Verification of Student Identity in Online Education Policy

Policy #: 
ACD 101.006
Executive Owner: 
Vice President for Educational Technology
Scope: 

This policy applies to all credit-bearing online education courses or programs offered by AdventHealth University (AHU), beginning with the application for admission and continuing through to a student’s graduation, transfer, or withdrawal from study.

Purpose: 

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that AHU operates in compliance with the provisions of the United States Federal Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), Public Law 110-315 concerning the verification of student identity in online education.

Additionally, this policy is intended to ensure compliance with the requirements of regulatory and accrediting agencies, including the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Federal Requirements 4.8.1 and 4.8.3.

Policy: 

All credit-bearing courses and programs offered through online learning methods must verify that the student who registers for an online education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program and receives academic credit.  According to the HEOA, one or more of the following methods must be used:

  1. A secure login and pass code;
  1. Proctored examinations; and/or
  1. New or emerging technologies and practices that are effective in verifying student identification.

Any online student work, assessments or activities that are graded or contribute to a student’s grade must be submitted via a system that verifies the student’s identity as noted above.

All methods of verifying student identity in online learning must protect the privacy of student information.  If any fees associated with the verification of student identity will be charged to students, they will be so indicated in the online Academic Catalog.

Compliance

Each AHU student is assigned a unique student number (or username) and has a student-generated password to log into AHU’s learning management system. Students are responsible for providing their complete and true identity information in any identification verification process.

Responsibilities

All users of the University’s learning management system are responsible for maintaining the security of usernames, passwords, and other access credentials as required. An account is given to an individual for the exclusive use by that individual. Attempting to discover another user's password or attempts to gain unauthorized access to another person's files or e-mail is prohibited. It is against University policy for a user to give someone his or her password or allow others to use his or her account. Users are responsible for any and all uses of their account.  Users are responsible for changing passwords periodically to maintain security. Users are held responsible for knowledge of the information contained within the most recent Academic Catalog as well as the Student Handbook.  Failure to read University guidelines, requirements and regulations will not exempt users from responsibility.

Faculty teaching courses through online education methods hold primary responsibility for ensuring that students comply with identity verification policy. As technology and personal accountability are not absolute in determining a student’s identity, faculty members are encouraged to design courses that use assignments and evaluations that support academic integrity.  Changes in student behavior such as sudden shifts in academic performance or changes in writing style or language used in discussion groups or email may indicate academic integrity problems.  Faculty routinely should use a variety of assessment instruments. As best practices suggest, faculty should routinely ask students to share in appropriate ways important ideas learned from texts and references, require research projects and paper assignments to be submitted in steps, and/or use plagiarism detection software. 

Department Chairs are responsible for ensuring that their faculty are aware of this policy and comply with its provisions.

The Center for Educational Technology is responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy and that, department chairs, and program directors are informed of any changes in the policy in a timely fashion. The Center for Educational Technology is also responsible for ensuring that university-level processes remain in compliance with this policy (registrar, admissions, library, etc.).

Academic Catalog: This policy will be referenced in the online Academic Catalog.

Definition(s): 

Online Learning/Education - Mediated instruction other than face-to-face instruction that relies on the Internet for part or all of communication, collaboration, interaction, assignment submission and/or assessment for a credit bearing course or program.

Approved by: 
Approval Date: 
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Effective Date: 
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Review Date: 
Monday, October 16, 2017
Monday, October 5, 2020