Sunday, September 13, 2009

OpenID For Higher Education Web Sites

The OpenID logoImage via Wikipedia
This past week we learned that the United States Government will run a pilot program using OpenID. The press release reveals the ten industry leaders as Yahoo!, PayPal, Google, Equifax, AOL, VeriSign, Acxiom, Citi, Privo, and Wave Systems. "This open identity initiative is a key step in President Obama’s memorandum to make it easy for individuals to register and participate in government websites — without having to create new usernames and passwords. Additionally, members of the public will be able to fully control how much or how little personal information they share with the government at all times."

As one who works for a state-funded institution, this new information is enough to spur conversations on our very own practices. At North Carolina Central University, we have recently launched prospective student and alumni portals. In both cases, visitors create accounts in order to access personalized tools and resources. Creating accounts requires the completion of a short registration form.

In the past, Web Services considered using Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect as creative ways to simplify the account creation process. At the time of this entry, the team has successfully implemented Facebook Connect but has not released it into production. With the U.S. Government's continued support of Web 2.0, I see OpenID as a noteworthy option for higher education web sites. Assuming the pilot program goes well, this adoption of identity management may soon unleash a race to implement across the country. Maybe now is a good time to begin testing OpenID for your institution as well.

Until next time...

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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