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Blackboard Teams with Acxiom To Deliver Student Identity Verification

Blackboard and Acxiom have teamed up to authenticate the identities of distance learning students. Acxiom will make its Risk Identification Suite, prevalent in authenticating online banking transactions, available to Blackboard clients to verify the identity of distance learning students. The partnership offers a means for colleges and universities to improve student verification at a time of growing interest in verification policies, spurred by passage of the federal Higher Education Act. The act requires verification that individuals completing online assignments are actually the students registered for the distance learning classes.

"All higher education institutions with distance learning programs are looking for a simple, affordable solution that does not require hardware to meet evolving integrity policies in distance education," said Tim Christin, Acxiom senior VP. "As a champion of consumer privacy and online safety, Acxiom views its identity management services as a perfect fit for Blackboard clients to use in developing new practices in student authentication."

Blackboard's online learning application, Blackboard Learn (formerly the Blackboard Learning System), is the most widely adopted course management system among U.S. post-secondary institutions.

The student identity verification is performed over the Internet with no intrusion into the learning process. Acxiom's authentication system asks verification questions that only the student enrolled in the course can answer. The questions are based on information contained in Acxiom's risk mitigation solutions. The application requires no special hardware, and institutions using Acxiom's solution control when, where, and how frequently students authenticate. Instructors and administrators are notified of results. The entire process is delivered through Blackboard software, enabling authentication during the learning process.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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