Sunday, March 8, 2009

Regarding Authentication

Astute readers will be thinking how LCD heroics might describe their latest testing experience, in terms of what feats of memory, of problem solving, were called upon.

Yet in a coffee shop ambience we seek more recreational learning, akin to a museum or specialty gift shop; these teach a lot about a culture, especially if geared for tourists, such as at the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, or Oregon Coast.

Those pointing out that ETS is still in the dark ages, whereas more colleges could be working in cahoots with the private sector, turning out any number of superior learning experiences, get CSN tokens for having visionary powers. Congratulations!

Even creaky old ETS might get back in the game, once it realizes the demographic potential. Like, who can blame private vendors for wanting a piece of the action. Tying point of sale events to customer identities (even masked, so long as the data is real) is the holy grail of niche marketing, and here we're establishing a collusive relationship between our paying customers and the very vendors who "spy" upon them. Vendor to customer: "we're in this together, in support of worthy causes, creating our track records, building our histories".

Given the relatively relaxed atmosphere at your average coffee shop, if junior wants to perform a miracle and snag a big bonus for a worthy cause, then turn around and credit that score to a friend or relative, that's not a problem. The software might have ways of "crediting to" (a kind of flag) but in general we're not so concerned about "cheating", don't bend over backwards to "verify identity" at every turn.

People know going in that our chaordic network is on average somewhat rough and tumble, a mirror for other "game playing" that might be more verified and button down (games for money, academic credit, other cred). Facebook provides a good analogy. You have the ability to wipe clean and start over, or tend multiple aliases.

On the other hand, some tucked away shop in an Alaskan fishing community, attended by regulars, might settle into semi-strict patterns, with identities kept intact over the long haul. These behaviors emerge organically. Back office programming is not the determining factor. Shops develop in their own way without a lot of top-down supervision.

Schools running the same or similar games and/or simulations motivate more practice in a friendly self schooling atmosphere, with more controlled testing environments implemented in these other venues. Stricter authentication tests will then apply.