What is Single Sign-On?

With cellular networks covering a larger area of the globe, and wi-fi freely available in more restaurants, stores, and even public transit, people have grown accustomed to surfing the web anywhere at anytime. A thriving tablet and smartphone market means that people are accessing the Internet from a number of devices and are constantly changing between them throughout their daily lives. To address the user experience of switching between mobile devices, companies are implementing single sign-on, or the use of one authentication process to access multiple websites, in order to make the user experience seamless. It's now possible, for instance, to register with website that has never been visited before simply by signing-in with one's Facebook or Google credentials. With less effort put toward recalling and re-entering passwords for multiple websites, users can navigate the web with greater ease and accessibility.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

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1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Ethically, I still feel uncomfortable requiring students to create accounts for online applications, despite wanting to utilize the technology in my classroom. I choose a few that I think are of most value and stop and that. A Single Sign On would make me feel more comfortable integrating technology that requires an account. It would obviously save time and I would quickly develop a list of online applications that students would access in the classroom, feeling comfortable a simple click is all that would be needed. [- matthew.worwood matthew.worwood Oct 17, 2013] Though, in doing this through sso, students become more trackable which can be both a good and bad thing.- alanwolf alanwolf Oct 22, 2013
  • Google moves in this direction. With Google docs, Google Plus, Google Party, Google apps, etc., this all-in-one platform allows the learner to flow between assignments/applications with ease. Otherwise, it is from Skype to email to specific apps to Word documents...and this takes time and the different platforms confuses the learner. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Oct 21, 2013
  • this is a great example of the Control v Innovation model. Institutions are still focusing in on SSO to their own systems and resources they have access to from publishers etc. However we must not overlook the frustrations from learners where they are using 3rd party / cloud solutions (with some being facilitated / signposted by academic staff). The lack of SSO is a barrier to inclusive, seamless education. This obviously can have impact on learner analytics as institutions attempt to track all learning activity so perhaps an investigation into Institutional SSO and OpenID is required - neil.witt neil.witt Oct 26, 2013 I comfortable with students accessing whatever technology they think is most valuable for a given project. I like delivering the content via online technology. I hate paper! It would be great if I could have students access the material, discussions, assignments and assessments via Tumblr, Facebook, Google and Twitter with one single sign on at the beginning of the semester [- matthew.worwood matthew.worwood Oct 27, 2013].

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • SSO also represents a single point of failure both on the infrastructure side (I just needed to reset my Educause login from InCommon federated login to site specific login because on ongoing issues) and a security issue if someone other than the owner of a credential gains control. It requires additional user education as to the ramifications.- alanwolf alanwolf Oct 22, 2013 Good point. Hopefully as the technology advances this will become less of an issue [- matthew.worwood matthew.worwood Oct 27, 2013]
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

  • The utilization of more technology in the classroom. Students seamlessly moving from one application to another. I envision more institutions incorporating single sign ons that would not only allow easy access to thousands of journals but also software that can be accessed in or outside the classroom. Obviously a challenge would be forgery but I think the pros far out way the cons. [- matthew.worwood matthew.worwood Oct 17, 2013]
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Have a look at: https://www.nemid.nu/dk-en/. I take it, it's nothing special to Denmark, but it is indeed a good tool for accessing various websites; in DK, beside LMS's at the universities, public websites (state, community),. banks, insurance companies, etc.etc. - ole ole Oct 7, 2013 Thanks for sharing, I look forward to seeing esignture take off [- matthew.worwood matthew.worwood Oct 17, 2013]
  • In US highered and research InCommon - alanwolf alanwolf Oct 22, 2013
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