Digital learning identity

Issue #16 Digital Citizen

Frans Joakim Titulaer

Let’s all give a warm round of applause to Feide (Felles Elektronisk IDEntitet)! The student ID has no doubt served us well as a federated identity management system among the many education institutions and services that we all (the educated and educating alike) use everyday. It is almost a national pride, seeing how it extends from elementary school to the very top of higher education. The Telenor or Tine of our time. It is surely a tedious work to keep track of all usernames and passwords among numerous tiny little corners of the internet, so a federation is no bad idea indeed.

Now give a warm welcome to Feide 2.0! The future is now. The 2.0 offers us a ‘single-sign on’ system (SSO) that allows the user [will make it largely unnecessary] to log on anywhere in the education services using the same ID (authentication key) after having first logged on in any one of them. This means that the ‘ecosystem’ of services is able to match those of the Google suite and well crafted Microsoft cloud-environments. It also makes it possible to extend the number of services as education institutions, faculties, centers or persons can choose among add-ons. The experience will be hopefully seamless.

Now let’s simplify and expand this view of our near future. Feide 2.0 includes a service called ‘Dataporten’ that enables the creation and the access to groups and keeps track of the interactions of each individual. In other words, the 2.0 integrates the many benefits of social media, the original Web 2.0. It even allows you to connect with services like Facebook, Twitter, etc. so that activities can be shared across these platforms. You might very well ask whether this truly is a benefit, but what we are witnessing is the government moving into a field that up until now has been reserved for the ‘new democracies of the Internet’.

However, there is risk. A lot of it. Therefore you could say that the government approaches these technologies quite differently. Not readily willing to take on the same social cost, seeing that it also pays (a part of) the bill. Yet, there is also a sense of a threat posed by the disruptive effects of Big Data capital. Governments could soon find themselves competing with private actors to offer legitimate forms of certification. Within education the name of the game is learning analytics. It promises adaptive learning systems and early warning catered to the needs of the individual learner.