Options for verifying student identity in online classes

Regulation and standards

All online courses offered by the University of Nevada, Reno must include at least one assessment that meets Federal Regulation §602.17 and NWCCU Accreditation Standard 2.G.7:

Federal Regulation §602.17: Application of Standards in Reaching Accreditation Decisions requires that all public universities have processes in place through which the institution establishes that a student who registers in any course offered via distance education or correspondence is the same student who academically engages in the course or program; and makes clear in writing that institutions must use processes that protect student privacy and notify students of any projected additional student charges associated with the verification of student identity at the time of registration or enrollment. Please see the Electronic Code Federal Regulations for more information.

Accreditation standard 2.D.14: “The institution maintains an effective identity verification process for students enrolled in distance education courses and programs to establish that the student enrolled in the distance education course or program is the same person whose achievements are evaluated and credentialed. The institution ensures the identity verification process for distance education students protects student privacy and that students are informed, in writing at the time of enrollment, of current and projected charges associated with the identity verification process.”

What’s required for compliance?

One proctored/supervised exam or experience per course where students are required to present photo identification upon signing in for the proctored experience or test. This system allows the instructor to know that the student mastering the material is the same student receiving credit for the course. Please see the Office of the Provost’s Student Identity Verification for Online Classes page for more information.

Proctored exams/experiences

Please see the Proctoring Tests Online webpage for more information.

Alternatives to proctored exams


Presentations give students the opportunity to display knowledge gained in the course and present that information to their classmates. This serves the dual purpose of giving students in-depth knowledge on the topic they present on and giving the entire class a “fresh” presentation of material (in other words, lecture material does not only have to come from the instructor). Instructors should check student identity by verifying IDs in a one-on-one online meeting prior to the presentation. This is especially important in an online environment, where a student should only be required to present identification directly to the instructor and not in a setting where classmates can see private information.

Options include:

For more information, see our Student Resources for Using Video in WebCampus webpage.

Individual or small group interviews

Individual or small group interviews between students and instructors/teaching assistants provide the opportunity to truly test a student’s understanding of the course materials. Instructors could also spot-check that the interviewed students have complete knowledge of their own work from throughout the term, ensuring that the students have actually completed all work that was turned in. This method requires students to present information and “think on their feet” to answer questions in real time.

Instructors can interview students using private sessions on Zoom. In these sessions, both the instructor and student can have video broadcast of each other, view and use an interactive whiteboard, and access uploaded documents. Instructors should check student identity by verifying IDs at the beginning of the session.

Proctored written assignments

Many instructors require end-of-term projects or major writing assignments instead of final exams. This can translate into a proctored setting easily. Depending on the size and nature of the end-of-term project, it could either be completed entirely within a proctored setting (as in the case of an essay) or partially within a proctored setting. For example, while students may do most of the work on a larger project on their own, they could complete a supplementary written assignment related to that major work under proctored conditions.

Proctored written assignments require that students have an intimate knowledge of the course materials, the major work completed (if applicable), and what the course aimed to achieve.

Options include:

Important considerations

  • To protect student privacy, instructors should perform identity checks one on one and not in front of other students.
  • If special equipment is required (webcam, speakers, etc.), this information must be published in MyNEVADA as well as in the syllabus.
  • If students are required to be on campus at a certain time, this information must be published in MyNEVADA as well as in the syllabus.