What is Single Sign-On?

With cellular networks covering a larger area of the globe, and wi-fi freely available in more restaurants, stores, and even public transit, people have grown accustomed to surfing the web anywhere at anytime. A thriving tablet and smartphone market means that people are accessing the Internet from a number of devices and are constantly changing between them throughout their daily lives. To address the user experience of switching between mobile devices, companies are implementing single sign-on, or the use of one authentication process to access multiple websites, in order to make the user experience seamless. It's now possible, for instance, to register with website that has never been visited before simply by signing-in with one's Facebook or Google credentials. With less effort put toward recalling and re-entering passwords for multiple websites, users can navigate the web with greater ease and accessibility.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Feb 8, 2012

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • - rnidhubhda rnidhubhda Feb 5, 2015 this would be extremely useful for task-based activities, such as a design or publishing activity, where students would need to navigate between multiple applications and devices in order to create a finished product.
  • Our single biggest problem with staff/students is getting them 'on the system' whereby they can't remember their passwords from academic year, to year and then if they change their passwords, equally, it causes problems. Of course, they always know their Google or Facebook password. We have implemented a password manager system (http://www.mie.ie/password) and still, there are problems. I think having students sign in from other sources (SSO) would remove the 'perceived ease of use' of college systems and ensure time wasn't wasted in IT departments, re-enabling students' accounts.- Alison.Egan Alison.Egan Feb 12, 2015 - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 14, 2015
  • - Larry.McNutt Larry.McNutt Feb 15, 2015
    Another balance to be struck between frustration and security.
    Password recovery requests are frustrating and expensive to support - self service has minimized the demand.

    Also using Moodle as a "One Stop Shop Hub" for all resources for students e.g. SUCCEED resources, handbook, password recovery system, ITB Library, ITB Student Hub, email, calendar, academic timetable, ITB Social Media channels etc...

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • An easy way for education to sign up to SSO without having to allow all information be held by Google (and indeed Facebook) - Privacy issues might be an ongoing concern.- Alison.Egan Alison.Egan Feb 12, 2015 Totally agree as the privacy of individuals has to be maintained at all costs - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 14, 2015
  • - Larry.McNutt Larry.McNutt Feb 15, 2015One theme that is emerging is the growing demand for IT services across all aspects of campus life and the need for SSO is symptomatic of this. Accepting the critical issues raised about privacy and security - there is tipping point - when should a HEI's IT infrastructure be outsourced?
  • I think that many institutions have probably been making use of SSO (in some shape or form) for a while now in terms of authenticating against directories such as LDAP or AD for numerous services (e.g. VLE, email, library, etc.). However there is a difference between logging in to (for example) five different services five different times using the same U/P details, and logging in once through a centralised portal/login page which then authenticates to all of these services and activates them for the user. This latter view of SSO makes for a more seamless user experience and creates better opportunities for integration between these various services, etc. - enda.donlon enda.donlon Feb 22, 2015

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on third-level education in Ireland?

  • It will remove barriers to 'getting on' and ensure less time is spent making sure students are accessing various VLE, email and other systems - and concentrate on what they enjoy using - the SSO would mean they don't differentiate between 'college' systems and personal use of technologies.- Alison.Egan Alison.Egan Feb 12, 2015 - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 14, 2015
  • - Larry.McNutt Larry.McNutt Feb 15, 2015On a multisite campus environment - SSO will be an essential component in providing a seamlesss experience for all learners independent of their physical campus.

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Recently we implemented SSO from Moodle to Mahara for an ePorfolio project with students - during the pilot phase, barriers to use included password problems. This year, having implemented SSO, the password issue was entirely removed and students could concentrate on using the ePortfolios - forthcoming paper at SITE Conference, 2015 - Alison.Egan Alison.Egan Feb 12, 2015
  • The Eduroam service (https://www.eduroam.org/) is an excellent example of an SSO initiative where one's username/password (held securely by their own host institution) can be used to access wifi in other HEIs across the globe. I have enjoyed access to this in numerous institutions within Ireland and other countries. - enda.donlon enda.donlon Feb 22, 2015
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