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ERIC Number: EJ847397
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun-12
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Online Educators Won't Be Forced to Spy on Students, New Rules Say
Parry, Marc
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n39 pA19 Jun 2009
Distance educators won't have to become FBI-style investigators, installing cameras in the homes of online students and scanning fingerprints to ensure that people are who they say they are. At least not yet. The recently reauthorized Higher Education Opportunity Act requires accreditors to monitor steps colleges take to verify that an enrolled student is the same person who does the course work. Language in the law made some distance educators worry that they would need expensive technology to ensure that other people don't take students' tests. Educators feared the cost could endanger programs. But proposed federal regulations about fulfilling the law, worked out this May, would allow colleges to satisfy the mandate with techniques like secure log-ins and passwords or proctored examinations, according to people involved in the negotiations. It has been an emotional controversy that touched on cheating, privacy, and Congress's lingering discomfort with distance education. Some in the field felt they were being held to a higher standard than their peers at brick-and-mortar institutions. And some technology vendors exacerbated the anxiety through "purposeful distortion" of the law, said Fred B. Lokken, an associate dean at Truckee Meadows Community College, in Nevada. Some college officials saw advantages in the new technologies. Others were wary of privacy issues, though, and still others chafed at the assumption that because the course was online, the person doing the work might really be a student's mother. "People were just concerned that our job was going to be moved from teaching to some kind of FBI-like forensics work," said Jennifer E. Lerner, director of the Extended Learning Institute at Northern Virginia Community College.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Higher Education Opportunity Act 1970