Setting up multiple accounts

Is there a way to set up multiple accounts for my class all at once? I would like to use Snap! in my 3rd and 4th grade classes (a total of 80 kids) and would like to get them accounts and passwords without doing it for each individual. Thanks!

Not yet. It's planned for the near future, but first we need to release the community site and hopefully find more funding so we can keep developing it.

In the meantime, though, we can help you with your particular request and create these accounts ourselves. Can you send us a message at our support email account with the list of you student emails?

I think the idea with bulk accounts is that we use the teacher's email for all of them. That's how it works on Scratch -- you just say "I need 23 accounts" and they're cranked out.

I see. We still need usernames for all these accounts, though :slight_smile:

<teacher>001, <teacher>002, etc. :~)

There’s a ton of good reasons not to do things that way — people still should email us until we have a solution. I also want to hear the different ways people need bulk accounts created because they’re not all the same.

What are the reasons against?

Here are the reasons to do it this way:

  1. Most important: Zero setup time the first day of classes.
  2. Kids' access to email is flaky at best.
  3. By associating the accounts with the teacher's email we are collecting no kid PII, so goodbye COPPA, goodbye GDPR.
  4. "I forgot my password" is delegated to the teacher, who has a backup master password for this collection of accounts.
  5. Summer term starts any minute now, and you're in charge of manual bulk account setup. :~P

I did use bulk account creation in Scratch and that's definitely not how it works there...

Also, imagine my teacher is called john. How many john[0-9]* usernames do you think we'll collide with? Imagine two teachers are called john.

Oh, how does Scratch do it?

As for two teachers named Bernat, we're not going to generate Bernat001 etc., but rather bromagosa001 etc.

Where are you getting the funding from at the moment?

There’s a few things:

  • we can’t have sequentially numbered accounts and a formulaic, let alone identical password. That’s a disaster.
  • AFAIK, students either have a school email or no school email — it’s not spotty access. Those are two different needs.
  • I am uncomfortable with the idea that teachers individually have control over students accounts. It seems like a violation of privacy. Schools (in the US) definitely have the right to inspect accounts when necessary but it’s usually a bit more effort to get access.
  • I don’t know about the legal aspects, but in some of those cases we have other data than email addresses that might be PII — or even the knowledge that these users are likely kids changes the rules.

Personally, I want to hear from teachers what they expect before we build something. And, right now we kind of have an assumption that each account has an email. (Not a huge deal, but we need to think about what happens about potential notifications go to a different user.)

For the specific example, Giving teachers a list of numbers doesn’t really help them — they always need to look up which account belong to which student when something happens.

But of course, easier sign in is super important. I would personally think we could solve many of these use cases by using some single sign on (Google, Microsoft and Apple (now) all have SSO options. Using this defers much of the responsibility and rules stuff to each school. We could also even allow integrations with other systems like CalNet and “private” SSO systems but that is more effort and can wait.

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Man, there’s also a lot of things that I find really weird about Scratch Teacher accounts.

Students lose their access after class? That just seems to encourage the (wrong) notion that this isn’t a real tool.

I guess there’s really a few different things teacher accounts aim to solve. Bulk account creation is one, but I think there’s easier ways of getting that.

I suppose I wouldn’t mind if we let students change their email so that they can keep their account after class.

Our funding is mostly ad-hoc. SAP is supporting Jens to develop Snap! and has paid for a bit of Bernat’s and my time, but not yet for the maintenance of the site

Ok I see.

I think the right thing is to make it easy for students to transfer projects from their school account to their regular account at the end of class.

About privacy: I would make it clear to teachers and kids that these class accounts are just for the class, that teachers do have access, and that kids should get their own private account if they want to do things outside the view of the teacher.

Single sign on is a serious violation of privacy; it means Google or (god help us) Facebook knows everything you do. All else being equal, I don't mind if that's a way to log in (well, I do mind if it's Facebook), but I definitely don't want it to be our recommended way to run a class.

I was thinking the initial passwords would be random (as we used to do for all accounts), not all the same. We would give the teacher printable forms to give the kids with each account's name and initial password and instructions on how to change it.

About school email, the usual thing is that they do have one, but it doesn't allow mail to/from outside the school, so it doesn't help us. Teacher emails, by contrast, do allow outside contact. So having one email for all the class's accounts make administration trivial.

If we have no PII at all, as will be the case if it's the teacher's email and it's the teacher who keeps the list of which account is which kid, then we are immune to GDPR. (Not clear yet whether that's the case about regular non-class accounts; Jens thinks we are unaffected by GDPR if the email address is the only PII we have, but the campus GDPR person isn't convinced at this point.) Similarly, if we don't have the kid's email address we are unaffected by the PII aspect of COPPA, but I'm not sure about getting a parent's permission before giving a kid an account in the first place.

P.S. Bulk account creation will require prior approval, of course, but the actual creation of a course, to which assignments can be submitted, should be doable by anyone, kids included. I can easily envision kid-run short courses on, you know, how to get the background to scroll, that sort of thing. Or lambda calculus taught by @theaspiringhacker.

I think most schools that give students e-mail addresses that can't be accessed from outside can allow certain e-mail addresses from outside, such as Snap!, to e-mail the students. They did that at my school when they taught Scratch, to allow signing up, reset passwords, etc.
By 'outside' I mean non-school linked e-mail addresses.

Maybe. There are schools where teachers can't convince their IT people to let them run Snap! altogether, let alone get email from it. :~(

We need a better way to help teachers with this. Honestly, most IT staff are pretty reasonable and I think if we and/or our teachers have a way of contacting them, then we can probably resolve the issue.

Otherwise, developing email-less accounts is still something we should do but I think there’s probably easier ways to help most people.

I have heard anecdotes both ways from teachers. Some IT people are very jealous of their turf. You get the impression they think their jobs would be perfect if only there weren't any kids or teachers in the school. Others are indeed very helpful. Then there's the third kind, the ones who've dealt with Windows, who want to be helpful, but who think the first thing to try is to reformat the disk and reinstall the OS.

Hi, this is my first post to the forum, and I'm sure it will not be my last. I am involved with a National Science Foundation grant funded initiative to increase the number of US high school students taking CS and CSP courses that commences in September 2019 and runs until 2022. Some 55 teachers and 3500 students will be involved in the project. I need to work out how we get all those students enrolled in Snap easily (and if this project is successful, there will be a further 30,000 teachers needing to enroll students easily).

WARNING: This will be a long email since there is a lot of interacting elements that have to considered as we look at student privacy, and protection from inappropriate content. This issue is addressed from a US perspective, but other countries often have similar RQs (England and Wales for sure).

First hurdle: there is a federal student privacy act (FERPA) that requires district to limit access to student information. This makes it difficult for districts to open email systems, or other avenues of electronic communication beyond the boundaries of their internal network environment. Most districts block all external email for students under 18, (at age 18, the student has age of majority and can decide access conditions on an individual basis - very few districts have the technical capability to support this feature).

Second hurdle: FERPA is accompanied by a separate but equally problematic act that protects students from deliberate or inadvertent access to inappropriate content (CIPA). This is why districts have to be asked to whitelist safe sites. Some districts use hardware systems from Cisco or Barracuda, who will whitelist legitimate organizations upon request, thus making a little easier for the users of common educational websites.

If a school district fails to fully comply with FERPA or CIPA they will lose federal funding $$$ so compliance is total. And as a retired Tech Director, I know my neck was on the line is we lost our $9m of federal funds that our district received from the feds each year!

FACT 1. Students cannot use district email to enroll in Snap since the reply/authentication will be blocked.
FACT 2: They cannot use personal email accounts within the district network (all external email systems – such as Gmail – are blocked on district computers.
FACT 3: Only the largest districts (say 10% of all districts) will have the technical ability to use LDAP or other forms of Single Sign-on (and Google SSO will not be allowed either – it doesn’t comply with FERPA). [question: are you setup for LDAP?].
FACT4: A teacher will need to setup nn accounts for their students on a fairly regular basis.
QUESTION: All students have school email address. The teachers have access to the student email address list. Can the teacher bulk setup the accounts with a unique password for each student (teacher generated)? This would obviate the need for any authentication.
[NOTE: The teacher generated list, ideally, would contain the fname, lname, student id, email]
[NOTE: the teacher held password removes the issue of lost passwords … believe me, kids forget passwords on a regular basis]
Thanks, I look forward to the discussion on how this might be achieved, without a penny being spent! (tongue firmly in cheek … )