Teachers’ Guide to Maintaining Login Sanity

Problem: You’re drowning in logins. There’s one for the LMS. Another for the online gradebook. More for the tools you use sporadically like Skype. Then there are the ones you use for your personal business. With alerts popping up all the time that your logins have been compromised by Russian/Chinese/Martian hackers, it’s enough to tear your hair out.

 

Solution: Security is important, especially when you’re dealing with student information. Security experts say you shouldn’t rely on one password for everything, but there are ways to streamline the process. Here are some tips to keep them straight:

·      Keep your usernames the same

·      Memorable, not guessable

·      Start using a password app

 

Keep your usernames the same

You shouldn’t have the same password for everything. Think about it. If someone happens to stumble on your password, everything could be compromised.

But having the same user name for everything isn’t nearly as dangerous. You’ve probably noticed that everyone in your school district has the same combination of initials and names anyway. So when you sign up for something online, save yourself some stress and use the same login.

 

Memorable, not guessable

It’s unfortunate, but if your password is memorable enough for you, someone who knows you relatively well can probably guess it. Pet’s name and birthdate isn’t a great idea. A great idea, however, is to use a mnemonic device. Maybe for your online gradebook, try something like “TIWIS3HAS”, which stands for “This is where I spend 3 hours after school”. (Please don’t use this one - it’s my password.) You can also use a unique phrase that makes sense to you by replacing the spaces between words with numbers. 

 

Start using a password app

Any web browser these days can store your logins and passwords for websites you visit frequently, which is fine if you are vigilant about locking your computer when you step away. But, if you’re a teacher, sometimes you don’t have the luxury of vigilance. Meanwhile, you’re surrounded by children who would love access to your computer.

Instead, consider a password management app like 1Password, Dashlane, or LastPass. It can keep all of your passwords and details secure (making filling out forms much easier by automating the process with one click), and when you need to change a password it can suggest a high-security one for you and save it into its system so you don’t have to remember it. Although some features on these programs are free, these days it’s well worth the investment in a full-featured product.

Stay safe by being proactive!