/ Computing and Information Technology

Student Identity Verification in Distance Learning Process

Hope College ("College") updated this Student Identity Verification in Distance Learning Process ("Process") in March, 2022 to confirm that a student who is registered for an online course is the same student who academically engages in the course. This process was reviewed in March 2023.


Hope College has established the Process in compliance with the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations 602.17(g), concerning the verification of student identity in distance learning and 602.17(h), concerning the protection of student privacy and notification to students of any additional, associated student charges.


Hope College provides each student with a student ID number, email address, username, and initial passwords for secure access to College systems, including the College’s learning management system, Moodle. New students receive their personal student ID number, email address, username, and initial passwords after admission through the College’s Admissions system.  Initial identity verification is done via comparison of government-issued ID card to admitted student information by a college employee.

Students are responsible for providing their complete and true identity information in any identification verification process. It is against the College’s Technology Usage Policy for a user to give someone his or her password or to allow others to use his or her account. For student e-mail and Moodle accounts, a Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) protocol and complex passwords are used to enhance security.  IT staff monitor fraud analytics from the college’s MFA identity management tool to investigate anomalies, suspicious activity, or inconsistent usage patterns in student accounts.

The College uses Moodle as its learning management system. Moodle integrates with College authentication services to ensure appropriate and secure student access to courses and other student information systems via the student’s College username. All users of the College’s learning management system are responsible for maintaining the security of their username 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. 

The Moodle learning management system also provides student photos associated with their account and this is visible to the instructor in various areas of the course. As technology and personal accountability are not absolute in determining a student’s identity, faculty members are encouraged to use these technologies and to design courses that use assignments and evaluations that support academic integrity.

Personally identifiable information (Confidential) collected by the College is used, at the discretion of the institution, as the basis for identity verification. For instance, a student calling to request that their College email/username password be reset is asked to provide two or more pieces of information for comparison with data on file or to come to the Computing and Information Technology office in person with their College issued photo ID for verification.

Users are held responsible for knowledge of the information contained within the most recent College catalog as well as the Student Handbook. Failure to read College guidelines, requirements, and regulations will not exempt users from responsibility.

At this time, there are no additional student fees associated with student verification. If any fees associated with the verification of student identity will be charged to students, it will be posted on the course registration site to provide an advance alert to students.

Hope College complies fully with the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This act protects the privacy of the student information in distance education by requiring, with certain limited exceptions, that the student’s consent must be obtained before disclosing any personally identifiable information in the student’s education records.

Oversight of the Process

Responsibility for developing, implementing and updating the Process lies with the Provost’s Office. The Provost’s Office will work with other offices to provide appropriate training of College's staff on the Process.

Updating the Process

The Process will be periodically reviewed and updated to reflect improvements by the College for verifying identity. At least once per year in March, the Provost’s Office will work with Computing and Information Technology to consider the College's experiences with possible fraudulent participation in online courses. After considering these factors, they will determine ways to mitigate future activity of this nature and if warranted, update the Process.