Since we apply different access control (see about this topic) for educational projects, we really need to hear from you if you're planning to run a class on CREATE. This is the procedure you should follow:

Actions at the Start/End of a Class

Start a class project

If you don't already have a project for the given class, start a new project on CREATE by selecting Experimentation->Start New Project once you log into CREATE or click here. Tell us in the description that this is a class project.

Note

Only do this if you have never taught a given class. For each new semester that you teach for the same class, recycle your current class project (see here).

If you already have a research project on CREATE, do not reuse your research project for your class. Start a new project and categorize it as "class" in the project application. Wait for your project to be approved. It should take a few days and you should receive an automated email message once it is approved.

Set up your class

If you don't already have a class project see above.

  1. Log in to CREATE, click the My CREATE link, find the Teaching tab and click on your class.
  2. Then select Setup Class from the left menu. You will not be able to enroll students until you complete this step. You will be able to populate your class with materials.
  3. Input the end date for your class, the estimated number of students and at least one anticipated assignment.
  4. For the assignment, make your best guess of the start and submission dates, and the number of machines you will need per student. You can change these values at any time.
  5. The system calculates the class limit automatically as per_student_num_students_0.25. You can also assign a value that is more suitable for your needs. At least one of the "number of machines per student" or "class limit" values must be entered.

Create accounts for students and TAs

DO NOT ask students or TAs to open accounts themselves. Follow the steps below.

Note

If this is a repeat offering of the class, make sure to recycle all accounts first (see how). Materials will remain in the class so you can reuse them in the current offering if you like. Remember to change the visibility of materials manually (see how in Manage materials).

To create accounts:

  1. Copy and paste your students' (or TA's) emails, one per line. Account creation takes up to a minute per student.
  2. When accounts are created, the system will automatically email the students/TAs so make sure to alert them to the fact that you are signing them up for a CREATE account.

Note

If your students or TAs later desire to use CREATE for research, they will need to join a research project and open an individual account on CREATE. Class accounts are only for class use. If you later desire to use CREATE in research please apply for a research project.

Course Wrap-up

Student account locking and removal

On the day that the end-of class is reached: All student accounts will be locked and instructors will be notified by email. This means that your students will no longer be able to log into CREATE.

Two weeks after the class end date: We will email the instructor reminding them that student accounts are about to be recycled. If the instructor wishes to delay this, they can update the end-of-class date.

Four weeks after the class end date: All student accounts will be wiped (files removed, email aliases removed, new SSL certificates generated).

Incompletes

The instructor can preserve accounts for students who were granted incomplete grades in the class by doing the following:

  1. In My CREATE view, find the Teaching tab and click on Manage students or TAs from the left menu.
  2. Select the students you want to grant "incompletes" for.
  3. Select Grant Incomplete from the drop box below the student list. These accounts will not be wiped.

Note

If the incomplete is granted before the end of class, the account will not be locked.

If the incomplete is granted after the class ends but before it is is wiped, the account will be unlocked, but the student will need to set the password again in the manner they did at the beginning of the semester.

Once the student has completed the work the teacher should recycle the student's account (see how).

Course hand-off to another instructor

Some classes within the same institution may be taught by different instructors each time. To hand your class off to another instructor:

  1. Ask the new instructor to use this link to create a CREATE account and join the project "Share". If they already have a CREATE account, skip this step.
  2. Either you or the new instructor should file a ticket asking Testbed Ops to complete the hand-off.

Please follow these steps even if a hand-off is temporary.

Note

These instructions do not apply to instructors from different institutions looking to adopt each other's material in a course they teach. For that, look at our guidelines for sharing.

Managing a Class

Students

You and your TA both can manage your course with minimal involvement of CREATE operations. You can create accounts for students and TAs, recycle accounts for the next semester, delete accounts for students who dropped the class, and follow student's usage of CREATE.

Additionally, you can do the following actions to help students that have problems during your class:

Reset student passwords

If a student forgets their password:

  1. From the left menu choose Manage students or TAs.
  2. Select the student and choose Reset password from the select box below the student list.

The student will receive an automated email with instructions for choosing a new password.

Unfreeze student accounts

If a student makes too many failed login attempts, their account will be automatically frozen. To unfreeze it:

  1. From the left menu choose Manage students or TAs.
  2. Select the student and choose Unfreeze Web access from the select box below the student list.

The students will receive an automated email with instructions for choosing a new password.

Reset SSH keys

If a student mangles or deletes their .ssh directory, any attempt to swap in an experiment will fail with the error message "event system failed to start".

To reset their SSH keys:

  1. From the left menu choose Manage students or TAs.
  2. Select the student and choose Reset SSH keys from the select box below the student list.

Students will receive an automated email with further instructions.

Login as a student in the web interface

  1. From the left menu choose Manage students or TAs
  2. Click on the glasses icon next to the student.

Log into a student's experiment

  1. SSH to users.deterlab.net and then SSH to the student's experiment as root, like this: ssh root@....
  2. To get a student's view, type sudo su student_username.

Recycle an account

  1. From the left menu choose Manage students or TAs.
  2. Select the appropriate students and choose Recycle from the select box below the student list.

Warning

This will wipe out the student's password and SSH keys and all the items in the student's home directory.

Materials

The following functions occur within CREATE's web interface (go to My CREATE -> Teaching).

Adding new materials

A "material" is a useful link for your students, required reading, a set of lecture slides, a homework assignment, etc. There are two ways to add a new material to your class.

1. Adopt a shared material

See instructions about sharing.

2. Upload a material or specify a URL
  1. From the left menu choose Add Materials to Class and follow the direction to upload a file or use a URL.
  2. For upload, we only support adding of ZIP files that are automatically unzipped after upload. You can zip and upload a single file (e.g., a Word document) or place many materials in a folder, create index.html to point to them and zip and upload the entire folder.
  3. For URLs, we only support those that start with http. If your URL starts with https, use http instead - servers automatically rewrite these URLs to use https.
  4. From the selection menu, choose the closest type of the material.
  5. The visibility setting determines who can see the materials: only the instructor/TA, a group of students or all students.

Managing materials

Click on Manage Materials from the left menu. You can change visibility of materials or delete them.

Note

Deleting a material also deletes all assignments based on this material and any submissions for these assignments.

Assignments

These functions occur within CREATE's web interface (go to My CREATE -> Teaching).

Assign to Students

To assign something to students:

  1. Add it to your class via Add Materials.
  2. Choose Assign to Students from the left menu.
  3. Select materials you want to assign from the list and choose if you want to assign them to all students, a group of students, or individual students.
  4. You must set the due date for the assignment and fill either the anticipated number of nodes per student or the class limit (see about class limits).

    Once you create an assignment, the system will automatically enforce the limit for your class from the date of the assignment's creation until the due date. If you modify the due date (see how), the system will automatically modify the limits.

Managing Assignments

To make changes to assignments:

  1. From the left menu choose Manage Assignments.
  2. To delete an assignment, select those you want to delete and click Modify (see warning below).
  3. To change the due date, input a new date and click Modify
  4. To view student progress or download submissions for grading, TODO.

    You can download submissions many times. New submissions will be added to the folder with the old ones.

Warning

Deleting an assignment also deletes all submissions for it.

Access Control

When an experiment is created in a CREATE research project by one member, all members have their home directories exported to the experiment's machines. All members can also log on to the experiment's machines.

This creates a problem for the educational use of CREATE since students can log on to experiments created by their classmates and can also access their home directories (if they change permissions on them first, running sudo from experimental machines). To address these problems we treat class projects differently than research projects.

If a student creates an experiment in the default group of the project, only this student (and no other students, TAs or instructors) gets his home directory exported to the experiment's machines. Instructors and TA's will be able to log on to the machines with root privileges (see how). No other students will be able to log on this experiment's machines. This creates conditions for class use of CREATE by individual students.

If a student creates an experiment in a group other than the default group of the project, all members of that group (and no other students, TAs or instructors) get their home directories exported to the experiment's machines and can log on to them. Instructors and TA's will be able to log on to the machines with root privileges. This creates conditions for class use of CREATE by groups of students. Content is protected between groups but collaboration is facilitated within each group.

In the past, we have been asked by instructors to prevent topology display on the experiment's web page so students could learn how to use reconnaissance tools to infer it. We are working on automating this process. At the moment, if you need this service file a ticket.

Resource Limits

Once you set up your course and input a schedule of assignments, an automated program will enforce the limits you set on your class. This means that if your limit is L for a given day, your students will only be able to use up to L total machines on that day simultaneously.

You can always change limits to accommodate more students by choosing Setup Class from the left menu. Please be mindful of other CREATE users and set reasonable limits for your class. These are usually around 1/4 of the maximum anticipated usage for your class.

If you move around your class assignments or change what you want to do and how many machines will be in use, the limits will be adjusted automatically. When you create the Nth assignment for your students, our system rewrites the Nth anticipated assignment in your class schedule with the actual assignment you created. If you end up moving a due date of your assignment, the limits will be extended to match the new due date.

Note

Use of resources by students that are granted "incompletes" in your class is not counted against the class limit. Also use of resources by the teacher or the TAs is not counted against the class limit.

Warning

If a student attempts to swap in an experiment in your class on a day for which limits have not been set, and if this student does not have an incomplete, this swap in will fail and the student will receive a message that he/she was not allowed to allocate resources.