From ElateWiki

The authentication of identity for online courses has long been rumored to be a national requirement if certain legislation passes. The academic literature suggests that IP tracking may be used along with biometrics. Biometrics refers to the recognition of a person based on physiological and / or behavioral characteristics.


On-Ground Examples

The most common examples of biometrics in popular use relate to thumb / finger scans on laptops. A more general use may be that of webcams with human recognition of each other’s facial features. Handwriting and voice recognition are yet another common example. Physical features that may be measured include the following: “face, fingerprints, hand geometry, handwriting, iris, retinal, vein, and voice.” (The Biometric Consortium) This source continues: “Biometric-based authentication applications include workstation, network, and domain access, single sign-on, application logon, data protection, remote access to resources, transaction security and Web security.” Because there are ways to work around security systems, verification of identity usually will involve a mixture of technology systems (Bailie & Jortberg, 2009) and policy endeavors.

Weaknesses in Current Authentication Systems

People’s sharing of their passwords with friends, spouses and family members, and their incautious uses of insecure computers, along with the aggressive work of those interested in gaining access to others’ information, has meant that passwords are not fully effective or secure. The impersonation of others for academic dishonesty purposes has increased the need for other measures of learner authentication. Biometrics, because of the convenience, may well be one of the tools used.

See Also

The Biometric Consortium:


Bailie, J.L. & Jortberg, M.A. (2009). Online learner authentication: Verifying the identity of online users. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. Retrieved Sept. 28, 2009, from