Digital Fingerprinting in Online Education

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 0 Flares ×
Trendy Student on Laptop - Ashford University

Is it possible to increase online education’s credibility while decreasing academic dishonesty? If so, we are a step closer to the future. The idea of digital fingerprinting (DF) is that upon enrollment in an online university, students purchase fingerprinting technology installed on a school-designated computer. This technology helps the university maintain proper identification of the students. And the pundits believe that if students have such technology it will help to reduce online cheating, an area where they believe that students may have others completing their assignments.

Academic dishonesty (AD) has been around for decades in several settings, ranging from traditional campuses to online classrooms. Howell (2010) pointed out the need for concern, as there has been a noticeable increase in AD over the last few decades. It is highlighted that in 1961 academic cheating was just over 25%, and by 1991, this percentage doubled to approximately 50%. This increase was noted particularly in the case of students copying from other students’ exams (Howell, 2010). AD is a common trend in the online environment where students are presenting other people’s work as their own research (intentionally or unintentionally). The idea of DF is to reduce AD by implementing a system that holds students accountable for their online education through protocols of secure identification upon login.

This technology has already been implemented at several universities and appears to be successful. Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee is one such university that has adopted this technology for both their graduate and some undergraduate students who desire an online education. At Vanderbilt, Coursework Authoring Packaging Environment (CAPE) and experimental Learning Management System (eLMS) are systems that provide a collaboration of coursework requirements, students’ outcome requirements, students’ input, and educators’ reflection in building their specialized technology to meet the needs of their organization. Additionally, Vanderbilt University’s “eLMS provides a sophisticated versioned content management system based on ‘digital fingerprinting’ of resources and the associations of content versions with versions of learning designs” (Vanderbilt, 2008). These high-tech elements sound amazing, but how can it be implemented cost-effectively in other schools that offer online courses?

Albeit, we can say that the future of online universities looks very promising, as the need to repudiate and validate data ensuring that students are getting quality education is eminent. Software development companies are now including extended forms of data repudiation software to both heighten users’ security and confidentiality.

Written By: Dr. Cynthia Brown Davis
Dr. Cynthia Brown Davis is an Assistant Professor in the College of Health, Human Services, and Science at Ashford University. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Human Services with a Health Care Administration specialization from Capella University, and an MBA as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from American InterContinental University. She has spent over a decade in leadership roles in health care, hospitality and tourism, education, and information technology, creating and facilitating several training courses in both online and ground platforms. “My goal is to create diversity in and access to education. I believe that diversity acceptance builds intelligence and enhances students’ critical thinking skills.”

Howell, S. (2010). The new (and old) ways students cheat: What can we do about it? Retrieved from,10_MagnaSeminar.pdf Vanderbilt. (2008). The Courseware Authoring and Packaging Environment (CAPE) and experimental Learning Management System (eLMS). Retrieved from

Popular Posts

  • Top 7 Reasons Why You Should Pursue Your MBA If you’re a college graduate, returning to school for your Master of Business Administration (MBA) might not appeal to you. After all, you’ve already spent four years on your Bachelor’s degree. Wh. . . November 24, 2014
  • Best Courses to Become More Marketable Most universities are composed of typical colleges such as the College of Health Care Studies, Business, Education, and Liberal Arts. Within these colleges are various majors a student can choose,. . . September 17, 2013
  • 5 Tips for Transferring Credits One of the best ways to accelerate your graduation day is to transfer credits. But many students find the transfer process very long and complicated. It doesn’t have to be so scary. Here are five . . . November 14, 2013
  • Explore Exciting Jobs in Healthcare You love to help people. You are interested in the science of the human body. And you believe in the value of a healthy lifestyle. If these traits describe you, then you ought to consider a career i. . . March 12, 2014
  • Business School Accreditation — What’s the Difference? When searching for a business school, you may notice that some business programs are accredited by different organizations with acronyms like AACSB, IACBE, and ACBSP. It’s easy to get lost in an alpha. . . May 23, 2014
  • Words of Advice for Graduates One of my favorite times of the year is commencement. I always enjoy seeing students walk across the stage to celebrate their achievement. When students get close to graduation, you can sense their en. . . March 10, 2014
  • 5 Great Education Documentaries The documentary is an underrated genre in the film industry, often described as one for those who are so “crazy” about a topic, they have to make a film about it. However, some of these “crazy” peop. . . July 12, 2013
  • Choose a Relevant Degree Business, English, Law – these are perennial subjects for degree programs, and they’ve stood the test of time. When students enroll in these programs, they already have some idea of what they’ll stu. . . February 5, 2014
  • The Five Toughest Interview Questions Job interviews are nerve wracking for just about anyone, whether you are a seasoned professional or a recent college graduate. The key to calming those nerves is preparation and practice. Prepare for . . . August 30, 2013
  • Advanced Degrees: Which Fields Provide the Highest Paying Jobs? Every spring it’s in the news: colleges are raising tuition. Higher tuition means students will be carrying a larger debt into the workforce, which cuts into their income. Choosing the right field o. . . September 9, 2013
  • Constitution Day 2015 On September 17, 1787, the last of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution. Thanks to the dedication of a woman […]September 17, 2015
  • Diversity Is More Than a Buzzword Having emerged as a central theme for society, business, and higher education, the word ‘diversity’ might invoke a picture of men and women […]July 1, 2015
  • LGBT Pride Month June is National LGBT Pride Month, a time to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. This month, we spoke with Richard […]June 12, 2015
  • National Mental Health Awareness Month May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, a time when we recognize how mental health impacts our families, our communities, and ourselves. While […]May 12, 2015
  • Celebrate Earth Day Ashford University is proud to call San Diego home, and one of the ways that we give back to our community is by […]April 3, 2015
  • Discussing Intimate Partner Violence This month the Promoting Access and Wellness in Students (PAWS) feature is on an issue that has recently garnered national attention, intimate partner […]March 5, 2015
  • Ebola: An epidemiologist’s experience in Sierra Leone Most of us have seen the news and understand the devastation that has come from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. But, one […]February 25, 2015
  • Unique Business Leaders When you think of a successful business owner, you might imagine a serious person who dresses professionally every day, but that doesn’t have […]February 12, 2015
  • Black History Month – Promoting Access and Wellness in Students February is Black History Month, and the monthly feature of Promoting Access and Wellness in Students (PAWS) is the video below that features […]February 10, 2015
  • New Year = New You The New Year marks a time of change, a time when we can make a fresh start, a time when we might step […]January 5, 2015
Tags: , ,

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 4.20 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...