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Identity Networks

Most students enter education provider’s spaces with formed online identity. Through blogging, podcasting, community, MySpace, Facebook, etc., they have formed their online identity. When they enter higher education, we prompty provide them with a new identity – one that we control and is not linked to the outside internet world (i.e. stored in an LMS or CMS). While it appears to be the “safe way” to go, it splices the real student from the student attending a college. Cross-institution studies, informal learning (in the form of a portfolio, and other online activities are kept in separate containers. For education, an identity system should be one that allows users not only to authenticate, but to bring the content of their learning activities into a space each individual controls. In this regard, I find portfolios to be of greater value than a simple ID system. I know the ID systems are important so we can comment, connect, and share on different blogs and forums (in addition to the obvious value of authentication). From my perspective, the ID system is a part of the larger value of portfolio and how we project our accomplishments and thoughts to others. Identity Networks: “What distinguishes these systems from other identity systems is that they are networks rather than federations. The difference is [crucial]. In a network, there does not need to exist a trust relation between one member and another – they operate at arm’s length. This means there’s no real process required to ‘join’ the network – you install the right code, get people to use it, and you’re in.”