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New Privilege Groups for Controlling Online Access

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Inside or outside the IT world, fully understanding the work of Middleware and Integration Services (MaIS), a University IT workgroup, is hard. However, without their efforts, your work would likely be even harder.

MaIS provides services and technologies to the Stanford community that help manage enterprise data about people, organizations, courses, devices, workgroups, and authority. Or to connect it even more directly to your work, they support applications the campus community uses every day, including Authority Manager, Sponsorship Manager, Workgroup Manager, Organization Manager, and StanfordYou. In addition, the MaIS team supports data integration to many more systems and applications.

Their recent work includes the release of several new and exciting features.

Affiliation-based privilege groups

Privilege groups, commonly called privgroups, provide an automated and easier method for controlling access to Stanford electronic resources. For example, if you want to limit the access to an online resource to faculty members only, your can enter (and maintain) the SUNet ID of every Stanford faculty member, or you can use the privgroup "stanford:faculty" and let the system automatically maintain that list for you.

In addition to the previously available system-based privgroups — stanford:faculty, stanford:staff, stanford:student, and stanford:academic — you can now use over 25 new affiliation-based privgroups such as stanford:staff-active stanford:faculty-emeritus, and stanford:student-postdoc to limit access to electronic resources for specific populations. For a complete list of the new affiliation-based privgroups, see affiliation types.

Course privilege groups

Another exciting addition are the course-based privgroups. This opt-in feature lets you specify courses for which a privgroup is created. The privgroup includes only enrolled students, and membership is automatically maintained as new students sign up or drop the course. This results in significant time savings for anyone who restricts access to electronic course materials.

“At the Language Center, we get several requests every quarter for WordPress installations to be used in advanced foreign language writing courses. Previously, controlling access was very time-consuming because enrollment often changes after the first day of the course, when we set up the blog. With the new course privgroups that the MaIS team set up, we can set access once and forget about it. These course workgroups are a critical tool for securing online course content and activities.” — Kenneth Romeo, Stanford Language Center

Anonymous grading

Avoiding bias in student grading is an important goal for the university. That's why the MaIS team took on the challenge of automating the transmission of a "blind" grading ID. This feature hides student names while providing instructors with a system-generated value they can use to associate student work with the related grade.

Systems that gather student information through Student Web Service and Course XML Documents can use blind grading IDs when available. For example, instructors using Coursework — and in the future Canvas — no longer have to manually enter this information to enable anonymous grading.

“The addition of this field makes Registry Course XML and Student Web Services more robust and relevant to subscribers who use a blind ID for grading.” — Gary Hamilton, University Registrar

“VPTL is developing an anonymous submission system that integrates with Canvas, the learning management system the campus is transitioning to next year. To date, the Law registrar has had to physically distribute a unique blind grading ID to every student during every final exam, to type into their response. The instructor can use this ID to enter grades in Axess. By getting an electronic feed of the blind grading ID, we will be able to reduce the burden on the Law School staff, as well as the chance for human error.” — Keli Sato Amann, Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching & Learning

Find out more

Learn more about these exciting features by contacting the MaIS team.

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