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Handing Out Passwords

Handing Out Passwords

by Dan Margalit -
Number of replies: 3

Are there any suggestions for handing out passwords in large classes?

One option is to make it something obvious, like the same as their user name, or just to have it be "change" for everyone.

As far as I know, the only damage you can do by logging in as a classmate is:

1. Doing their homework. This isn't really a big deal unless a problem has a limited number of attempts.

2. Writing a nasty email to the professor in their name

Anything else? Is this obvious password approach not recommended?

Our IT staff has also suggested doing randomized passwords, and handing out a sheet of paper to each student.

The database that I have access to does not have much info: student name, email, advisor, phone number (although this is empty for some, and others might not know what their phone number is), that may be it...

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


In reply to Dan Margalit

Re: Handing Out Passwords

by Fred Sullivan -
Does your IT department maintain an ldap server (e.g. active directory) for email logins? It's not that hard to get webwork to authenticate against it, and then you never have to worry about passwords.
In reply to Dan Margalit

Re: Handing Out Passwords

by Jeff Denny -

At Mercer, all students have an university-generated id number. We use that id number as the userid (with NO dashes) and then have the password set to be the id number with dashes in SSN-like format (xxx-xx-xxx). All of the students have their id number on their id card and so even the freshmen can find their number easily.

I've tried using email addresses in the past to create user id's but found that Mercer's email naming system is just too cumbersome. (first.middle.last@student.mercer.edu -- can be long for some folks)

In reply to Jeff Denny

Re: Handing Out Passwords

by Murray Eisenberg -
Our system administrator standardized on our using as userid the part of students' e-mail address that precedes the @ sign. That way they're not so long. This works because each student has an "official" university e-mail address of the form xxxx@student.umass.edu, so the xxxx part is unique.

It's easy enough to strip that part off from the whole e-mail address either in a spreadsheet or else by using some script.