Can students see solutions in the browser's console view?

Right-clicking an element inside a widget and selecting Inspect will usually not allow students to see the widget's answer key.

What is the console?

Right-clicking any element of a widget and selecting Inspect (also called Inspect element in some browsers) will open what is called the 'console' view. Anyone can open the console view for any website and it can be done with any browser. Opening the console is not considered unethical in any way; it is a tool publicly available to anyone with a browser. It shows, among others, the HTML layout and code of the website. The console view is used mostly by website developers to spot errors in their code easily. Students who are aware of the existence of the console view, right-click anywhere inside a widget to open its console view, expecting to find the correct solutions to the widgets' questionnaires by interpreting the code.

Where is the answer key?

Under normal conditions (see below for exceptions), the answer keys can't be found in the console, even if students think they can. That's because the solutions to the widget are simply not there; they're not included in the widget. Therefore, you won't ever find them in the console.

Instead, the answer keys are stored on our servers. Students can't access them. If you have configured the widget so that students may see the solutions after submitting, then the widget will contact our server only in that moment, retrieve the solutions, and display them. Not before.

Note that there are some exceptions to this. There are some situations in which the widget will contain the solutions, in which case they can, in fact, be consulted in the console view. These are situations where the widget requires the correction key on one hand, but it has been configured to not contact the BookWidgets server at any time. This will be the case:

  • when the option General > Correction options > Color correct answers immediately is enabled. While the widget will usually only contact the BookWidgets server, at the earliest, when the submit button is clicked, indicating the correct answers immediately after filling in the exercise will precede that step. In that case, the solutions are needed before they can be retrieved from the server. So they are contained directly in the widget.
  • when the option Title/reporting > Enable submitting of answers is disabled. Disabling this option will convert the widget into a kind of practice tool rather than a test/quiz tool. Since results won't be submitted, no connection will be made with our server. This is why the answers will be contained in the widget.
  • if an answer key has been set for the widget (under General > Answer Keys). Entering the password will load the solutions into the widget immediately, in which case the solutions can also be retrieved from the console.

Then where does the rumor come from?

We're not sure, but it probably has something to do with the fact that the words 'true' and 'false' are thrown around across the code quite a lot. For example, in the screenshot below, you can see that a checkbox with a checkmark in it has an attribute marked as 'true', while all unchecked boxes are marked as 'false'. The code simply states whether or not the box is displayed with a checkmark in it or not. It has nothing to do with what the actual solution to the multiple-choice question might be.

It is likely this type of indications that lead students to believe they've hit the jackpot. But alas. So in order to ensure that solutions to your quiz can't be retrieved from the console, make sure that:

  • the option General > Correction options > Color correct answers immediately is disabled;
  • the option Title/reporting > Enable submitting of answers is enabled;
  • no password is set under General > Answer Keys.

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