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#SWaNI – SWANI – Secure Work based learning Administration through Networked Infrastructure

March 25, 2011 by Robin Englebright   

How can you prove who you are?

Well for years people have used signatures. The problem with that in a digital age is that it’s fantastically easy to copy things, including signatures.

A quick google search for “signatures” gives over 20 million hits



If I use the excellent Xpert attribution service [] I can even find a rights cleared image of a signature, which has profound implications.

It’s these sort of issues that make some people unwilling to accept any form of signature that isn’t on paper. This is particularly true when it comes to money related issues, or other high stakes areas, such as assessment.


CETIS define an Electronic signature as a signature in digital form carrying legal authority, and differentiate it from a Digital signature, which they define as a cryptographic method that enables the recipient of a document to determine the sender, and whether its contents have been altered since it was signed.

They have been working on technical issues around the HEAR, Higher Education Achievement Record, which will only become more important as the cost of participating in Higher Education becomes more expensive.

The SWANI project at Coleg Sir Gar is also looking at electronics signatures, which have the capacity to transform the speed and efficiency of a great range of college activities. Their proposal is to build an alternative admin system and use it to provide a clear use case and cost benefit analysis which can be used as the basis of discussions with funders like WAG towards the acceptance of electronic signatures.

Details of the project will be up on the JISC website by the end of the month.


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