4.8.1 Authentication

Federal Requirement 4.8. Distance and Correspondence Education

An institution that offers distance or correspondence education documents each of the following:

4.8.1. Student Identity

Demonstrates that the student who registers in a distance or correspondence education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program and receives the credit by verifying the identity of a student who participates in class or coursework by using, at the option of the institution, methods such as (a) a secure login and pass code, (b) proctored examinations, or (c) new or other technologies and practices that are effective in verifying student identification.

Compliance Partial Compliance Non-compliance


The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USF Sarasota-Manatee) is committed to the academic honesty and integrity of its entire community. USF Regulation 3.027, Academic Integrity of Students, defines academic honesty as the “completion of all academic endeavors and claims of scholarly knowledge as representative of one’s own efforts.”

To verify the identity of students who are enrolled in distance education, USF Sarasota-Manatee employs the NetID, a secure login and password system that is used by all students. The NetID (the USF user ID) provides student applicants, admitted students, and enrolled students with a single sign-on to a variety of online services offered through the University, including the following:

  • the Student Information System (Banner and OASIS), where personal information, admission application and status, registration status, student records, and tuition and fee payment information are stored; and
  • the learning management system (Canvas), where enrolled students can access course materials and course grades.

The use of a single sign-on establishes the identity of USF Sarasota-Manatee applicants and students. To obtain a NetID, specific personal and official information on the student is provided by the Student Information System and verified by the student; the student also creates a password that is known only by the student.  Jointly, the NetID and password identify the student and are used to create the secure USF NetID single sign-on login. The NetID Account website details the services and procedures related to the USF NetID.

USF Sarasota-Manatee relies on its secure login to verify that the student who enrolls in and receives credit for a distance education course/program is the same student who participates in and completes the course. Through the NetID Single Sign-On Webpage, distance education students register for their courses and access Canvas, the learning management system, for course materials and online exams. The ID and password system ensure that all students, including distance education students, are properly authenticated before using online systems, courses, and services.

USF Policy 10-066, Identity Verification of Distance Education Students, establishes the methodologies for verifying the identity of students in distance education courses; that is, instructional faculty and administrators must use one or more methodologies approved by the USF System, such as a secure login and pass code or proctored examination. The policy also establishes a review and approval process for implementing additional technologies or practices that are best suited to the needs of USF Sarasota-Manatee’s colleges.

USF Sarasota-Manatee has established three strategies for proctoring the exams taken by distance education students:

  1. For the most part, exams are proctored in-person by faculty in the colleges.
  2. Staff in USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Academic Affairs provides proctoring of exams in collaboration with the  USF System Testing Services for faculty who choose to use this service. Students also use this service, with approval by the instructors, when their schedules conflict with the established exam schedule.
  3. Under unusual circumstances, Academic Affairs in collaboration with USF Testing Services arranges proctoring at offsite testing centers. Test-takers verify their identity by producing a valid photo ID.

Additional information on distance learning programs is provided in Comprehensive Standard 3.13.4a (Policy Compliance).


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