Perhaps the most crucial step in administering the Online Course Requests system is ensuring security. Each student must have a unique and secure login that will allow them to submit their requests. While the student ID will always be the student's "username," the passwords must be either generated or imported from another file. Administrative users can use several different methods to create this password.
To generate a blank password for all students, the administrative user should select Set a blank password. As noted on the page, this will disable the accounts - if the accounts were enabled, but left with blank passwords, it would be very easy for a student to gain access to another student's course list and submit requests.
To set all students with a specific password, choose Set a specific password and enter the desired password in the blank field. This option, while simple, poses a security risk, since each student will have the same password. This option is primarily useful for testing; if it is used to generate passwords that will be distributed to students, PowerSchool recommends that the administrator also check the box labeled Student must change password next time they sign in. This ensures that while the account may be vulnerable before the legitimate student logs in for the first time, the password will be more secure in the future.
Student passwords can also be generated using an expression. To generate student passwords based on an expression, select the third radio button and enter the desired expression in the blank field to the right. Click the Learn More link for detailed documentation of acceptable expressions. Below is an example of how an expression might be constructed:
Expression: Mid(StuFName, 1, 1) & StuLName & GetNumber(Addr1 & Addr2) & Zip
Description: Student's first initial, student's last name, street number and zip code
If a database of student passwords is already available (for example, from a network, email, or other software system), then a flat file of student passwords can be imported. Select the Import passwords from a flat file radio button and the following set of options will appear:
Browse to the appropriate file. Next, set the parameters in accordance with the format of the file that is used.
To generate passwords for all students, click Generate Passwords. To generate a password for only a specific student, first select that student's current campus from the School drop down list (this drop down list may not be available if the user account lacks sufficient permissions). A new drop down list will appear, allowing the administrative user to select a student.
Click Return to go back to the Course Requests menu and proceed to Manage Course Requests.