District implements new login system for computer access
By Anna-Maria Thalassinos
A change students are experiencing this year can be found on every computer screen across the district. Rather than logging into computers through an anonymous “student” login, students now enter on their own personal account.
Jeff Collett, Director of Operational Technology for UA Schools, said that the new login system was implemented in order to offer web filtering.
“Web filters are typically set up to filter either at a building or a group of buildings level with a specific set of rules,” Collett said. “Our hopes are to first offer teachers differentiated web filtering based on their login information.”
Because of this, the web filter parameters can be personalized for individual users based on their login.
Students can now go to any computer in the school and login with their user ID and password to enter their individual safe space on the district’s server. Students are able to save documents to both the computer desktop and the school’s server without fear of items being accessed by others or potentially deleted.
According to Collett, the new login system runs in conjunction with a Children’s Internet Protection Act training program.
“As we open up the Internet to teachers and eventually students, we have to make sure everyone is educated on appropriate online behavior,” Collett said. “[This includes] interacting with other individuals on social networking sites, in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response.”
Although this system is newly introduced within the district, students have still formed opinions on the matter. Sophomore Eleanor Nielson said the new login system is a beneficial addition to this school year.
“[The new login system] makes it a little bit more personalized,” she said. “Also, if someone does something to make the computer irritating to use, it doesn’t affect me as much, and the teachers know who did it.”
While Nielson appreciates the changes, junior Jack Bebinger said he sees one major disadvantage to the change, such as the speed of computer access.
The new system is a good concept, he said, but he finds it “very slow compared to last year’s login.”
According to Collett, the login process might take slightly longer the first time a user logs into a specific computer, but it should not be an ongoing problem.
“The first time a user logs into a new computer, the computer has to communicate with our server and build a local user profile for that user on that computer,” he said.
Another issue students have with the system is their right to privacy. With the new login system, some fear that their computer activity can now be tracked by the administration.
“It allows the teachers to track what I’ve been doing and what I did,” Nielson said.
Bebinger said it might infringe on students’ privacy; however, the monitoring is warranted.
“[It’s] only to protect us so they can monitor who is visiting what sites,” he said. “And if they are visiting sites they aren’t supposed to, then [the administration] can talk to that person.”
Collett said administrators might have access to this information; however, teachers do not have direct access to this data.
“[The administration] will have more information of who was on what computer if something needs investigated,” he said. “[The administration does] not plan on implementing real-time student monitoring unless we see behavior that necessitates it.”
Another potential problem with the new login system is the possibility that students could forget to log off of a computer, leaving anyone to do as they wish with their account.
“So far I have used it twice, and both times someone else’s server ID has been logged in,” Bebinger said. “That may present a problem in the future.”