Colleges try to verify online course attendance

Colleges are ramping up strategies to ensure that the student who gets the grade for taking an online course is the same person who does the homework and completes the exams, Florida Today reports. The impetus is a federal law, passed in 2008, requiring colleges that are eligible for federal student aid for online programs to take steps to discourage financial aid and academic fraud. Federal regulations require students to have secure logins and passwords for online course offerings, but industry experts expect more stringent standards to come. “We don’t know when and how, but they’re probably going to tighten up,” says David Richardson, CEO of Louisville, Ky.-based Learning House, founded in 2001 to help schools develop online degree programs and courses. … More than 6.7 million students took at least one online class in fall 2011, up about 9 percent from the previous fall, says an annual survey released in January by the Babson Survey Research Group.

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