|The issue that David raised about the use of Social Security numbers
in WebWork is broader than just TA-accessibility and should be considered
by all WebWork institutions.
Under federal law (FERPA), a student's Social Security number
is private information, and universities and colleges must protect
that privacy. Here at Indiana University, the central computing
unit is especially sensitive about this, because several years
ago an anti-privacy advocate found a list of names and Social Security
numbers for about 1000 IU employees on an insecure Web Server
and then posted that list on his WWW site.
As a result, we have had to abandon the use of Social Security numbers
in WebWork. As part of generating the WebWork classlist from
the electronic roster provided by the Registrar, we replace
the Social Security numbers with random 8 digit numbers.
Then, after importing the classlist, we use the Email Option
on the Professor's page to send a message to each student
to inform the student of her/his initial password (i.e., the random 8 digit
number). To generate the messages containing the initial passwords,
one merely has to prepare a message file "initial_password.msg"
that includes the line:
Initial Password: $SID
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