Bienkowski, M. and Klo, J. 2011. Identity in the Federal Learning Registry. Position Paper for W3C Workshop on Identity in the Browser (Mountain View, CA, USA, May 24 – 25, 2011).
Open and commercial education resources are migrating to many digital platforms as computing takes on new forms and as learning becomes more self-directed and reliant on digital and internet-based systems. Users, we believe, will expect to interact not only cognitively with these resources but also to interact socially around these resources using the Web. Acknowledging this trend, development is underway on a service called the Federal Learning Registry, a simple and inexpensive system for distributing information about learning resources and their use (learningregistry.org/). The Learning Registry helps alleviate the problem of disparate standards for describing resources by changing the business model for suppliers from hand-curation of descriptive data (the “library model”) to tapping data streams from social networks and learning management systems (among others) to locate and identify resources (the “recommender model”). The Learning Registry will expose many resources, sharing information about their usage and enabling filtering to locate relevant ones.
The Learning Registry concept is predicated on a model of sharing that assumes varying levels of trust and privacy, and we believe we can thereby contribute a unique perspective on the requirements for trustworthy and reputable digital identity management. Information placed in the Learning Registry must come from reputable sources for it to be of value. Information about usage, ratings and the like may be more honestly expressed within small communities of educators yet placed in the Learning Registry in a way that is both trusted and ensures the privacy of the educators. In the remainder of this position paper, we expand upon our problem and possible solutions, responding to the workshop organizer’s call for papers on “…use-cases and requirements from enterprise, online banking, government, health, business, regulatory bodies, and activist groups.”