Safe Exam Browser Server (SEB Server) is a web-service application with the objective to help setting up and maintain e-assessments with Safe Exam Browser (SEB) in a centralized and more efficient manner. The SEB Server application can be used by an institution or organization as a self-maintained, lightweight server application to organize and setup their e-assessments. For an organization or institution that wants to provides safe e-assessments with Safe Exam Browser, SEB Server can help to organize this e-assessments more effectively, safely and in one place. Furthermore SEB Server can be setup and run within a cloud infrastructure by general service provider to offer e-assessments with SEB and SEB Server as a service.
SEB Server comes with a built-in multi-tenancy functionality that allows to create and maintain institutions that are separated by each other. This is most convenient for smaller groups of organizations or institutions that want to have one self maintained SEB Server instance but need internal separation of institutions.
Since SEB Server is generally an administration tool, meaning used to do administration work and tasks to setup and maintain e-assessments, there is yet just a built-in and lightweight user-account management where users can register itself and get needed privileges assigned by already registered administrator users that has the privileges to maintain user accounts. Currently there is no possibility to register with a third party account and/or single sign on.
SEB Server is written mainly in Java and uses Docker for installation and setup. For more information about the architecture and installation, please go to SEB Server Installation Guide
The key features of SEB Server are:
- Built-in multi-tenancy capabilities. Create and manage institutions as separated clients.
- Lightweight user-account management where users can register itself and get needed privileges assigned by already registered administrator users that has the privileges to maintain user accounts.
- Track user activities within user-activity-logs for the whole SEB Server or the a client.
- Create, export and maintain SEB connection configurations. Those are needed to startup a Safe Exam Browser client with and contain all information to connect securely to the SEB Server.
- Create and maintain SEB exam configurations. Those are sent to a SEB client on connection setup and contain all SEB settings for a particular e-assessment.
- Setup and maintain Learning Management Systems (LMS) like Open edX or Moodle to be able to navigate and find courses or quizzes on the LMS and to push access-restrictions to the LMS if supported by the LMS
- Import and maintain courses or quizzes form a LMS. Setup everything that is needed for an e-assessment that is based on a course or quiz form the LMS
- Apply indicators to the exams to indicate incidences while monitoring running e-assessments.
- Monitor running e-assessment and have an overview of all connected SEB clients. Manage SEB client connections and view logs sent by individual SEB clients.
Roles and Use-Cases¶
The SEB Server supports a simple role based privilege system where a role has read, modify and write privileges on certain domain entities. The privileges for a role are pre-defined and cannot be changed by a user. But roles can be combined for a user-account. A user-account for example can have the “Exam Administrator” and the “Exam Supporter” role active to be able to setup and support an exam (e-assessment) within one user-account.
Privileges for domain objects are categorized in read, modify and write rights. Write right includes creation and deletion grants as well as activation grants in addition to the more restrict modify right that only allows to modify already created entities. They are also categorized in overall, institutional and owner privileges where overall means for all entities, over all available institutions and institutional means only the entities that belongs to the own institution whereas owner-privilege means the creator or assigned owner of an entity.
There currently exists four different roles. This reflect a good separation of concern within the SEB Server application administration itself and the setup and maintaining work that has to be done for e-assessments with SEB. Below are the names and a short description of each role.
SEB Server Administrator
This role is primarily to administer the SEB Server application, to create new and maintain available institutions and user-accounts. In addition to that a SEB Server administrator also has overall read privileges for the most domains to be able to analyze problems and help others to solve them.
A typical use-case for a SEB Server administrator would be to create a new institution and an institutional administrator for this institution. Another use-case would be to maintain registered user accounts, to give more privileges. Or to entirely deactivate an existing user account.
An institutional administrator has overall read access for its institution and is able to modify the institution properties as well as create new or maintain existing user-accounts for the belonging institution. Furthermore an institutional administrator is able to create and maintain learning management system (LMS) setups and SEB connection-configurations for the belonging institution.
A typical use-case for a institutional administrator would be to give the appropriate roles and privileges to newly registered users of the institution. Or another use-case would be to create and maintain SEB connection configurations for the institutions and setup and maintain learning management systems within the SEB Server and the belonging institution.
With this role a user is able to prepare an exam for an e-assessment with SEB. A exam administrator is able to view all courses from all learning management systems that are setup for the belonging institution and find a particular course to import this course as an exam within SEB Server. This role is also able to create and maintain SEB exam configurations that can then be assigned to an imported exam. After setting importing an exam, the role is able to setup all aspects of an exam like automated restrictions, allowed supporter and monitoring indicator, to name a few, and prepare the exam for an e-assessment.
A typical use-case for an exam administrator would be to create a SEB exam configuration within the templating and configuration section. Then to find a particular course or quiz from the learning management systems that is defined within the institution. This course or quiz can then be imported by the administrator as an exam. After import an exam administrator is able to prepare this exam for run and monitoring by attaching a exam configuration to it, prepare indicators to monitor incidences and specify the SEB access-restriction conditions for the course or quiz.
This role is to support a running exam within SEB Server. An exam supporter is able to see the running exams on that he/she has an assignment and can open them either for monitoring or editing some exam attributes during the exam.
A typical use-case for an exam supporter would be when the time an exam is running, to overview the connecting SEB clients and manage them. While SEB server shows incidences or irregularities, a exam supporter can act on them and take the appropriate actions if needed.
Sign Up / Sign In¶
What one will see first when applying to a SEB server application is the login-screen
If you are already registered you can use your username and password to log in. Or use the “Register” button to go the the register page to create a new user-account. The newly created user account will only have the Exam Supporter role assigned. If you need another role or more privileges, this must be given and granted by an institutional administrator of the belonging institution.
Fill in the register form and create a new account. After the user account has been successfully created, the application redirects to the login page for login. On the current version, e-mail confirmation is not a feature of the SEB Server application and therefore the e-mail address is just informative by now.
With the “Time Zone” you can choose a specific time zone for your user-account. All dates and times will then be showed within this time zone.
Graphical User Interface¶
After successful login, you will see the main graphical user interface of the SEB Server application. On the left hand are the activities that can be done, categorized within some few main sections with its relating activities underneath. By selecting a activity, the main content section will show the activity content and the action that are possible for this activity on the right hand side.
In the header above on the right hand, we see the username of the currently logged in user and an action button the sign out and go back to the login page.
The main content usually consist of a list or a form.
A list shows all the objects of a particular activity in a table page. A list has paging functionality and the list has more objects than fitting all on one page, a page navigation is shown at the bottom of the list with the information of the current page and the number of pages along with the page navigation that can be used to navigate forward and backward thought the list pages.
Almost all lists have the ability to filter the content by certain column filter that are right above the corresponding columns. You can use the column filter input to filter the list and to narrow down a specific collection of content. Accordingly to the value type of the column, there are different types of filter:
- Selection, to select one instance of a defined collection of values (drop-down).
- Text input, to write some text that a value must contain.
- Date selection, To select a from-date from a date-picker. A date selection can also have an additional time selection within separate input field
- Date range selection, To select a from- and a to-date within different inputs and a date-picker. A date range selection can also have an additional time range selection within separate input fields
A list can be sorted within a column by clicking in the column header. The order of sorting can be changed by clicking again on the same column header of the sorted column. If sorting functionality is available for a column depends on the column type. There are a few columns that do not have a sort functionality yet. Most columns have a short tool-tip description that pops up while the mouse pointer stays over the column header for a moment. A column tool-tip usually also explains how to use the column-related filter.
Forms are used for domain entity specific data input or presentation, like HTML Forms usually do. Forms appear in three different ways within the SEB Server GUI:
- When a domain entity is first created in edit mode
- When a domain entity is modified also in edit mode
- And when a domain entity is just shown, in read-only mode
The following images shows the same form, once in read-only mode and once edit mode
There usually is a tool-tip on a form field element for almost all attributes that can be activated by either going over and stay on the form field label or the input section. If a form field is mandatory to either create or save an entity, this is marked with a little red arrow just to the right of the form field label. There may also be more field validation takes place on saving the object. If a input needs a special form that is not given by the current input, the form-field will be marked with a red border around the input field and a thin red explanation text is shown right below the input field. After correcting the missing or wrong input and saveing the form again, the SEB Server will accept and process the changes.
If you navigate away from a form in edit mode, the GUI will inform you about possible data loss on this action and will prompt you to proceed or abort the action.