Biometric Authentication Techniques in Online Learning Environments

Jack Curran, Kevin Curran

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The deployment of online e-learning can lead to many security risks, such as confidentiality loss, exposure of critical data, availability & destruction of publicly available information services. Security & proper authentication is critical in any online learning environment because any flaws can affect perceptions of its trustworthiness. Therefore, it is crucial to identify any underlying factors that lead to security issues in online learning and identify the limitations of security in place. Biometric authentication is increasingly being used in the newer generation of online learning environments for authentication of remote learners. Biometrics scan unique physiological characteristics in humans to identify people. These include fingerprints, iris, retina, voice, face, gait and odour. A biometric is more secure if it has multiple combinatorial possibilities. Biometrics based authentication provides a robust alternative to using passwords and pins. It validates the identity of users by measuring unique physiological and behavioural characteristics of individuals. Such a measure maximizes between-person random variations while at the same time minimizes within-person variability. In contrast with passwords and pins, a biometric identifier cannot be lost, forgotten or shared. One can choose from a large list that includes finger, face, retinal scan, iris, gait, vein infrared thermogram, hand geometry and palm print or from a combination of all these identifiers termed multimodal-biometrics. The biggest change in the workplace might be the rise of the mobile device as the device of choice for biometric reading. We now see that mobile devices are increasingly the mainstay of a person’s online activities. Most of the market dominating smartphones now have biometric readers or sensors already incorporated into the hardware. Biometrics will also have some impact on educational institutions with regards the need for additional hardware costs such as scanners. There are also extra costs needed for deployment, support and maintenance. It may also not be suitable for mass-consumer deployment. We look here at the state of biometric authentication techniques applicable to online learning environments and we provide a more in-depth examination of face and iris-based authentication systems for proper identification of learners.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiometric Authentication in Online Learning Environments
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jan 2019


  • security
  • biometric authentication
  • online autentication


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