F.D. Guillén-Gámez, I. García-Magariño

Open University of Madrid (UDIMA) (SPAIN)
Thanks to the potential benefits of new information and communication technologies, they are increasingly gaining popularity in educational settings, in online education above all. Due to this, the increasing demand of the online education sector is facing new aspects that need to be solved to make online training as reliable as face-to-face learning. One of the critical issues is to consider the possibility that the students would perform the continuous evaluation and learning activities avoiding cheating by identity impersonation.

For this purpose, this work has experienced the automatic face recognition by means of a biometric system through the learning environment system, in order to guarantee that students are performing the activities without being impersonated. In particular, this paper presents an analysis of students’ perceptions about being recognized with face authentication through their webcams in relation to their age.

The objective of the investigation is to include a biometric authentication technology (based on facial verification) into a Moodle virtual classroom of the Master in Education and New Technologies of the Open University of Madrid. Nevertheless, the main possible downside of including this technology of facial authentication in a distance university is that the students may feel extravagantly monitored and spied and, consequently, discouraged to continue learning and studying at the same university. For this reason, this pilot experience analyzes their perception, in order to forecast their reaction if applied to most of the students of our university.

This analysis has been performed by means of a questionnaire of 10 questions answered by 60 students divided by age groups. In this work, the results show the acceptance of facial authentication as a technique to improve distance education. In particular, it is worth mentioning that students aged between 30 and 40 years old were the ones that better perceived the fact of including facial authentication in their distance learning process. On the contrary, the group of learners above 40 years old was the one that least accepted this new technology. This analysis allows distance universities to know how progressively they can include facial authentication according to the average age of their students.