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Shibboleth Integration

Shibboleth: Authentication and Rosters Made Simple and Secure

When you want to share secured online services or access restricted digital content, the Shibboleth system offers a powerful, scalable, and easy-to-use solution. It leverages campus identity and access management infrastructures to authenticate individuals and then sends information about them to the resource site, enabling the resource provider to make an informed authorization decision.

For example, when a student requests access to WebAssign, her home organization requests her to authenticate (if she has not done so already) and then passes on the information that she is enrolled in Biology 562 to the site housing WebAssign. WebAssign uses the fact that she is enrolled in this course to determine her eligibility to access homework.

WebAssign is an early adopter of Shibboleth, being one of the first commercial services to implement Shibboleth and a charter member of the InCommon Federation.

Overview

Shibboleth, created by Internet2, is open-source middleware designed to allow access to protected resources, such as WebAssign, based on credentials provided by your institution. When Shibboleth is configured and deployed at your institution, WebAssign can direct login queries directly to your servers. This means that your account information never leaves your network, enhancing security while providing WebAssign with up-to-date student enrollment status. In addition, Shibboleth allows automatic roster creation and synchronization for your WebAssign classes, saving your instructors time and effort. Currently, Penn State, Ohio State, and University of Virginia are using Shibboleth for students and faculty who log into WebAssign. To find out how to implement this free solution, please ask your IT staff to contact WebAssign.

Authentication

If Shibboleth is deployed and configured at your site, WebAssign can direct login queries to your servers. This means that your password never leaves your network, enhancing security.

Class Rosters

In addition, when properly configured and linked to your registration and records servers, Shibboleth can allow automatic roster creation for your WebAssign classes, saving your instructors time.

Federations

Federations allow higher education institutions to share information and resources between themselves and their business partners in a trusted, standardized fashion that protects privacy, respects copyright, and fosters collaboration and innovation. Trust decisions between participants can be made based on information about users shared in a standardized format. Several federations are supporting the Shibboleth middleware.

Interested in learning more?

Check out the home page of the Shibboleth project.

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