Student Identity Verification in Online Learning

The Fashion Institute of Technology is in compliance with the provisions of the United States Federal Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) concerning the verification of student identity in online education.

The HEOA requires that institutions offering online education have processes in place to ensure that the student registering for a course is the same student who participates in the course or receives course credit. The Act requires that institutions use one of the following three methods:

  • a secure login and pass code;
  • proctored examinations; or
  • new or other technologies and practices that are effective in verifying student identification.

Student ID and Password
All students registered for FIT online courses have a secure user ID and password assigned to them by the college using a FERPA-compliant procedure. Passwords are at least 12 characters and are case sensitive (see: Password Basics). Access to online courses is controlled by the use of the secure User ID and password.

Learning Management System (LMS)
FIT uses Blackboard as its learning management system. The Blackboard system integrates with college authentication services to ensure appropriate and secure student access to courses and other campus information systems. The unique user ID and password are used to verify that a student who registers for an online course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program. All users of the Blackboard system are responsible for maintaining the security of their IDs and passwords, or any other access credentials as required. Attempting to discover another user's password or attempts to gain unauthorized access to another person's files or email is prohibited. (As noted in the Acceptible Use for FIT IT Systems policy, Principles section, under Acceptable and Unacceptable Use; Code of Student Conduct policy, under Dishonesty; and the Academic Honor Code, under Dishonesty.)

Blackboard contains several features that facilitate identity verification. FIT’s online course enrollments are limited to 19 students. Because of the small class size, faculty get to know the individual voices of each student through frequent writing assignments and discussions (utilizing audio, video, or written posts). In some online courses, exams require a proctor to be present and this proctor verifies the identity of the test-taker. (see: Proctor Guidelines)

Students are responsible for providing complete and true information in any identity verification process.

Protection of Student Privacy

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The privacy of students who enroll in online courses at FIT is protected under the Federal government’s FERPA rules and the college’s FERPA policy.

Student Record Access
Employee access to student records and information in the Banner Student Information System is restricted following FIT’s Data Custodianship and Access policy. Employees are granted access to
student records in Banner based on job function. Access is authorized by the Director of Records and Registration, including approval by the respective supervisor or senior administrators.

Process for Resetting Student Passwords
Students may change their passwords at any time and are reminded to do so every 120 days. (see Forgot FIT Password for instructions) 

Charges Associated with Student Identity Verification

The Fashion Institute of Technology does not charge a fee for student identity verification. Students would be notified of additional fees, if any, prior to and during the registration process through various publications such as course syllabi, the college website, or the course catalog.

Unit Responsible for Student Identity Verification

The Division of Information Technology oversees password assignments and changes as noted in the Accounts and Passwords guidelines.

The Office of the Registrar is responsible for the consistent application of student identity verification procedures as outlined in the college’s FERPA policy.

Academic deans are expected to ensure that faculty within their schools remain in compliance. Instructors teaching courses through online education methods are responsible to ensure that their individual courses comply.

If necessary, the Vice President for Academic Affairs may address non-compliance through performance reviews or other measures as appropriate.