Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Finding Help in Aspen

Online help is available in Aspen in the form of user guides, quick reference guides, and videos.  

To access help, login to Aspen and select a top tab (for example, Gradebook).  
The new screen will have a Help option (see below).

  • The Online Help option will open the help screen in the topic that is associated with the specific screen that you are viewing.
  • Aspen Online Help
  • User Guides option include help in the form of a user guide on a specific topic.  Examples are taking attendance, managing grades, and basic navigation in Aspen.
  • Quick Reference Cards include a shortened help guide on a specific topic.  Examples include Attendance, Gradebook, and Grade Management.

  • Videos and Training Tools include step-by-step guides and videos that will help on specific topics.  For example, selecting the Teacher Gradebook option includes 8 topics (Finding Your Way Around Aspen, Setting up your Aspen Gradebook, Managing your classroom, Creating Assignments, Entering Scores, Using Standards-based grades in the Gradebook, Entering and Posting End-of-term grades, Advanced Aspen Gradebook).  

After selecting a topic (for example, Teacher Gradebook), you will be given a list of subtopics and have the choice of Lesson Plans (great if you are going to teach others how to use Aspen), Org (written help guides by topic), and Video (video help guides by topic).

Monday, August 15, 2016

Digital Citizenship: Passwords

Creating a secure password is an important step in ensuring that your personal information does not get into the wrong hands.  As we start a new school year, it is a great time to review your account security.  These tips can also be used to teach your students how to create a strong password.

Password Tips

  • Your password should not be written down and placed on or in your desk, on your laptop, or in planner.  
  • Don't create obvious passwords.  For example, your child's name(s), your spouses name, your grandchildren's names, your birthday, your address, or your phone number.
  • Check out the Worst Passwords List.  Passwords that make this list are very common passwords used by people.  These include: password, 123456, 12345678, football, baseball, abc123, letmein, and welcome.  If you are using one of these passwords, change it immediately.
  • Create unique passwords for your email and bank accounts.  These passwords should not be the same and should not be used on other sites. Representatives from your bank and your email provider will NEVER ask for your password.  
  • Don't save your password to your web browser.  If someone gains access to your computer or logs into your browser, they will have access to all of your passwords.
How to create a secure password?
  • Substitute a number for the same letter in every password you create.  For example, you could replace the number 9 for E's, or the number 6 for S.  
  • Make a compound word. For example: Ilovetoquilt, theRedSoxwillbeattheYankees.
  • Combine the above two methods to create a phrase with upper, lower, numbers and special characters.  For example: Il0vech0c0late!, Myfav0ritec0l0r1sred., D0gsrule,Catsdr00l!
  • Use a line from a nursery rhyme, favorite song, name of your favorite book.  Take the 1st letter from each word.  For example: Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.  Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.  Becomes HDsoaw.HDhagf.
  • If you want to reuse a similar password on multiple sites try including the name of the site somewhere in your password.   For Example: Iluv2read!Amazon, Iluv2read!Ebay, Iluv2read!CVS
  • Use a password manager like LastPass, KeePass, or Dashlane.  Some are free, others have a yearly cost.  These managers will remember your passwords so that you don't have to and will go further to audit your password making sure that you are not using it in too many places, help you to create stronger passwords in general, and even change passwords for you when your account may have been hacked.

Further reading:

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

WFEE Professional Development Grants

WFEE has announced that is now accepting applications for professional development opportunities occurring in the early winter of 2016 and spring of 2017. 

Apply on line at, education grant requests are also being accepted but those grants are not awarded till the late spring. 

Professional development grant requests made by September 30th will be considered this October, awarded by the end of the month. 

Questions? Email Caren Connelly at after reviewing the guidelines available at