Thursday’s Tip: Managing Student P@ssw0rds

Courtesy of XKCD - Click for source and copyright.

Courtesy of XKCD - Click for source and copyright.

Whether you’re setting up Google Doc accounts using MailCatch or signing up students for WordPress accounts, at some point, usernames and passwords will need to be assigned. As we all are fully aware, it is easy – almost too easy to forget one’s username and/or password. So, here are a few tips for tracking log-in information for your students.

  • Predetermine simple naming conventions for your students. Left to their own devices, who knows what students will come up with in regards to usernames. Instead, set up a convention that is easily followed such as firstnamelastinitial or firstinitiallastname. If you’re worried about privacy among classmates, have students use their birth date in conjunction with their names.
  • Use one password for the entire class. If the usernames are all different, making it easier to track who does what on online applications, then design a simple password for every student to use. Something like “p@ssw0rd” or a code for your class (1sthr2011, smith11, etc.) is easy to remember and doesn’t require the slow process of requesting a new password.
  • Keep a roster with login and password information. Keeping an easily accessible list of usernames and passwords not only makes it possible for you to retrieve lost or forgotten log-in information, but it also makes it easier for you to have access to student accounts in the name of transparency.
  • If you plan to use many different online applications, having students keep usernames and passwords in one centralized location would certainly be helpful. You could give them little notebooks to keep track of all their log-ins and passwords for each website. You may also have students save them on a Word document and save it on a desktop or shared folder.

What strategies do you use for keeping track of student log-in information? What works and what doesn’t work?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center and limits his passwords and usernames to just a few possibilities so that his feeble brain can remember them all.