Friday, July 11, 2008

Distance Learner Authentication

Who are you? Who, who, who who? I really want to know.

"Distance learning promises anytime, anywhere learning. But that convenience for students comes with a potential risk for educators – finding a way to make sure the registered student is really the person doing the work." That is the party line from Acxiom, one of the market leaders in using personal information from their massive database to authenticate learners. I've been invited to attend a discussion about this service at the upcoming D2L User Conference in Memphis. I'm undecided whether I'll attend at this point, but I just might do so given the U.S. government's meddling into the whole authentication "issue." I'm not convinced that there is a real issue here, just a perceived one. Although if Congress finishes their work-in-progress that makes it into an issue, then it is an issue, at least for those of us in the U.S.

There is an interesting tidbit on their page titled: Identity Verification to Support Academic Integrity. In talking about their own security and how they are protective of student data, they say that "due to the decentralized nature of IT departments, higher education leads all industries in numbers data breach events." I guess I'd like to see their data that verifies that claim. Maybe it's true, but I don't know that to be a fact, and I'm not inclined to just believe them because they say so.

CC photo by scragz

1 comment:

Jeff B said...

From a consumer perspective, I've wondered if OpenID is a viable option for higher ed.

From a higher ed perspective, a federated approach with Shibboleth seems more attainable.

Looking forward to seeing/hearing you at the D2L conference next week!