This short video explains in a simple way “federated access management (FAM)” (aka single sign-on). The UK version is called “The UK Access Management Federation” and as a federations is based upon trust between institutions in the issuing and administering of accounts according to agreed protocols. Shiboleth is one such technology that makes all this possible.
Arguably the video negative in tone, it starts off by identifying the obvious problem of multiple, unconnected identities for different services but then plays the ‘fear card’ of reducing identity theft and unauthorised change of identity as being key advantages.
This point may well be correct, although arguably rather than relatively minor matter of having one identity stolen, it raises the possibility of someone being able to access a whole host of personal data on a wide range of services.
Many other countries such as NZ are also developing their own versions of FAM and ultimately a worldwide super federation could be envisaged.
I think there is a fundamental point to be made here about control and how such initiatives link to the Personal Learning Environment agenda. Authentication at any point in time is through the issuing institution which controls access that can be modified or removed totally as the institution wishes. Attributes (e.g., learner, teacher, course registration, etc.) define an identities permission to share particular resources.
Within the federation, information about a user is only held at the institution/organisation to which the user is affiliated. Presumably, this “single central point of identity management” could hold an educational career from primary school through to PhD level study providing all institutions were affiliated to the federation.
So what happens when I am no longer affiliated to an institution, presumably no more access to my e-portfolio, assessments, learning resources, etc. Surely this can’t be what the Dfes, Becat, Jisc really want of the “The UK Access Management Federation”?
At the weekend I was back in my home village of Gowdall, Yorkshire. I was reminded of this this local phrase that I used to hear the old timers use when I was a kid ‘come fra together‘. It is used to describe something is no longer working or broken, etc. Literally ‘ come from together’ or a phrase we might use in a more limited sense today ‘come apart’.
Come fra together is Brilliantly simple and descriptive, I intend to start slipping it into conversations where I can so as to help preserve it into the future:^)
For those of us who couldn’t face the prospect of installing X11 as a requirement for running OpenOffice on your Mac OS X, NeoOffice has produced a viable alternative (in my opinion) to Microsft for word processing and possibly spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing programs, but I haven’t tried these yet.
A nice clean interface with as many features as I can cope with. Have a go!
last week I finally got my ALT certified member scheme. The process of gaining certification proved useful to me as it forced me to reflect on my work over the past 8 years in the field of learning technology.
I reflect on the application process below, but this is the bonkers bit. For some reason the certificate states “This certificate remains valid for 5 years from its date of issue”. This is mad. In 5 years time I am unlikely to have unlearned what I know today.
When I gained a degree qualification 20 years ago, there was no requirement to put myself through an assessment process ever 5 years to prove that I am still worthy of that qualification!
Granted, professions such as doctors have to demonstrate that they keep currency with developments through ongoing assessment. However, I hardly think that the two compare and wonder what thoughts ALT had when they decided on this course of action?
Applicants like myself are not necessarily an easy fit with the scheme, as my work focus has been more towards programme development using learning technology rather than the work that a learning technologist might undertake. This lead to some issues with assessment in particular the section on “Wider Context: Legislation, policies and standards” which I failed first time round!
I think that issues are arising because in order to be a viable scheme, ALT need to embrace a wider community and this will naturally challenge assessors view of what it means to be a certified member of ALT.