An article in today’s Inside Higher Ed mentions that some schools are now using software that turns laptops into de facto blue books–and phasing out the latter. The New York State bar exam has already done so, and now some colleges, such as Seton Hall and the University of North Carolina, are following suit:
The software works by opening a word processor window in students’ laptops and simultaneously locking down all other programs, including network access. When they are done with their exams, students can save and then upload their files — which are immediately encrypted and which they can’t open again — to a server accessible only by the instructor. Students can also submit later, if they need to find a working Internet connection, but the laptop remains locked — even after shutdowns or restarts — until they do. Licensed institutions pay on a user-per-year basis, ranging from $5 to $25 each.