New feature: Classroom accounts for students without email addresses

12 Aug

For the last several months, we’ve been researching and designing a new way to add users to wikis without email addresses — notably, K-8 students.

Today, we’re happy to announce a new feature, Classroom Accounts, which will let you add users without email addresses. In consultation with dozens of educators, we’ve created a system that makes it unbelievably easy to add your students to your 2.0 educational wiki.

First, I’ll show you a video of the feature. Then, we’ll go into detail using a short tour with screenshots.

Video overview of Classroom Accounts (0:43):

http://www.vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=1512150&server=www.vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1
Classroom Accounts from PBwikiWebinars on Vimeo.

Now, let’s look closer at each of those screens to see how they work.


In your new PBwiki 2.0 settings panel, you’ll see a small graphic to invite users without email addresses.
Flickr Photo Download- Classroom accounts #1_1218567260187

Enter in how many students need accounts and what permission level they should be assigned. Note that you should have a printer to complete setting up Classroom Accounts.
Flickr Photo Download- Classroom accounts #2_1218567359036

Type in your students’ names and we’ll automatically create student-friendly passwords. Don’t have time to enter all your students’ names? Just click “Continue” and we’ll automatically create usernames for you.
Flickr Photo Download- Classroom accounts #3_1218567137387

That’s it! Now click “Print” to print your usernames and passwords.
Flickr Photo Download- Classroom accounts #4_1218567382694

Here’s a view of the handy PDF so you can hand it to your students. We paid special attention to the design of the PDF to make it easy to cut and distribute. We also email you a copy of your new Classroom Accounts.
Classroom accounts #5

Q&A
Q: “I’m still on PBwiki 1.0. How do I switch to 2.0?”
A: If you haven’t converted to PBwiki 2.0 yet, please click the “Convert now” flag at the top of your wiki to update for free. If you don’t see it, please sit tight for a short time while we finish polishing a few features for your wiki. We’ll enable you to update to 2.0 as soon as possible.

Q: “I have PBwiki 2.0 but I don’t see this option. Where is it?”
A: This feature is enabled for educational wikis only. If you need to switch categories, please click “Help” at the top-right corner of your wiki and let our support team know. They’ll switch you over right away.

Q: “I have another question about Classroom Accounts.”
A: No problem. To get help, check out the PBwiki manual entry on Classroom Accounts.

Based on testing, we’ve heard some great feedback on this feature. If you’re an educator, give it a shot. And, as always, let us know what you think!

* * *
Note: Attention educators! Are you interested in getting a free Gold Premium wiki (value: $250) for your classroom this year? Sign up to get an early look at the PBwiki Back to School Challenge.

Other feedback? Please let us know!

16 Responses to “New feature: Classroom accounts for students without email addresses”

  1. Rebecca Nash August 15, 2008 at 12:01 am #

    Just letting you know that I couldn’t see the video – everything was blurred.

  2. emccarthy August 23, 2008 at 9:40 am #

    I’m having trouble adding student accounts; after step one 1 I enter the number of accounts and continue and the link brings me to a server not found page…Help.

  3. Lisa Hootman August 25, 2008 at 12:16 pm #

    This is fantastic. Now I can issue all of my students this special username and password and I do not have to worry about those students that do not have email addresses. Thanks for creating this.

  4. clif August 25, 2008 at 6:28 pm #

    Hi Rebecca. Sorry about the video quality. To get a better view, hover over the video and hit the full screen icon. It really helps.

    Hello emccarthy. If you are still having problems with adding student accounts, please use the help link at the top of your wiki page to report it. We will need more information from you and using that link helps us identify your wiki and it’s settings.

    Clif
    pbwiki support

  5. Lisa Mallette August 28, 2008 at 8:14 am #

    I’m a bit confused. What if you don’t know the names of everyone who may want to participate. What if you want it open to everyone in the school? With the original, I just advertised the password and web address, and they participated at will.

  6. JVW September 1, 2008 at 3:47 pm #

    Thanks so much! Having student accounts without emails is the only way I can use a wiki in my classroom!

  7. Deirdre Dore December 12, 2008 at 3:28 pm #

    Hey,

    I was just wondering if there was a way to retrieve the student passwords if they got lost?

    Deirdre Dore

  8. johny why December 16, 2008 at 6:45 pm #

    super feature! just what we needed!

    now all we need is to enable commenting and profiles for my Reader-only students. that way, they can post and compare their responses as comments, and they would love to see their photos up there. but without giving them Write permissions on the wiki.

    my students would love this, and it would increase student-participation in the wiki.

    thanks!

  9. Julie Pinnell February 27, 2009 at 10:04 am #

    I am VERY ANGRY about your “2.0″. We use you because we want people to be able to change the wiki without having indivicual acounts! This is very,very disappointing to us. Is there a way around this???? We like being able to give out one generic password to the people we want to have access.

    Julie Pinnell

  10. Nancy B. Grant February 27, 2009 at 3:54 pm #

    I agree with Julie. I wanted one wiki that could be edited by a group of people that often changes who is in the group. Requiring individual accounts is a hassle. one generic password works well for some wikis.

    But I appreciate the security level for the students I have on the other wikis.

    While I haven’t tried it yet, I ‘m going to assume it is easy to delete students at the end of a class and add more at the beginning of the next class, using the same wiki.

    Thank you for the work and for maintaining a free access – there is no money in my district! And the non-profit use would never happen if thre was a cost.

  11. Noah Scales March 11, 2009 at 9:34 pm #

    Thanks for adding individual accounts (they’re perfect for our needs), and keeping it free. 2.0 is a fantastic product, it’s much more than the teaser crap you usually get for free in “lite” versions.

    -Noah

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. hendron’s digest » Blog Archive » PBWiki Classroom Accounts - August 24, 2008

    [...] in using wikis with your classroom? Check out PB Wiki for educators with easy to use, no-e-mail classroom [...]

  2. PBWiki Classroom Accounts : TechTimes Blog - August 27, 2008

    [...] in using wikis with your classroom? Check out PB Wiki for educators with easy to use, no-e-mail classroom [...]

  3. Blog #2 Web 2.0 and Acceptable Use Policy | Kristin's Blogs - February 15, 2009

    [...] a system that makes it unbelievably easy to add your students to your 2.0 educational wiki” (http://blog.pbwiki.com/2008/08/12/new-feature-classroom-accounts-for-students-without-email-addresse…). Students could then access your wiki page, which many teachers are using for a communication tool [...]

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