Online exam in kiosk mode on a Chromebook for Medical Schools Applied Knowledge Test

We are planning to run the MS AKT this year on Chromebooks at our Examination Schools, so that we can examine the whole year 6 cohort in one sitting. However, unlike Inspera – the system we use for most internal computer-based exams – the MSCAA Assessment Suite does not come with a lockdown browser for Chromebooks.

To save others some pain, I thought it would be worth noting down how we have tackled this. The first thing to say is DO NOT go down the same dead end that I did – see The Wrong Way at the end of this post. Instead, use this much simpler process for adding a website to a Chrome kiosk. It’s as simple as:

  • Choose the Organizational Unit to which you want the kiosk to be applied
  • Go to Devices > Chrome > Apps & extensions > Kiosks
  • From the add menu (right), choose Add by URL then type in the name of the site you want to launch, then Save

In order to further lock things down:

  • Specify the list of URLs to allow in Devices > Chrome > Settings > Device. Under Kiosk settings:
    • first block all URLs – enter ‘https://*’ and ‘http://*’ in Devices > Blocked URLs
    • then allow the list of URLs required by the MSCAA by entering them (each on its own line) in Devices > Blocked URLs exceptions.
  • By default, users can escape the kiosk launch when the Chromebook is starting up by pressing Ctrl + Alt + S. If you do not want to allow this, disable Enable Splash Screen bailout in the kiosk app settings – accessed via Devices > Chrome > Apps & extensions > Kiosks then clicking on the name of your kiosk URL.

The Wrong Way
Create and deploy Chrome kiosk apps suggested that I needed to build a Chome kiosk app so, I duly: downloaded Chrome App Builder; created a dedicated Gmail account for the project; registered as a Chrome Web Store developer ($5); created a logo and some screenshots; and attempted to upload to the store so I could deploy to our Chromebooks. At that point, I was told “New Chrome apps will no longer be accepted by the Chrome Web Store” 🙁