canvas test-taking mentioned above. They may not give you all the correct answers, but they will at least help ensure you can complete your next test successfully. Good luck!