Authentication of Students in Online and Distance Learning Courses

Last revised: 12/2/2020 by dtm.

Overview

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 NECHE 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.

Responsibility:

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.

UConn requires that instructors of all Distance Education course sections (currently defined by the Registrar as “Distance Learning” and “Online”) ensure that students who register in these courses are the same students who participate in and complete the course activities and assessments and receive academic credit.

Instructors must use two methods of student authentication that meet the standards of NECHE Accreditation and FERPA (see below). The methods used in a course must be specified on the course syllabus (see language at bottom of page). The two methods include:

 

Method 1: REQUIRED

Instructors must use HuskyCT as the primary repository and access point for course content, assessment, and activities, and students use their NetID and password process to securely access course content/ assessments.

Method 2: CHOOSE AT LEAST ONE OF OPTIONS BELOW

Instructors must also employ a second student authentication method from the list below or an alternative method that has been approved by the Provost’s Office:

Assessments and Activities

 

Method and Process 
Routine interactions via email, phone, and video Instructors can use check-ins and/or office hours to discuss content, previous assignments, and progress on existing assignments.

Instructors can ask for identification and/or confirm student identity via official UConn photo in StudentAdmin.
Synchronous virtual class, Small group meetings, and Individual student meetings Instructors can facilitate synchronous class sessions, small group meetings, and individual student meeting discussions using an online platform.

Instructors can ask for identification and/or confirm student identity via official UConn photo in StudentAdmin.
Instructor proctored assessments Instructors can observe students taking tests/assessments and can lead one-on-one synchronous oral examinations using an online platform

Instructors can ask for identification and/or confirm student identity via official UConn photo in StudentAdmin.
Recorded assessment submissions Instructors can use Respondus Lockdown Browser with Monitor to record student display of ID and assessment session.

Instructors can review the recorded assessments to confirm display of ID and if needed, confirm student identity via official UConn photo in StudentAdmin.
Student-created videos and Video assignments Students can use Collaborate, Kaltura, or other technology to create and submit videos (individually or group) in which they discuss course content, make presentations, or perform other activities.

Instructors can confirm student identity via official UConn photo in StudentAdmin.
Discussion boards Instructor can create discussion boards on HuskyCT, and review a discussion threads (both previous and current posts) to check for consistency of writing style, topics discussed, etc. for each student in the discussions.

Instructors can compare writing styles, topics discussed, etc. to student submitted written assignments and participation in other activities or assessments in which student identity was authenticated.

Alternative Methods Not-Listed Above

Requests for approval of an alternative method should be directed to CETL’s eCampus (eCampus@uconn.edu) for review and approval in coordination with the Provost’s Office.

Documentation:

Though not required, 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 https://production.wordpress.uconn.edu/guide/instruction/exam-procedures/)

Additional Costs and Approved forms of ID:

There should be no additional cost to students in order to complete Authentication.

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

Suggested Student Authentication Syllabus Language:

The University of Connecticut is required to verify the identity of students who participate in distance learning or online courses and to establish that students who register in these courses are the same students who participate in and complete the course activities and assessments and receive academic credit. Verification and authentication of student identity in this course will include [Method 1 and Method 2].”


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

 

Why do we authenticate and verify student identity?

Read:

 

Related Posts:

 

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