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What's the best way to have students and staff share computers? We have to have a mix of Macs and Windows 8 PCs. Right now, we have USB flash drives with our work. This worked great. Problem is now students have to use git to sync their work with GitHub and Heroku. And many times students forget their flash drives. So we use the hard drive on the computer, but then all their work is visible on the computer until we delete it.

We could have spare flash drives and be careful about git. But it seems like it's time to do this better. I could network the win8 machines so each student has their own login and drive space. Mac uses would have to be separate, not the ideal solution but doable. Then the students (and staff) would have to sync their files externally to access them at home and elsewhere. Seems like just always using flash drives might be better (with spares in case of lost/forgotten drives).

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The Andrew development system is the only way to go. –  Daniel R Hicks Oct 9 '12 at 22:54

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Use flash drives and it's their own issue if they forget them.

Use network login if you want a complicated solution.

Otherwise, shouldn't github solve this problem? Pull to a new computer as needed, make edits, push, then delete local files if necessary.

Is there a reason you can't keep their source on the hard drive? To prevent cheating? Isn't it already available as open source on github? I'm assuming one project per student.

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We use private repositories on GitHub. Yes, to prevent cheating. –  at01 Oct 9 '12 at 21:36
    
Perhaps the network solution then is the less complicated. I'm not sure if there's software to allow cross-platform user account sharing, but here are links to documentation on setting up network accounts, so you can keep them all on 2 computers as login servers support.apple.com/kb/HT5338 microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/… Or use faronics.com/products/deep-freeze/enterprise to automatically wipe changes to disks after students finish using the computer –  Alex Nye Oct 9 '12 at 22:06
    
These are probably poor solutions. I tried to find a way to encrypt git pulls, but was unable to find anything but encrypting git pushes. That would probably be the simplest solution, encrypting the pulls with the git user password, but it's beyond my knowledge. –  Alex Nye Oct 9 '12 at 22:11

You could setup the user profiles to mount a network share on user login and instruct student to use that. The permissions would need to be properly managed if you only want a 1-to-1 student/share ratio. You could also continue to use git and have it pull the repo to the students' individual storage spaces. This could be implemented via batch files.

Likely unfeasible - but along the lines of @elomage's answer - if you wanted to get really tricky you could look at mounting small RAM drives when users log in, using that for the repo store and removing the drive when the user logs out. Problem is, of course, that if they don't check in their changes then the changes will be gone for good. Power loss would also result in the data disappearing.

In any case, given that it's for student use it would be ideal to retain some form of source control use (i.e. git) as it'd be a great bit of industry-relevant training to complement their education.

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Unless the user accounts all have admin rights, wouldn't it be enough to store the files within the My Docs folder in the Windows 8 machines (~ for the macs)? This would solve the visibility issues but not the distribution - it would still need to be pushed to git unless the user always uses the same PC. –  Beeblebrox Oct 9 '12 at 22:53

Use a special "Student" account, that wipes all the sensitive user data on login/logout. Invoke a script on login and/or logout that does the cleanup.

This could be done on Windows, Mac and Linux computers with no network accounts.

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