CEC Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Yair Levy

Committee Member

Nathan L Clarke

Committee Member

Eric S Ackerman

Abstract

E-learning has grown to such an extent that paper-based testing is being replaced by computer-based testing otherwise known as e-exams. Because these e-exams can be delivered outside of the traditional proctored environment, additional authentication measures must be employed in order to offer similar authentication assurance as found in proctored, paper-based testing.

This dissertation addressed the need for valid authentication in e-learning systems, in e-examinations in particular, and especially in professional certification e-examinations. Furthermore, this dissertation proposed a more robust method for learner authentication during e-examination taking. Finally, this dissertation extended e-learning research by comparing e-examination scores and durations of three separate groups of exam takers using different authentication methods: Online Using Username/Password (OLUP), In-Testing Center (ITC), and Online with Multibiometrics (OLMB) to better understand the role as well as the possible effect of continuous and dynamic multibiometric authentication on professional certification e-examination scores and durations.

The sample used in this study was based on participants who were all professional members of a technology professional certification organization. The methodology used to collect data was a posttest only, multiple, non-equivalent groups quasi-experiment, where age, gender, and Information Technology Proficiency (ITP) were also recorded. The analyses performed in this study included pre-analysis data screening, reliability analyses for each instrument used, and the main analysis to address each hypothesis. Group affiliation, i.e. type of authentication methods, was found to have no significant effect on differences among exam scores and durations. While there was a clear path of increased mean e-examination score as authentication method was relaxed, it was evident from the analysis that these were not significant differences. Age was found to have a significant effect on exam scores where younger participants were found to have higher exam scores and lower exam durations than older participants. Gender was not found to have a significant effect on exam scores nor durations. ITP was found to have a significant effect on exam scores and durations where greater scores with the ITP instrument indicated greater exam scores and lower exam durations. This study's results can help organizations better understand the role, possible effect, and potential application of continuous and dynamic multibiometric authentication as a justifiable approach when compared with the more common authentication approach of User Identifier (UID) and password, both in professional certification e-examinations as well as in an online environment.

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