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Blackboard Releases Student Identification Tool Using Acxiom Technology

Blackboard has launched a service for student identity verification, powered by technology from Acxiom, a company that specializes in interactive marketing and risk mitigation services. The Acxiom Identify-X service allows institutions to deploy an enhanced verification program that integrates with Blackboard's course management system, Blackboard Learn. After students log into the Blackboard platform and access a course assessment, Acxiom's technology will periodically and randomly present real-time challenge questions that only the enrolled student will know how to answer.

The likelihood of students being required to verify their identity may be determined by instructors at the course level or system administrators at the institutional level. Instructors can control when, where, and how frequently they verify student identity while maintaining the privacy of student information. The service doesn't require the purchase of any additional software.

"While we have researched and evaluated other alternatives, we have found this solution to exceed expectations in our identity verification initiative for our continually growing population of distance learning students," said Steve Clark, distance learning technology coordinator for Athens State University in Alabama. "This technology more than meets the requirements set by the Higher Education Opportunity Act in authenticating student identities, and its feasibility and ease of use would vastly increase our faculty's confidence in conducting assessments online."

Institutions will receive a limited number of free verifications based on their total student enrollment and Blackboard license. According to the vendor, most institutions choose to perform random verification of test takers. The process doesn't require the release of student information, thereby avoiding potential issues with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

"We are excited to include a range of industry-leading technologies--from student identity verification to instant messaging and plagiarism prevention--to offer institutions a more powerful e-learning platform," said Matthew Small, Blackboard's chief business officer and general counsel. "And while the Blackboard platform already offers security protection through end user authentication, this solution allows institutions to further strengthen their identity verification efforts."

The Identify-X technology is available as a Blackboard Building Block or PowerLink download. The technology is also available to Angel Learning clients. Blackboard acquired Angel earlier this year.

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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