07 October 2009

Student Authentication: Resource within WCET

Higher ed has its horror stories on who can get an online degree. They range from the dog (whose owner mailed in the check) to the family who appeared at graduation to collect their, um, collective diploma because they had all worked together to accomplish the course work. Somewhere in between are the known and guessed-at scenarios of "farming out" a course or an assignment, maybe for pay or maybe just enlisting a friend or relative who's better at.... well, a Stats course might be a common choice.

Online instructors are not so suspicious. Most claim that they develop a sense of who their students are, especially if they teach in a program that permits repeated contact over several semesters. It's harder to accept the familiarity claim by instructors who meet students in a single class. (As an online adjunct, I am in this category. But when I was on regular faculty working in an online program, I also served as an advisor and taught several courses. In that setting, I felt very confident that I knew my students as well as their work.)

Being certain of an online student's identity is a hot topic for at least another year as institutions decide how to meet that expectation. A good guide to the topic is through WCET's web page on Academic Integrity and Student Authentication.

© 2009 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. Email contact: bold[AT]marybold.com. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as legal or professional advice. Bold is the co-author of Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. She is a consultant and speaker on assessment, distance learning, and technology.

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