MOOCs, Trust, and the Signature Track

Jade E. Davis, Adventures in Corporate Education, Feb 08, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Courser's signature track offers a way for students to verify their identity by taking a photo of themselves and displaying their government-issued ID on camera. Face-recognition technology matches the images. Thegovernment-issued ID information, we are told, is deleted (if you believe that, please look up 'Snowden' on Google). The point of the current criticism is that "the company described itself as a platform for hosting (learning content) and proprietary algorithm." Like Facebook. But more, as it is using biometrics - like faces, and typing patters - as identifiers. Yet "the trust we place in MOOCs arises not because monetary funds are being exchanged for a service; rather, the trust is formed by the associations with big named professors or universities." So there's a tension here - people know what they're getting (association with elite universities) but they don't know what they're paying (platforms that can detect who they are visually or by the way they type).

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