Authentication of Students in Online and Distance Learning Courses

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.

Notice:

Classes listed as online (WW) and distance learning (DL) are required to use at least one method of authentication. Courses developed with eCampus and/or that are part of a fully online certificate or degree program require TWO methods of authentication.

Responsibility

Per the Provost's Guidelines:

"In close collaboration with AAUP, we have identified that we are able to loosen the guidelines from two required methods to one required method with a request for your use of additional methods as you are able.

The single required method can be achieved simply by having students log in to class materials (syllabus, links to online discussions, any other materials) through HuskyCT. We continue to encourage a second method of authentication, as this also supports academic integrity in online education. Examples of these options are provided [below]. Whatever you decide, your approach to student authentication should be clearly stated in the syllabus for all faculty teaching classes listed as online (WW) and distance learning (DL)."

Carl Lejuez
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs"
 

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).

Please Note:

Faculty teaching non-eCampus WW and DL courses are only required to use one method.

Method 1: REQUIRED

This is the minimum required for WW and DL courses

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 AMONG THE OPTIONS BELOW

Faculty working with eCampus or as part of a fully online certificate or degree program MUST use Method 1 AND one option from Method 2 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 and UConn eCampus:

 

Assessments and Activities  Method and Process 
Recorded exam or test submissions Method: Instructors can use Respondus Lockdown Browser with Monitor to record student display of ID and assessment session.

 

Process: Instructors review the recorded assessments to confirm display of ID and if needed, confirm student identity via official UConn photo in StudentAdmin.

Instructor proctored assessments Method: Instructors observe students taking tests/assessments and/or lead one-on-one synchronous oral examinations using a University supported online platform (Collaborate, Teams, WebEx)

 

Process: Instructors ask for identification and/or confirm student identity via official UConn photo in StudentAdmin.

 

Routine interactions via email, phone, and video

Method: Instructors use check-ins and/or office hours to discuss content, previous assignments, and progress on existing assignments.

 

Process: Instructors ask for identification and/or confirm student identity via official UConn photo in StudentAdmin.

Synchronous virtual class, Small group meetings, and Individual student meetings Method: Instructors facilitate synchronous class sessions, small group meetings, and individual student meeting discussions using an online platform.

 

Process: Instructors ask for identification and/or confirm student identity via official UConn photo in StudentAdmin.

Student-created videos and video assignments Method: Students use webcams with 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.

 

Process: Instructors confirm student identity via official UConn photo in StudentAdmin.

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.


StudentAdmin Roster Photos, Approved forms of ID, and Additional Costs

Official student ID photos found in the Student Admin roster tool can be used to confirm the identity of students participating in class activities and assessments. Student photo submission through the One Card office includes a process of verifying the student photo against a government issued ID making the roster photo valid for student authentication. If faculty will use the roster photos in their authentication process, they should request that all students ensure they have a photo submitted through the One Card office by following directions here: https://onecard.uconn.edu/the-one-card/online-photo-submission/. All students, regardless of standing and campus have been encouraged to follow these steps prior to the start of the Spring semester. Acceptable IDs for the StudentAdmin upload include State Issued Driver’s License, State Identification Card, Military Identification Card, Passport/Visa, Permanent Residence Card

If students have not uploaded photos or faculty have difficulty viewing or comparing the roster photos in Student Admin, faculty may request that students meet with them and display an acceptable government ID in a private online video conference. Acceptable IDs for the in these cases include State Issued Driver’s License, State Identification Card, Military Identification Card, Passport/Visa, Permanent Residence Card, and UConn Student ID.

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

 

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:

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