Can Canvas See When You Switch Tabs?

As online learning expands dramatically across primary, secondary, and higher education, crucial questions arise surrounding assessment integrity when exams occur remotely under unsupervised home conditions. Can learning management systems like Canvas actively monitor potential cheating behaviors like switching open browser tabs when students take crucial tests? What oversight functionalities exist natively or through integrated proctoring tools to ensure fair evaluations?

Let’s analyze how tab toggling on devices proves during remote quizzes.

What is Canvas?

Developed by Instructure, Canvas represents a trusted, user-friendly, cloud-based learning management system utilized by over 4,000 institutional clients globally. Core components include:

Canvas Catalog: Customizable course catalog enabling administration and tracking all academic offerings at an institution using a consolidated database.

Canvas Studio: Intuitive course development tool empowering instructors to build engaging video-based lessons through interactive slide layers.

Canva Commons: Shareable content repository allowing professors to import pre-made textbooks, assignments, rubrics, and other academic resources into personalized courses.

MasteryConnect: Competency-based assessment platform with embedded grading tools and differentiated assignment options for customized evaluations.

Dashboards: Consolidated real-time data analytics across individual users, courses, departments, and entire institutes for informed progress monitoring driving strategic decisions.

Can Canvas Track Tabs?

On its own, Canvas cannot detect or track browser tab switching during non-proctored quizzes and tests. The Canvas quiz log records events like answering questions, navigation within the quiz, and any time the student leaves or returns to the quiz page. However, it cannot identify specific external sites students visit when they switch tabs during a non-proctored exam.

How Does Canvas Detect Cheating?

Canvas partners with proctoring tools like Respondus Monitor, Proctorio, and Honorlock to enhance academic integrity. These use the student’s webcam and microphone to monitor their testing environment and restrict computing activities. This allows more comprehensive cheating detection, even during remote online tests. Tactics flagged by proctoring software include:

  • Switching or opening new browser tabs
  • Use of other devices like mobile phones
  • Copy-pasting content from different sources
  • Speaking with others during the test
  • Screensharing and screenshots

Proctoring tools basically turn the student’s computer into a virtual exam proctor, restricting prohibited actions through a LockDown Browser while monitoring via webcam. Some capabilities include:

  • Recording video, audio, and screen activity
  • Disabling copy, paste, screenshots etc.
  • Preventing new tabs and programs
  • Monitoring all applications and websites accessed
  • Flagging suspicious behaviors for review

Can Canvas Detect Copy-Paste?

Canvas itself does not detect copy-pasting content into quiz answers. However, it does integrate plagiarism checkers like Turnitin that compare student submissions against various databases to identify any copied or plagiarized work. However, simply paraphrasing content using tools like QuillBot can often bypass plagiarism detection in Canvas.

Proctoring software provides another layer of protection against copy-paste cheating during proctored online exams. By restricting access to other apps and the clipboard, students are blocked from easy copy-pasting. Any attempts to speak exam questions or responses out loud could also be detected via webcam monitoring.

Can Canvas Detect New Tabs?

On its own, Canvas cannot determine if a student opens new tabs or switches to other browser windows during a non-proctored quiz. Its monitoring capability is limited to logging navigation within the Canvas quiz itself. However, proctoring tools integrated with Canvas, like Respondus LockDown Browser, actively block students from launching new tabs or switching windows. The webcam enables the proctoring software to visually confirm the student’s focus remains on the Canvas quiz tab alone.

Can Canvas Detect Switching Tabs?

Similarly, Canvas does not natively detect tab switching during non-proctored quizzes. But with proctoring tools enabled, any attempts by students to switch tabs or browse unauthorized websites can be identified and prevented. Students are locked into the Canvas tab running the online test. Sites they try to access outside the quiz are blocked, and access attempts are flagged for review.

Can Canvas Detect Screen Sharing?

Without proctoring software, Canvas allows screen-sharing activities like mirroring the Canvas tab to another device. However, proctoring tools use webcam videos and screen recordings to observe the students’ monitor and environment throughout the online exam. Any secondary devices or attempts to broadcast the Canvas screen are detectable.

Can Canvas Detect Screenshots?

Canvas itself does not monitor or block students from taking screenshots of quiz questions or results. However, integrated proctoring tools like Respondus Monitor can utilize the webcam to visually confirm no secondary capturing devices are used. The LockDown Browser also prohibits accessing screenshot tools and blocks shortcut keys used for screenshots. Any screenshot attempt can be identified and flagged.

Can Canvas Detect Split Screen?

Similarly, without proctoring tools, Canvas cannot detect the use of split screens to display unauthorized information alongside the quiz tab. But proctoring software Leverages screen recording and webcam video to observe the student’s monitor and any attempts to split the display. Access to system controls for splitting screens is disabled through the LockDown Browser.

What Can Professors See On Canvas During Quizzes?

On its own, Canvas allows professors to see the quiz log with details like:

  • When a student starts and completes the quiz
  • How long they spent on each question
  • When they navigated away from and back to the quiz page

For proctored exams, professors can review recordings of the student’s screen, webcam video, and audio throughout the test via integrated proctoring tools. This provides complete visibility into the testing environment and any behaviors like tab switching.

Clever Hacks to Cheat on Canvas Quizzes

While proctoring technology has enhanced Canvas quiz security, students still attempt cheating with tactics like:

  • Using a separate device like a phone or notes placed strategically off-screen
  • Enabling a virtual machine on their computer to sandbox the LockDown Browser
  • Collaborating with other students through screen sharing or a group chat app
  • Masking chat conversations as “speaking to oneself” out loud
  • Paraphrasing copy-pasted content to evade plagiarism checkers

Using Canvas to Detect the Switching of Tabs

While Canvas itself cannot track student browser behaviors during non-proctored quizzes, proctoring integrations like Respondus Monitor provide comprehensive monitoring. Recording the on-screen activity, environment audio, webcam video, and restricting computing functions allows proctoring tools on Canvas to detect and deter prohibited actions like tab switching that could constitute cheating.

However, students continue attempting innovative workarounds. Ultimately, promoting academic integrity requires a combination of technology vigilance and fostering an ethical learning culture. With proper implementation, Canvas can detect cheating, and be part of a solid framework to uphold online exam integrity standards.