Authentication of Students in Online and Distance Learning Courses

Last revised: 08/12/2020 by dsm.


The purpose of this article is to guide the University community as faculty seek methods of verifying student identity in distance learning and online courses.  These guidelines were designed to meet NEASC accreditation standard 4.48 and Federal requirements under Sec.  602.17(g)of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Additionally, these guidelines are designed to meet Department of Homeland Security requirements for International Students in online and remote learning environments.


Federal law guides the University to verify that a student who registers in a “distance education or correspondence education course” is the same student who participates in and completes the course and receives academic credit. At UConn, courses listed as Distance Learning (DL) or Online (WW) fall under the federal guidelines listed above. The major disruptions to the Fall Semester related to the Covid-19 outbreak have led to far more courses being offered as DL or WW. To meet the federal and accreditation standards, faculty should follow the guidelines provided below.


  1. Registration and Secure NetID and Log In
    • Students registering for courses use a student information system and access is managed through UConn’s centralized NetID authentication process. This requires students to establish their identity by providing unique personal identifiers and contact information.
    • The learning management system in which all online courses are hosted authenticates student user accounts and passwords through NetID access.
    • eCampus recommends that faculty use at least one additional method of student authentication method in their online courses.
  2.  Additional Authentication and Identity Verification Methods
    Faculty and academic programs should choose the appropriate means of authentication based on the unique needs and affordances of their curriculum, students, faculty, and administrative support. UConn’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and eCampus will provide guidance, training, and support for faculty as they seek to implement these methods in their courses. Any changes to assessment methodology and any associated change to identity verification and authentication practice should be clearly stated on the course syllabus. Some existing examples include the following:

      • Referencing student photographs when available through StudentAdmin and the class roster
      • Systematic monitoring and tracking of student work by faculty and instructors (e.g., discussion posts, video blogs, video presentations, written submissions, submitted assignments) throughout a course using checkpoints associated with roster photos or photo IDs ensuring the student is continuously engaged and responsible for all submission and work
      • Remote use of Respondus Lockdown Browser with Monitor (Students show ID before recorded assessment)
      • Field or clinical experiences using an approved photo ID
      • Synchronous or asynchronous video conferencing and/or recorded activities using an approved photo ID
      • Synchronous oral examinations using an approved photo ID
      • Other technologies or procedures specified by faculty in their course syllabus and approved by departments/programs
  3. Document an authentication plan
    We strongly recommend documenting any authentication and identity verification plans. If you will be teaching a DL or WW course for the first time, you can complete a UConn Student Authentication Plan for Distance Learning and save a copy to your HuskyCT site. Remember to note all changes in your syllabus.

Each instructor in charge of a course is expected to assume responsibility for proctoring examinations, including final examination (From UConn Exam Procedures

NOTE: UConn requires no additional fees for the authentication methods listed above. If an individual faculty member requires face-to-face proctoring at an off-campus site, any potential or associated fees will be stated in the course syllabus and should be noted by faculty of record in UConn’s StudentAdmin course registration system to alert students to these costs prior to registration.

Approved photo identifications are: passports, government issued identification, driver’s licenses, military ID from DoD.

What if you suspect academic misconduct?  Follow the University’s respective procedures:


Why do we authenticate and verify student identity?



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