An institution that offers distance or correspondence education documents each of the following

4.8.1  Demonstrates that the student who registers in a distance or correspondence education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program and receives the credit by verifying the identity of a student who participates in class or coursework by using, at the option of the institution, methods such as (a) a secure login and pass code, (b) proctored examinations, or (c) new or other technologies and practices that are effective in verifying student identification.

Compliance Judgment:  In compliance


East Carolina University (hereafter, ECU or the institution) utilizes a web-based authentication system to determine that the student registered in a distance education course is the student who participates in, completes, and receives credit for the course. The authentication system requires that the student securely log on to ECU's network using a unique user identification (Pirate ID) and with a unique and user-determined passphrase.

Upon admission, new students receive one communication with both their PirateID username and ECU ID number.  Once received, new users log in to the PirateID (PID) auto-registration system and follow the step-by-step screens to activate their PirateID account, create a unique passphrase and set up their authentication questions.  Once activated, users will be able to check ECU e-mail and access ECU’s various online systems such as OneStop and Blackboard.

ECU’s Password Expiration Policy states that students are required to have a strong passphrase that is resistant to “hacking,” and they must reset their passphrase every 90 days and not reuse the account’s previous six passphrases. Students are notified via e-mail or system messaging at least three times in the two weeks prior to expiration.  When students use their PirateID and passphrase to access information through OneStop and ECU's learning management system, Blackboard, their login credentials are encrypted for additional security.

Distance education students must verify their identity with the ID and password to participate in electronic systems at ECU. The delivery of instruction, group activities, individual student materials from faculty and assessment activities require every student to login into the university learning platform (Blackboard) and other systems using their unique secure passphrase.

Faculty may choose to include proctored exams in their courses. DE students in the College of Business, College of Nursing, and College of Human Ecology are required to utilize proctored examinations. To support this effort ECU played a leadership role in the establishment of a state-wide proctoring network. A Distance Education Proctoring Center is available to students enrolled in DE courses at East Carolina University and all other universities within the University North Carolina system.  This site serves distance education students who need to take exams and faculty members who need to setup proctored exams for their Distance Education courses.  This service provides verification of student identify in assessment and evaluation.

Through secure logins and pass codes and the widespread use of proctored examinations, East Carolina University verifies the identity of the student who registers in a distance education course or program.



Reference Title


Distance Education Proctoring Center

DE Proctoring Center


Passphrase Resources

Password Expiration Policy

Password Expiration Policy

PirateID (PID) Auto-Registration System

Passphrase Maintenance - Login

Statewide Proctoring Network

Statewide Proctoring Network