TRUSTID - Intelligent Student Identity Management

Motivation

Due to the new COVID-19 pandemic, most EU Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) adopted a fast transition towards a completely online academic, teaching and learning paradigm. However, this transition embraced severe challenges related to deploying trustworthy and credible ICT user identity management solutions. Continuous user identity management refers to an iterative process, throughout a users' session with a remote service, that confirms that the interaction between the user and the system is performed continuously by the same person who has initially logged in, and is therefore eligible to use remote services and computational resources. Unfortunately, nowadays, user identification in most online learning platforms that are distributed among HEIs is compromised only by the user login task. As such, it remains questionable whether the user who logged in, is in reality the one who attends or fulfills the educational activities.

From an academical and pedagogical perspective, being able to verify the student's identity continuously is mandatory within several online learning scenarios, like remote laboratories, exams and lectures, in order to address fraudulent behavior with regards to intentionally pretending someone's identity in order to unethically participate in academic activities. Such uncertainty put into risk the whole mission of HEIs, which is to assure that a certain individual has gained knowledge and competencies in order to acquire a profession. From another perspective, continuous student identification does not only improve credibility and trustworthiness of remote learning systems, but can also serve as a student presence awareness tool. Being able to perceive in a credible way who is attending in remote synchronous and asynchronous scenarios scaffolds and reproduces social situations that occur in the physical classroom like group attendance, presence awareness of classmates.

Vision

In TRUSTID, we envision to design, develop and evaluate a multi-tier continuous user identification framework, bootstrapped to HEIs' contexts that will consist of state-of-the-art intelligent image, voice and interaction data processing. The solution will embrace methods and tools that will be easy to integrate and modify by European HEIs through the provision of specific guidelines to system administrators and GNU open-source policies. The envisioned framework will address the needs of various HEIs stakeholders, such as, academic governance and administration, lecturers and curriculum developers, and national and international educational agencies, such as, national educational board and ministries of education. We also envision that this will be potentially of interest to educational technology providers and HEIs system administrators since the framework itself, along with the developed guides and best practices will provide evidence on how such a technology is used in modern practice.

Objectives

The concrete project objectives are:

  • to perform a literature review related to the analysis of current practices and procedures related to student identity management of EU HEIs and triangulate these findings with stakeholders' studies at the participating HEIs, which will drive the implementation of the framework
  • to design and develop an integrated framework for student identity management by utilizing privacy-preserving machine learning for face-, voice- and interaction-based continuous user identification techniques
  • to validate the solution through a User-Centered Design (UCD) methodology, through the design and execution of three user studies, two formative studies (during the software development process) and one summative (after the final release of the software)
  • to create a repository what will support knowledge building, demonstrate the technology through training webinars and best practices and guidelines to various HEIs stakeholders on how to assist the institutional, personal and technological transition towards a more sophisticated online student management solutions and technical integration guidelines (API) to systems administrators
  • to inform the target audiences and the stakeholders through a variety of dissemination and exploitation activities, i.e., research paper publications, dissemination events, showcases in HEIs and conferences, multiplier events and learning teaching training activities