The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) legislation, as it currently stands, requires institutions that offer courses or programs through distance education to have processes in place that verify or authenticate that the student who registers in such a course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program and who receives the academic credit.
Some of the initial thoughts surrounding the bill suggested that institutions of higher learning may be required to adopt sophisticated and perhaps expensive technology that would serve as a bridge to verify online students as the "real" students enrolled in online courses. However, this is not the case. The HEOA simply requires institutions that offer distance education to have security mechanisms in place, such as identification numbers or other pass code information to be used each time the student participates in coursework online. This includes methods such as:
- A secure login and pass code (password)
- Proctored examinations
- New or other technologies and practices which are effective in verifying student identification
CCSNH is in compliance with the HEOA because Blackboard (the learning management system) has a secure login and password
In addition, the HEOA legislation makes it clear that any authentication policy must protect student privacy and it must notify students at registration or enrollment of projected additional charges for identity verification.
~ Sloan Consortium, "Student Authentication, Academic Integrity, and the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008", October 14, 2010