New extension installed on students’ laptops prompts questions

by Katie Zhao and Katherine Dominek, ’19

It seems like something out of a dystopian novel: one day you open Google Chrome and a new landing page pops up, and a curious blue extension appears next to the search bar.

This odd new extension is called “ClassLink OneClick”, and according to its website, the tool “solves the problem of too many passwords, and too many files scattered about”. The website also claims the application is a “one click single sign-on solution that gives students access to everything they need to learn, anywhere, with just one password”.

The web-based application is a secure dock for education-based websites that require students to use separate passwords. By streamlining login processes, ClassLink is marketed as a way to save instructional time in the classroom.

However, the district has hopes of using this tool to track resources instead of a way to manage time spent in lessons.

“From an administrative viewpoint when students and staff use ClassLink to access school resources, we can monitor the usage of these resources [to receive] data for purchasing, spending and [their] impact on teaching and learning,” Denise Lutz, UA’s Chief Technology Officer, said.

The ClassLink OneClick extension, which was installed on district devices in April, enables ClassLink to save passwords for individual sites.

While Lutz denied that other parties will be able to access data through the OneClick extension, the ClassLink website does provide that it “gives developers the ability to access identity and other data related to users on [the] platform.”

While UA has had ClassLink for 2 years, it’s too early to tell what impact it will have on the technology program as it has not been well used in the past. Use will eventually be encouraged in classrooms. Lutz hopes that students will find the tool to be useful and time effective.