When students go to school via “online courses,” how do you know they’re actually going to school — virtually speaking, that is?
You don’t, according to this Friday’s edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education. So Congress is about to pass changes to the Higher Education Act that allows “distance-education” schools to more closely monitor what their “students” are up to. The stated concern is the schools want to be sure the person passing a test, for example, is actually the student getting the credit for doing so.
But some college officials are wary of the technologies, noting that they are run by third-party vendors that may not safeguard students’ privacy. Among the information the vendors collect are students’ fingerprints, and possibly even images from inside their homes.
“This is taking a step into a student’s private life,” said Rhonda M. Epper, co-executive director of Colorado Community Colleges Online. “I don’t know if we want to extend our presence that far.”
One of the biometrics systems being considered to identify students works only on Windows, not Macs.
(H/T: Corrie Bergeron via Twitter)