WCET's 28th Annual Meeting
The Goldilocks Test: Finding the “Just Right” Student Authentication System

Moderator: Deb Gearhart, Director of Operations, Division of Distance and Continuing Education, University of South Dakota
Speaker: Lara Mabry, Instructional Design Specialist, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Speaker: Melissa Messina, Instructional Design Specialist, University of Missouri-Kansas City


In response to current federal regulations that require the authentication of online students, the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) spent the past year evaluating possible solutions offered by three separate vendors: Examity, ProctorU, and BioSig-ID. The primary goal of the authentication project was to identify an approach that allowed authentication to occur not only when students were engaged in an online assessment activity such as a exam but at multiple points within an online course. The ideal solution would be an authentication system that requires a student to authenticate at random points throughout a class and at a frequency that would not disrupt the natural flow of the course or learning activity. Each of the solutions offered by the vendors was piloted separately and proved useful in understanding the scope of student verification. Feedback from faculty, students, and administrators was instrumental in evaluating these tools, informing the development of institutional policies, and surfacing essential features. Key attributes of an ideal system include security and accuracy; scalability; ease of use; integration with the LMS; and cost-effectiveness. This presentation will tell the story of how one university is navigating the student authentication landscape to evaluate and identify a system that is “just right” for its institutional infrastructure and culture.

Presentation slides.